Above: Donevin O’Reilly’s highlight reel vs. Manchester last week. The back scored two touchdowns in the 14-13 victory.
GLASTONBURY>> It was a tough start to the season for the Glastonbury football team with losses to No. 1 Southington and Hall by a combined nine points.
But since then the Tomahawks have won five straight and clinched their seventh straight CCC Division title.
If Glastonbury is to reach the Class LL playoffs for the seventh straight year, it will have to keep the win streak going.
“We were banged up early on in the season, [now] we’re getting healthy,” Glastonbury fourth-year coach Scott Daniels said. “We’re getting the run game going. But we’re taking them game-by-game. I know that sounds like a cliche, but that’s what we’re doing. You can’t lose too many games and think you’re going to make the playoffs. We’re already two games against us, so we can’t look ahead to anybody and our guys know that, so we just look at Conard (Thursday) and that’s it.”
Glastonbury may not look like the team it has in the past, but that’s fine with Daniels.
“We were a very different team,” he said. “Last year we threw the ball 35 times a game and we learned that we’re not like we were last year. We have different people, we have different bodies. We have to use our assets to the best of our ability. Sometimes those assets will be run assets, sometimes they’ll be short gain assets, sometimes they’ll be stretching the field. We just had to figure it out early on.”
The Tomahawks biggest threat on offense, Donevin O’Reilly, is coming back from an early season injury.
During week one vs. Southington, O’Reilly broke his right hand and has been hampered with a cast ever since.
“He was limited in that game with the broken hand, but he played,” Daniels said. “Then in the Hall game he had a club on his hand and the three games after that he was going with a modified cast, so he’s just getting back. He’s getting more confident handling the ball and he’s not turning the ball over, so he’s healthy.”
Last week vs. Manchester the senior running back amassed 217 yards on 25 carries and two touchdown’s leading the Tomahawks to a 14-13 win.
“I’m more comfortable in myself carrying the ball,” O’Reilly said. “When the injury first happened it was difficult, it literally took out most of my hand. I only had two fingers and I couldn’t really carry the ball with my right hand, which is my dominant hand, so I was restricted.”
He added: “It was a confidence thing. Now that I have a smaller cast I’m able to have that confidence, run like I’m supposed to, help my teammates, make the blocks I know how to make. We just got our confidence back after those two games we lost, but I think we’re starting to roll. The G-Train’s starting to roll again.”
The defensive side of the ball has been a big part of the Glastonbury success recently and came up big in the most recent win.
With about eight minutes left in the game, Manchester scored on a 50 yard pass from Junior Vasquez to Miles Thomas, but the kick defense came up big by blocking Lucas Tourville’s extra-point try.
“They blocked the kick and the kids were all pumped up,” Daniels said. “They had an opportunity, Manchester, to move the ball down the field, but our defense stepped up and stood its ground. Our defense has been playing phenomenal all year. Our defense has been lights out. I think we had like 11 consecutive quarters of scoreless football which I’m very happy with. But they’ve kept us in games, there’s no question with that.”
As for the playoffs, Glastonbury is currently ranked ninth in Class LL behind New Britain for the final playoff spot. The two teams will play on Nov. 7 at Glastonbury, but no one is looking ahead.
“It’s definitely pressure,” O’Reilly said. “Especially making it the last however many years we’ve made the playoffs, knowing that we have to win these games to make it.”
The Tomahawks have been preparing for every game like it’s the playoffs, because if they drop one, they’re out.
“We’re not even thinking about the playoffs,” Daniels said. “We’re thinking week to week. They’re so used to making the playoffs and they’re all bummed out, two losses, you would have thought the season was over, but they rebounded and got them on the right track.”
Glastonbury plays Conard on Thursday at 6 p.m. in West Hartford.
They said it
Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels when asked who blocked the extra point last week vs. Manchester.
“They’re all taking credit for it, like they got a piece of it, but it was kind of like a deflected kick and [Jhaaron] Wallace got a piece of it. I guess in the stat book it would be Wallace.
“I was like, ‘Who got that block?’ and four guys raised their hand. We’ll take a team block on that.”
According to Hall coach Frank Robinson, senior quarterback Sam Dobbins broke his ankle in the third quarter of last week’s game vs. New Britain and is out for the rest of the season. Dobbins had thrown for 1,065 yards and 16 touchdowns against just five interceptions. “[It’s a] very tough loss for us. He is an outstanding kid, I am disappointed that his season must end like this,” Robinson said. …New Britain rallied from a 20 point deficit to beat Hall, 28-20. Hall has now lost two straight games since starting the season 4-0 …Jasen Rose of Southington threw five more touchdown passes last week vs. Conard to bring his season total to 25, tied for the lead in Class LL. …Khalil Patterson of Hartford Public rushed for 260 yards and two TD’s to lead the Owls past E.O. Smith. …Maloney has lost three straight since starting the season 4-0. The Spartans are being outscored 83-26 since shutting out E.O. Smith. …Wethersfield is 7-0 for the first time since 2010, when it finished the season 9-1. …Pablo Colon of East Catholic rushed for his first TD of the year since being sidelined with an injury in week one vs. Fermi.
By the numbers
Average margin of victory during Glastonbury’s current five game win streak
Shutouts Glastonbury has posted this season
Games remaining for Glastonbury vs. current state playoff teams