New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

The Sports Journal

NBHS Football Eyes State Playoff Berth

Editor | New Britain City Journal
Yopp tries to break free from an East Hartford tackler.
Editor | New Britain City Journal
Taj Yopp lookds down the field ready to throw a pass.
Editor | New Britain City Journal
He hits his receiver who makes a tough catch.
Editor | New Britain City Journal
Robinson proves too tough to take down.
Editor | New Britain City Journal
Shawn Robinson runs past an East Hartford defender.
Editor | New Britain City Journal
New Britain’s pass defemse, led by Chris Maldonado, shown here, was strong against East Hartford.

By Bob Mayer

New Britain City Journal

The New Britain Hurricanes football team rolled through its first four games, outscoring their opponents 164-33.

But then came a game that definitely gained them more respect throughout the state. New Britain led perennial power Southington for much of their game before the Knights scored with a minute to go to hand New Britain its first loss of the season 27-24. Even with the loss, other teams stood up and noticed New Britain is for real and probably should have won that game.

So how would New Britain bounce back? How would the Hurricanes play without star running back Keyone Gunn, who was out for the next game?

The answer was simple…Great.

New Britain crushed Hall, 51-14.

Then the ‘Canes crushed Glastonbury 44-10

East Hartford, with just one loss, was next and left Veteran’s Stadium with a 63-26 loss.

New Britain now stands at 7-1 on the season and is seventh in the Class LL state playoff rankings.

“We just watch the film from the last game, try to correct the mistakes we made and move on,” New Britain coach Tebucky Jones said.
“Once that game is done, we don’t talk about it no more. If you keep harping on a bad play or a loss, you’ll be thinking about it all year and it can ruin your season. You have to be like a defensive back and have a short memory. If you get beat deep, you have to forget it and get on to the next play or else you’re going to get beat deep every play.”

Jones knows all about playing defensive back since he played in the NFL as a DB for almost 10 seasons and has a Super Bowl ring from his 2001 season with the New England Patriots.
Jones says that this year’s team is good and returned a lot of players from last year but the biggest change he said has come from the coaching staff.

“I think every year we are going to win something, that’s just the way I am,” Jones said. “I think we have better coaches this year. We have Isaiah Boddie back. He played here and was the defensive coordinator at Cheshire High School but now he’s back. He came back home and that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Our coaches are in one pack now where as in the past I thought we had some separation between the coaches. It’s a whole new atmosphere for these guys.”

The offense is led by quarterback Tahje Yopp and running backs Shawn Robinson and Keyone Gunn. While Gunn was out against Hall, Jones used Tarik Hetmeyer and Chris Maldonado in his place.

“Those guys did a great job filling in for Gunn,” Jones said. “Chris played receiver and corner too so he really did the job. We ran the ball real well. The guys up front had a good week blocking. The defense was good and special teams were good too. It was a solid week. It was a great win but there is always room for improvement.”

This week, the Hurricanes play Enfield, who is 3-5.

“They’re all good,” Jones joked when asked how good Enfield was. “They are tough every year. They like to mix it up. They can run the ball and they love to sprint out pass. The defense likes to hit and blitz a lot which will leave our receivers man to man with their DBs.

“I think we’re going to need to run the ball well but I think we’ll have a chance to throw the ball against them too. Our line could be a key for us. We need to establish and dominate up front on both sides of the ball.”

The road does not get any easier for New Britain as it plays unbeaten Berlin in its final game at Sage Park the night before Thanksgiving.