TORRINGTON >>Torrington High School’s young football team (0-2) hung with a good Wilby team (2-0) for most of a 34-19 loss at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex Friday evening.
“We improved,” said Red Raider coach Gaitan Rodriguez. “We challenged them to have a better week in practice.”
The Raiders, with just three seniors on the team, lost 52-7 at perennial state champion Ansonia in a brutal first week.
This game was much better.
“We showed we could make a good effort,” said sophomore quarterback Connor Finn (11-for-33, 110 yards, 2 interceptions). “We shut them out in the third quarter and we had heart the whole game.”
Junior Anthony Pandolfo and senior Desmond Langs connected on a 50-yard fourth-quarter pass play, Finn flipping the ball to Pandolfo for the pass.
Wilby’s sophomore quarterback, Darrien Bell (5-for-8, 146 yards) and senior Taifa Wright (5-for-146) connected three times – twice in the second quarter, then again in the fourth.
“Our sophomore quarterback had a hell of a game,” said Wilby coach Geno Capuano. “Wright stepped up big.”
Both coaches saw their teams make too many mistakes.
Wilby had a 20-6 lead by the half, but lost 40 yards in penalties doing it.
Torrington lost 20.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the game’s first three minutes, on a 15-yard run by David Hills (19 rushes for 129 yards), then the Raiders dug in.
Bell and Wright started the second quarter with a 62-yard bomb to Wright.
Torrington came back on the ground with a 22-yard run by Tyler Marens, 12-6.
The Wildcats struck again with the biggest bomb of the night – a one-handed juggling grab by Wright on the fly for 67 yards.
A Jayson Johnson run sent Wilby into the locker room up 20-6.
Then the Raiders were back, claiming the third quarter on offense and defense.
Marens scored early on a four-yard run. P.J. Kilmartin was good on the kick.
Five minutes later, sophomore Nate Bresson and senior Ernie Tracy laid Bell down twice in a row for a pair of five-yard sacks.
The Wildcats were done until the final period.
Bell and Wright were back, in the fourth quarter’s second play from scrimmage.
Their final touchdown connection went for 29 yards.
Hills converted the run.
“David Hills really ran well in the second half,” said Capuano.
So did Langs on his fly pattern downfield for Pandolfo’s big throw less than a minute later.
At 28-19, 10:25 remaining, the Raiders were still in it.
This time, they couldn’t get traction.
Hills shut the door for good on a 13-yard scoring finale with 1:27 left.
“Wilby’s a very good team,” said Rodriguez.
The Raiders go for more improvement next Saturday at 1-1 St. Paul Catholic.
Wilby 34, Torrington 19
At Torrington High School
Wilby 6 14 0 14-34
Torrington 0 6 7 6-19
W-David Hills, 15-yard run, conversion failed
W-Taifa Wright, 62-yard pass from Darrien Bell, conversion failed
T-Tyler Marens, 22-yard run, kick failed
W-Wright, 67-yard pass from Bell, Jayson Johnson conversion
T-Marens, 4-yard run, P.J. Kilmartin kick
W-Wright, 29-yard pass from Bell, David Hills conversion
T-Desmond Langs, 50-yard pass from Anthony Pandolfo, kick failed
W-Hills, 13-yard run
Rushing: W-David Hills 19/129; Jacob Thomas 5/43. T-Tyler Marens 10/74; Manny Rijos 1/14; Connor Finn 2/12.
Passing: W-Darrien Bell 5-for-8/146. T-Finn 11-for-33/110/2 interceptions; Anthony Pandolfo 1-for-1/50.
Receiving: W-Taifa Wright 5/146. T-Nate Bresson 5/52; Zack Mancini 2/10; Desmond Langs 3/58; Marens 3/40.
Records: Wilby 2-0; Torrington 0-2.