A lot of early season stories have to do with this team being undefeated for the first time in so many years or that team beating this specific team for the first time since X year.
Although there is a similar aspect to this story, that’s not really what it’s about.
The Hall football team is 4-0 for the first time since 2010. The only reason that is surprising is because the Warriors have been good nearly every year for the past six years. They’ve qualified for the Class LL playoffs four of those seasons and have a combined 48-16 record, 48-20 if you count the playoffs.
Another fun fact has to do with the seasons after going 5-5 in 2012
In that year, Hall started the season 3-1 before losing four of its final six games to finish at .500. The following 2013 season became a bounce-back year where it went 9-1 — but beat Southington. Last year the Warriors went 5-5 after starting 3-1 and…you get the picture.
So… back to present day Hall football.
“We’re fortunate to be playing well,” Hall’s 12th-year coach Frank Robinson III said.
The Warriors first test of the season came week 3 vs. Glastonbury when they were forced to come from behind down 7-6 to win, 9-7.
“We’re playing in the CCC Division I, so no week is ever easy,” Robinson said. “Last year we had some tight ones that didn’t go our way. This year we are fortunate to have two comeback victories.”
The other come-from-behind win came vs. Simsbury a week earlier. Hall trailed 18-0, but shut out the Trojans the rest of the way to win, 22-18, keeping its perfect record intact.
Robinson attributes his early season success to “playing fast.”
Now, this isn’t just fast players or the up-tempo offensive, but quick-decision making.
“When the ball is snapped we are reading fast,” Robinson said. “Going on our decisions and just playing as fast as we can on the read we just made. We’re not hesitating, we’re just playing fast.”
But fast meets faster this Friday when Hall travels to Southington to take on the undefeated and No. 5-ranked Blue Knights.
Southington has run one of the fastest offenses in the state the last few years. It’s no longer a secret, but it’s still difficult to stop. That’s where the Warriors’ defensive lineman and inside linebackers come in.
Michael Verrengia and Kyle Conlon on the line and Evan Duzan and Peter Fox are handed the task of stopping the Southington run game. The Blue Knights’ Vance Upham and Ryan Montalvo have combined for 862 yards and 14 touchdowns in four games.
“They’ve really solidified our interior,” Robinson said. “They’re going to have a huge task this week to stop the Southington run game.”
The Hall offense run by senior quarterback Burke Martindale also has a tall task: scoring against the Blue Knights. Southington has two shutouts this year and has allowed a total of 13 points.
Robinson and his team understand that in order to accomplish the goal of winning the CCC D-I West they have to go through Southington and also rival Conard and New Britain, who are both 3-1. He doesn’t expect it to be easy. But remember, in 2013 Hall upset eventual Class LL champion Southington, 49-37.
Wethersfield’s Campanello to return
Wethersfield head coach John Campanello left last Friday’s game vs. Bristol Central at halftime to attend to a family emergency. It was later found out that Campanello’s father had had a heart attack.
The Eagles lost to the Rams last week after holding a 21-7 lead at halftime.
Campanello has stated that his father is doing better and he will be on the sidelines this week as Wethersfield hosts Hartford Public at 7 p.m. at Cottone Field.
The Eagles are 2-2 with alternating wins and losses. They have beaten Farmington and Bristol Eastern while losing to Middletown and Bristol Central.
There are five undefeated teams remaining in the conference. Four of them — Windsor, Southington, Middletown and Bloomfield — are in the GameTimeCT/New Haven Register Top 10 poll. Hall received one 15th-place vote this week.
…By winning percentage, the CCC D-I West is the strongest in the conference winning 70 percent of its games. Four of the five teams have at least three wins.
…Simsbury, the last place team in CCC D-I West, has scored the most points of any last place team in the conference with 50. That’s an average of 12.5 per game.
…RHAM picked up its first win the season last week, 30-20 over Avon. The defense recorded five sacks including a safety.
…Windsor is good, we know that. WR/DB Jason Pinnock is a big reason why. He had two touchdown catches and two interceptions, one of which was a pick-6 in the Warriors 41-12 win over Farmington. He is tied for the state lead with five interceptions.
…Rockville is coming close to winning some big games and Romeo Sowah is doing all he can to help. The big WR caught four touchdown passes in a 42-40 loss to East Catholic to raise his season total to nine.
Player of the Week
Marc Zazzaro, East Catholic
Through four games it seems like no one can stop Marc Zazzaro on the ground. According to stats entered into MaxPreps, the East Catholic senior running back is the leading rusher in the Central Connecticut Conference with 682 yards and nine touchdowns.
One-third of those trips to the end zone came last week in the Eagles’ 42-40 win over Rockville when he ran for 221 yards on 30 carries, but that’s not all. He also ran for a two-point conversion, passed for another and intercepted a pass on defense. His complete effort is exactly what East Catholic needed as it held off the up-and-coming Rams.
The Eagles will need to see this version of Zazzaro and have the rest of the team play to its full potential in the coming weeks as its next three games are against Tolland (3-1), Rocky Hill (3-1) and No. 10 Bloomfield (4-0). All of which could have major state playoff point implications.
Game of the Week
Hall (4-0) at No. 5 Southington (4-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
The last time Hall beat Southington was 2013. It was the Blue Knights only loss of the season as they went on to win the Class LL state championship. A year later when Southington steamrolled through its entire schedule like it was a stack of player cards, the game against Hall was the one it wanted — and got. The Blue Knights shut out the Warriors 48-0.
Last year was a down year for Hall as it went 5-5, but still scored 26 points vs. Southington, albeit allowing 61. But as the Warriors come into this one 4-0 for the first time since 2010, it is a must win. Not only does the winner take control of the CCC D-I West race, but it will gain huge playoff points as the season progresses.
It is the first real test for both teams, but definitely for Hall who’s four opponents so far this year have a combined 1-15 record. It’s not much better for Southington who has beaten teams with a combined 3-13 record.
The Super 6
- Windsor (4-0, Last Week 1) — The Warriors allowed 14 points to Farmington in week four, but it doesn’t mean anything, because they scored 41.
- Southington (4-0, LW 2) — The Blue Knights have two shutouts and are allowing an average of 3.25 points per game this year. And that includes six against an explosive Manchester offense.
- Middletown (4-0, LW 3) — The Blue Dragons go as Tyshaun James goes…and that’s fast. Week 10 vs. Windsor can’t come soon enough for both teams.
- Bloomfield (4-0, LW4) — The Warhawks scored 32 against Tolland who had previously allowed zero points through three games. Plus the win over Rocky Hill, Bloomfield is a legit Class S contender once again.
- Conard (3-1, LW 6) — It may have taken scoring 55 vs. Enfield to get the Chieftains offense back on track. Lets see if the defense can hold Manchester like Southington did.
- Rocky Hill (3-1, LW NR) — The Terriers responded to their heartbreaking defeat to Bloomfield by crushing Plainville 49-0. Yes, the Blue Devils have only scored seven points this year, but Rocky Hill may have needed a rebound game.
On the outside: East Hartford (3-1), Hall (4-0), New Britain (3-1), South Windsor (3-1).