WINDSOR LOCKS — The Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby football co-op made up for an opening nightmare loss to Rockville last week (41-0) with a solid 21-7 win against Gilbert/Northwestern Saturday afternoon at Windsor Locks High School.
“This week, we eliminated the turnovers,” said Raider Coach Jason Qua. “We fumbled a kickoff early in the game and it went on from there.”
“It was a good wakeup call,” said quarterback Matt Raines, managing a fleet of sure-handed runners led by Jon Savalier (10 carries, 69 yards) and Eric Pino (15 for 47).
“We had a different mindset after that loss,” said Savalier. “We worked hard and kept our mouths shut in practice.”
“We stepped up today,” said Pino.
The Yellowjackets, idle last week thanks to a late-summer merger between Canton and Granby that took Canton off their schedule, may have a similar conversation next week after their game at Ellington.
“Our defense was decent, but we made stupid mistakes,” said coach Scott Salius. “Our offense never got on track consistently; we had turnovers (two lost fumbles); and we bent a couple of times on pass coverage.”
In a smashmouth ground game for both sides on a wicked hot day for football, Gilbert/Northwestern had one of its best shots on the opening drive. Starting on the Raider 40-yard line after a personal foul moved the kickoff return up 15 yards, Marco Folino gained 23 of his 49 yards for the day on four carries to the Windsor Locks 15.
The drive stalled there and a 38-yard field goal attempt was wide left.
That’s when game summaries rang true on both sides. The Raider defense stepped up to stop G/N’s best drive of the day; the Yellowjacket defense held at the Locks 20, then bent badly for a third-down 60-yard pass/run completion from Raine to Pino, followed by three straight Yellowjacket offside penalties.
Michael Quinlan punched it in from the three.
In the second quarter, Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby marched from its own 47 to the Gilbert/Northwestern 20 on seven plays when Raine completed his second and final passing dagger, 15 yards to Gabe Qua.
Savalier ran in from the five.
The sun bore down through a third quarter whose major excitement in a defensive standoff came when a Yellowjacket lineman came off the field for an ambulance ride, checking him out for heat prostration.
Soon after that, Pino and Savalier completed a 37-yard combined run in four carries to another touchdown, the last four yards by Pino. Raine polished his passing chops with a two-point conversion toss to Christopher Walker.
Still, at 21-0, there was a bright spot for G/N other than the sun. Freshman Fred Caider-Camp took the following kickoff 85 yards for a Yellowjacket touchdown after fellow return-man Chase Sanden wiped out the final Raider obstacle. Josh Hamel kicked the extra point.
The Yellowjackets can hope their own wakeup call works next Saturday at Ellington. The Raiders, with 12 starters among their 16 seniors, count on the fix continuing Friday night at Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman.