GREENWICH — Danbury did — briefly — lead this season-opening football game at Greenwich, a field goal ahead of last year’s No. 1 team in the state, No. 4 this year as the Cardinals defend their Class LL championship.
Briefly, as in 12 seconds.
Not much went right for the Hatters after they took that field-goal lead, and the way things snowballed in Greenwich’s 49-3 win Saturday bothered coach Augie Tieri a bit.
“We preach a lot about mental toughness, and unfortunately I thought as the game developed, we lacked that,” Tieri said. “It didn’t show, and it needed to. It’s something we’ve got to go back, watch the film, evaluate and get better at.”
There were lots of what Tieri called uncharacteristic plays for the Hatters, who have hopes of building on last year’s 4-6 record. Muffed kicks, dropped passes, assorted other things slipped away after Greenwich’s Spencer Hartley returned the kickoff after Diogo Rosa’s field goal for a touchdown.
Tieri didn’t expect to see the lack of focus he saw, though he didn’t expect that to linger past the final buzzer.
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“Today got away from us. We have to stay together as a football team,” Danbury lineman Jah Joyner said. “I think we’re a tight group. We didn’t start fast today. We didn’t do anything right today.
“Moving forward, we’ll be fine. We’ll crank up the energy in practice, do anything from this film to get better as a team.”
The thing was, there were moments in the first 14 minutes that made it look as if this was going to be a game.
Christopher Martinez’s interception ended the Cardinals’ first drive. On the Hatters’ scoring drive, they converted on third-and-long twice; on the second, Patrick Rosetti (who rotated with Jackson Ciccone at quarterback) sent a long pass down the right sideline to Bernie Delacruz for 52 yards.
And on their next third down, Rosetti hit Xavier Ross on the left sideline; Ross stayed in bounds for an 11-yard gain that, even if it wasn’t enough for a first down, got the Hatters into field-goal range.
“I think that’s what we’re capable of,” Tieri said. “When we’re executing, in every facet of what we’re doing, that’s what we expect. In fact, what we don’t expect is what happened today.
“We have playmakers in this offense, playmakers on defense. … Chalk it up to the first game. It’s something we’re going to build on and get better for next week.”
That’s a visit to the new Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech co-op, the middle of three straight road games to start Danbury’s season.
“I like the way the guys fought at the end,” Joyner said. “It’s obviously tough to lose like this, away at the defending champs.
“Were going to watch film Monday and take some positives we can take from this game.”
Joyner didn’t appear 100 percent, though he downplayed that. Ross missed the second half with an apparent upper-body injury. Lineman Jordan Agosto took a blow to the head late in the game and was slow to get up, but Tieri was optimistic that Agosto was all right.