Football: Bears seek to end two-game slide against tech-school Crusaders

Football: Bears seek to end two-game slide against tech-school Crusaders

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STONINGTON — After consecutive losses, the Stonington High football team is looking to finish the season on a winning note.

Two games remain, both at home: Thursday against the Thames River co-op team, a 6:30 p.m. kickoff, and the traditional Thanksgiving Day contest with Westerly.

Thames River, which is comprised of Norwich Tech, Grasso Tech and St. Bernard, plays in the first-year Connecticut Technical Conference, which is a tech-only league. Still, the Bears aren’t looking past the Crusaders to their holiday rivals across the river in Rhode Island. They need to take care of business on Thursday first.

“A win on any week takes a lot of work,” Stonington coach A.J. Massengale said via email Wednesday. “We haven’t discussed Thanksgiving at all. Our entire focus is on improving and playing our best game against Thames River on Thursday night.”

To do that, the Bears (2-6) need to get their offense going and must cut down on turnovers.

Last week against Bacon Academy, Stonington turned it over six times and scored no points in the second half of a 13-7 loss. The week before, it was seven giveaways in a 42-14 defeat to Griswold.

“We are looking to play our best game to date,” said Massengale, whose team has been working on its ball security. “Our goal is to improve week to week. That isn’t always manifesting itself on game day, but the effort is there.”

Thames River (4-4) had a three-game winning streak broken last Saturday by Prince Tech, 36-20. Trey Stimson rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown and Albert Velasquez had 71 yards and a TD. Jo Jo Beltran added a 75-yard kickoff return for a score for the young Crusaders, who have just six seniors listed on their roster.

They’ve had problems of their own with ball security, losing four fumbles in the loss to the Falcons.

“They are a very balanced team that will throw the ball at any time from any formation,” said Massengale, alluding to Crusaders quarterback Zack Jackson. “Our kids are going to have to be disciplined.”

Stonington’s defense was a bright spot in the Bacon game, and Massengale is hoping for more of the same against Thames River.

“Our defense has been strong throughout the season,” he said. “It really is a group effort on defense with so many players making plays, even when they’re not making the tackle. The kids prepare so hard each week.”


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