New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

The Sports Journal

Garcia “Confident” in Season Opener

After 15 rollercoaster years of covering New Britain High football, you don’t just walk away without caring.

The sounds of “Bingo,” as interpreted by the Golden Hurricanes Marching Band, begin to resonate in my mind as soon as the humid days of August melt away and the harvest moon lights up the night.

There are vivid memories of Len Corto’s last two teams – the Chris Bellamy-led 1999 squad that I’ll always say was the best in the state despite getting shut out of the playoffs, and the 2000 team that gave Shelton’s Dan Orlowsky all he could handle before bowing out in the Class LL semifinals.

And then the Cochran years, those glorious Cochran years where Jack tested the patience of every New Britain High administrator while endearing himself to a fan base bent on winning.

Without delving any further into a history lesson, after 15 years of writing the exploits of the Red and Gold, my love and respect for the team doesn’t just dissipate into thin air.

The plight of the team under Paul Morrell was heartbreaking because Morrell is such a wonderful guy. He was subject to some pretty vile anonymous public criticism that common sense dictates should never have been allowed to go public. After all, he was helping kids, and the roster at CCSU will corroborate that. How a man does a job under public scrutiny will always be subject to second-guessing.

The end result is that I shed many a tear watching the fortunes of the team plummet and the criticism get ramped up both publicly and privately.

When the curtain came down on the Morrell Era, another curtain descended on mine at the local daily newspaper, but my prayers for New Britain’s success marches on. With that in mind, I have established a network of faithful and trusted NBHS football watchers to keep me informed.

As we all know by now, New Britain dropped a 17-0 Week 1 decision to Glastonbury, a football program that rose to state heights from the ashes of the Hurricanes’ post-Cochran fall.

My informants tell me that senior quarterback Larry Garcia did a credible job in the first half and that the defense was nothing short of outstanding. All of Glastonbury’s points came either directly or indirectly as a result of turnovers.

The consensus is that Garcia should not have been benched in favor of junior Malique Jones in the second half, a half that saw his first pass turned into a “pick 6” by opportunistic Glastonbury defensive back Devin O’Reilly.

I haven’t been able to talk to “Coach Buck” on the quarterback situation so I’ll reserve judgment, but one of my guys used the word “confident” in the way Garcia directed the offense.

On defense, high grades went out to Giovanni Viven, now a down lineman with All-State potential. Linebacker Jeremy Millan and Garrett Shaw also made plays.

Holding Glastonbury to under 100 yards would generally equate to more overall success but the offense was lethargic. New Britain could not run the ball against a bigger Glastonbury front. Sounds like the lack of big bodies up front that doomed the last two Morrell teams remains New Britain’s biggest issue.

“The Rent” is too high

The ’Canes next meet Southington, a 42-14 winner over East Hartford, in what has become an annual game at Rentschler Field.

Speaking of Rentschler, I understand those attending the game will be asked to cough up $10. On one hand, I’m hearing about how desperate our economic condition is, particularly for the middle and lower classes. On the other, I’m hearing about $10 tickets for high school football.

Everybody who feels they can’t afford to pay $10 and fight Hartford traffic Friday night please raise your hand. Wow, that;’s more than the 500 or so who will attend the game.

Running high school games at the East Hartford money pit does not correspond with common sense. The CIAC lost $22,000 operating the state finals there last year. Between the state finals, the New Britain-Southington games, the selected East Hartford High home games over the years and that hockey debacle of a year ago, enough money was lost to fully replenish the computer labs at all three schools.

And when you see 500 people roaming around a stadium that seats 45,000, it looks like a scene from The Twilight Zone. Bring the New Britain-Southington game back to the high schools where it belongs, so that “big band sound” of the dynamic bands at the two schools doesn’t get lost in the atmosphere. Or should I say lack of atmosphere.