Jake Hedberg lets it fly against South Windsor
The Newington offense began the season scoring 65 point over their first two games, both wins. However, the high-powered Indians’ offense had since cooled off during a recent three game losing streak.
All that changed Saturday afternoon when quarterback Jake Hedberg and his offensive mates took to the friendly skies of South Windsor to reignite the flame that had burned brightly over the first two weeks of the season. Hedberg threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns as the Indians steamrolled the Bobcats of South Windsor 41-14 to snap the three-game losing skid.
Hedberg, who has an extremely quick release and has as good of anticipation as any quarterback in the state, was glad to see the offense clicking on all cylinders again.
“It was a good feeling to get the offense going again,” Hedberg said with a smile, “We were able to hit a lot of downfield passes. The offensive line did a great job at keeping the defenders off of me and our receivers did a great job catching the ball.”
Newington’s offense was so efficient that they scored on all five of their first-half possessions.
The Indians marched 71 yards of their first drive, which was capped off with a 9-yard scoring strike from Hedberg to Andrew Grenier. Grenier, who also caught a 12-yard pass on third down to extended the drive, easily beat his man to the inside on a slant pattern for the opening score. It was the first time the two seniors had connected on a touchdown since the second game of the season.
Newington, who primarily runs a spread offense featuring three and four receivers, was also able to get their running game going to compliment their potent passing attack. The opening touchdown was set up by a 31-yard run by John McDonald, who also added a one-yard touchdown plunge later in the half. McDonald is small in stature, but is showed Saturday that he is capable of lowering his pads and running through would-be defenders.
Fellow running back Pedro Kerr scored the game’s second touchdown when he took an inside handoff out of a shotgun formation and scampered nine yards through the heart of the Bobcats’ defense, putting the Indians up 14 points---a mere eight minutes into the game.
Kerr’s score came after the Newington defense forced the game’s first turnover when junior cornerback Deven Perez intercepted an overthrown by South Windsor quarterback Vincent Bacho. The interception was one of two on the day for Newington. Senior linebacker Joram Sanchez secured the other interception after Grenier tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage before Sanchez made a diving catch at the South Windsor 20-yard line.
The second interception set up Hedberg’s second touchdown pass to Grenier. Following the turnover Newington was called for a holding penalty, but on the ensuing play after the infraction Hedberg hit a wide open Grenier for a 30-yard score with 1:18 left to play in the half. The touchdown gave the Indians a comfortable 35-7 lead at the break.
Hedberg put any doubt of a victory to bed when he connected with Kyle Armour on two long passes on the opening drive of the second half. The first was a 28-yarder down the right sideline and the second was a perfectly timed 32-yard bomb down the same sideline. Armour ran passed a pair of South Windsor defenders and snared the beautifully lofted pass before crossing the goal line. The deep touchdown was Armour’s second of the afternoon. The 6’3 senior also caught a 12-yard touchdown in the first half.
The Newington offense put on an exhibition, but the Indians’ defense did their part, allowing only one offensive touchdown. Senior defensive lineman Jordan Allen and junior linebacker Sean Grover hounded the opposing backfield and rendered their read-option offense useless in the second half.
South Windsor’s touchdowns came on a 50-yard run by Bacho in the first half and a 44-yard interception return by Adam Leclerc late in the fourth quarter. The loss ruined the Bobcats’ homecoming and dropped them to 0-6 on the season.
The victory over South Windsor was the first of three consecutive road games that Newington will play to close out October. The will finish the regular season with two of their final three games at home.
“Our goals are the same as we started with and we still want to win out,” Hedberg added, “We started to turn things around today, but we have to take it one week at a time and get better each week.”
Their signal caller knows that the high school football season is a marathon and not a sprint. This is good news for an offense that seems to be ascending at the right time.
Leave a Reply.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin