By John Nestor
WEST HARTFORD – The Hall High School football team knows how to protect its home turf but will have to take that dominance on the road to have a bounce back 2013 campaign.
Hall was 5-5 last year in what was a tale of two seasons. The Warriors were two different teams, an unbeaten squad at home (5-0) and a team that went winless on the road (0-5). The Warriors will need to maintain their form at home while figuring out how to play better in the road to return to the Class LL playoffs.
The Warriors have a tough opener as Glastonbury visits West Hartford on Saturday and will be looking to rebound from a tough season-opening loss to
Southington. Last season Hall and Glastonbury locked up for a defensive struggle that Glastonbury won, 10-6.
To prepare the Warriors had a preseason camp that included four scrimmages. Hall’s final scrimmage came against Norwich Free Academy last Thursday, Last season NFA advanced to the Class LL title game before falling to Xavier.
The game against NFA was a stern test against a team with one of the best running backs in the state in Division I recruit Marcus Outlow, but Hall held its own.
“We did some really good things in the NFA scrimmage,” Hall assistant Steve Markie said. “We still have some things to work on to get to where we want to be but we could be pretty good if we come together.”
Looking to help coach Frank Robinson’s team come together is a strong core of seniors led by defensive end/offensive tackle Matt Houpert, defensive end/guard Cole Souza and linebacker/tackle Joe Farrah. Houpert is especially strong on defense and is considered one of the top players in the CCC.
Hall has a tough schedule this year in that there are only four home games on its 10-game slate. Simsbury, Southington and Manchester come to West Hartford while the Warriors will visit Newington, East Hartford, New Britain, South Windsor, Harrford Public and Conard.
Hall has won the last two meetings with Conard, including an overtime win last season.
Coach: Frank Robinson
Last Year: 5-5
Home games: Chalmers Stadium, West Hartford
Power Source: No lights
Top players: Matt Houpert, Sr., capt., OL/DE; Cole Souza,Sr., capt., OL/DE; Joe Farrah, Sr., capt., OL/LB; Tom Honyotski, Sr., capt., QB; Neil Kelley, Jr., WR/CB; Jordon Bell, Sr., RB; Octovio Thomas, Sr., WR/FS; Hunter Pond, Jr., LB; Harris Petry, Sr., FS.
Outlook: The Warriors have some talented starters returning, including Houpert, an all-CCC and coaches all-state pick, and fellow all-CCC selections Souza and Farrah. That experienced offensive line should make Honyotski’s transition of being the team’s full-time quarterback a smooth one. Honyotski completed 7 of 14 passes for 90 yards playing behind Zach Dobbins, who’s now at Denison University. Bell, who ran for 828 yards and eight scores last season, is expected to be the team’s primary running back.