DANBURY— They bent early, but sure didn’t break.
The Danbury defense went from on its heels to total dominance over the course of several early drives Friday night, spearheading a dominant 41-0 win over Capital Prep/Achievement.
The celebrations once the final horn sounded mimicked the excitement that’s building over Danbury’s turnaround. The win moved the Hatters to 3-1, their best start since 2014.
“We’re having a blast right now,” said quarterback Malachi Hopkins “We’ve taken our mentality to another level. (Head coach Augustine Tieri) wants us to succeed.”
The Hatters lived in the backfield after the opening two Trailblazer drives threatened to result in points. Danbury got two key fourth-down stops and were rarely threatened again as Kile Jackson and Jah Joyner set the tone at the line of scrimmage.
“We are relentless on defense and we just adjusted to what they were doing,” Tieri said. “We kept getting after it; they didn’t do too much different from what we saw on film, we just needed to execute.”
Hopkins and the rushing offense of the Hatters did the rest, running for 350 yards as a team to wear down the Trailblazers.
“We turned it up when we got on offense; we just kept going and scoring touchdowns,” Hopkins said.
Danbury scored two second-quarter touchdowns to grab a 21-0 lead by halftime; Capital Prep’s final chance to get back into the game came midway through the third, but a 14-play drive ended in the red zone on another fourth-down stop.
Reserve quarterback Patrick Rosetti got in on the action late when Hopkins exited the game, throwing a short pass to R.J. Hopkins that turned into a 65-yard touchdown. DJ Donovan ran for a score in the waning seconds to put an exclamation point on the turnaround the Hatters are enjoying.
“We’re not letting it get to our heads,” Tieri said. “We played a great game last week (a 52-20 win over Westhill) and I wanted to see how we were going to adjust this week. It felt like we stayed level-headed, executed our game plan and played a great game.”
A 3-1 record is nothing to take for granted, particularly for a school that’s had four wins in its previous three seasons combined heading into 2018. Danbury will host Warde next Friday with a chance to notch a win against an FCIAC opponent.
“It feels amazing,” Joyner said. “It’s nice to have a positive record.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been 3-1,” Hopkins joked.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Malachi Hopkins, Danbury: Rushed for over 100 yards and scored the game’s first two touchdowns.
“We knew coming in we had to stop the run,” Joyner said. “We pride ourselves on stopping the run and we couldn’t let them pass the ball.”
DANBURY 41, CAPITAL PREP/ACHIEVEMENT 0
CAPITAL PREP 0 0 0 0 — 0
DANBURY 6 15 0 20 — 41
D—Malachi Hopkins 6 run (kick missed)
D—Hopkins 36 run (Jack Pompea run)
D—Pompea 1 run (Lucas Amaral kick)
D—R.J. Hopkins 65 pass Patrick Rosetti (Amaral kick)
D—Malik Thomas 14 run (Amaral kick)
D—DJ Donovan 52 run
Records: Capital Prep 1-3, Danbury 3-1.