It's been three weeks since the Windsor High football team hit the field for a game, as the Warriors have enjoyed two straight bye weeks following an 18-0 victory over Platt on Oct. 6. The break was welcomed by coach Rob Fleeting, who was happy for the opportunity to clean up some mistakes.
"The time off was definitely needed," he said. "We're working on getting better at the little things we do so it was good time off, teaching the kids what we want them to improve on. We can't really tell until we start playing a game, though."
The Warriors, ranked third in The Courant's state ratings, will head into Wethersfield on Friday looking to bring some of the lessons learned in the first half of the season into the second, specifically for a young and growing offense. The defense, led by guys like Joseph Russell, Jaylen DeJesus and Jerry Woodard, has helped keep games under control when the offense has struggled or turned the ball over. Three of 5-0 Windsor's wins have been shutouts.
"I think it's just youth, a lack of game experience," Fleeting said of some of the offensive mistakes. "They work hard and fight. I think that we should be better every game we get into because the kids are getting game-time experience to gel."
Quarterback Julian Jackson put in time in the offseason working on his position and has been improving all year, building a strong rapport with his receivers Woodard and L.J. Walcott. At running back, transfer Tomasz Johnson has been integral to an offense he continues to learn, alongside a returning Shaun Hunter.
The Warriors took some punches in games against Bristol Central and E.O. Smith earlier this season and thanks to some offensive mistakes had to grind out those wins. But with the time off, Fleeting is hoping the mistakes have been cleaned up and the team finds more red zone success.
"We're hoping to get some more points on the board. Defensively we haven't fallen off at all, so once we clean the offense up, we should be good. We know we can play from behind and play in close games," Fleeting said.
Bloomfield Youngsters Hungry
Bloomfield's quest to return to the Class S championship game this season didn't exactly start with a bang. The Warhawks edged Plainville 18-13 to open the season before dropping a 24-16 decision to Rocky Hill. But they've shown steady improvement since then, posting back-to-back shutouts over Avon and East Catholic and scoring at least 54 points in their last two victories.
"From the first game we we're getting to know each other and learn what we needed to do on the varsity level," coach Ty Outlaw said. "We're a young team with some good talent that's starting to develop right now."
Among that youth is freshman Daron Bryden, who has been the starting quarterback for the Warhawks this season. Sophomores Anthony Simpson and Kamren Watkins have been valuable skill players for the Bloomfield offense.
Defensively, 5-1 Bloomfield returns most of the defensive line but has a new face in the front seven in Karl Powell, a senior with football experience who tried out for the team for the first time this year. The secondary features just one senior and is young with two starting sophomores, part of a class Outlaw says has come in hot.
"The sophomores are pushing the seniors," he said. "So if a senior doesn't do the job, a sophomore is ready to go in and show that he could do it. This class has been phenomenal and they're hungry.
"We feel like this year we don't have any individual stars but as a collective team we're feeling like we could really gel and make some real noise. And that's our ultimate goal."
Some Starring Roles
Jackson Masters went 29-for-38 for 307 yards, three touchdowns and added 58 yards and a TD on the ground in Simsbury's 42-22 win over Conard. … Kevin Dunn was 18-for-23 for 244 yards and three TDs to lead Berlin over Avon, 31-0. … Dathan Hickey had 130 rushing yards and three TDs in Bristol Central's 20-17 win over Newington. … Colton Engel had 22 carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more TDs in Stafford/East Windsor/Somers' 37-6 win over Rockville. … Stone Belzo accounted for six touchdowns (three in the air and three on the ground) in Middletown's 55-7 win over E.O. Smith. …Terrance Bogan had 18 carries for 148 yards and two touchdowns as Sheehan beat Foran 41-27.
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