TORRINGTON — Torrington quarterback/running back Conrad Avallone ran for four touchdowns and passed for another in a 46-8 field day for the Red Raiders (3-1) against 0-4 Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech Friday afternoon at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex.
“We thought we could win, but we put in some really good work this week in practice,” said Avallone, operating out of Torrington’s shotgun formation alongside one other running back, who may also receive a direct snap from center.
The formation offers a wealth of options for the Raiders’ big stable of talented running backs — most especially sophomore Dillon Hargrove Friday, running for Torrington’s remaining two touchdowns, including a fourth-quarter 45-yard run that might have been 100 by the time he completed his sideline-to-sideline jaunt to the goal line.
Six other Torrington running backs racked up positive yardage for the Raiders while the defense took the Hearts’ running game out of contention, despite the best efforts of 5-foot-11, 235-pound quarterback Alex Gonzalez, usually requiring at least three defenders to bring him down.
On one memorable occasion, Gonzalez, a senior getting college looks as a linebacker, withstood a horde of Torrington tacklers only to squirm away for several more yards.
More often than not, though, Gonzalez was more dangerous as a passer, connecting for 121 yards in the air, 95 of them to receiver Josue Salazar, including a 35-yard pass in the waning moment of the game for the Hearts’ only score.
“The game got away from us early because we had some drops,” Hearts coach Tom Allen said.
Even then, Torrington’s defense was firmly on hand.
Down 12-0 with 4:24 left in the first quarter after Avallone and Hargrove ran in touchdowns, Gonzalez and Salazar connected for 40 yards to the Torrington 15-yard line, threatening a close early game.
Instead, sophomore cornerback Tyler Semonich picked off a would-be scoring pass, running it back 85 yards to the Sacred Heart 11, setting up the Raiders’ only passing touchdown of the day, seven yards from Avallone to Lucas Stannard.
“We take what the defense gives us,” said Torrington coach Gaitan Rodriguez, pointing to the Raiders’ three touchdown passes in last week’s rout over Wolcott.
The first half showed Torrington all it needed to know about running opportunities Friday. Avallone ran 15 yards for his first touchdown, 26 for his second. Leading 26-0 after the first period and 33-0 at the half, the biggest and possibly fastest of Torrington’s backs had 108 of his 158 total yards by then.
Meanwhile, despite Gonzalez and Salazar’s occasional success, the defense could key on their pass rush, led by sophomore defensive end Logan Kovall, with five sacks.
A tight end on offense, Kovall prefers the defensive side.
“It’s more fun,” he said. “There’s a little more action.”
“(Kovall) has become very dynamic,” Rodriguez said. “He’s big enough and quick enough to beat most tackles in the league.”
On a three-game roll after a close opening loss at Woodland, Torrington faces a stiffer test Thursday against WCA, likely to be 3-1 after today’s game against Kennedy, in a 3:30 p.m. start at Municipal Stadium.
Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech lines up against Crosby on Saturday.