Tebucky Enthusiastic Over Hurricane Wins
Devante Gardner gathered in the opening kickoff from Hall.
The atmosphere on the New Britain sideline radiated concentration, a dedication to the task at hand with a certain festive air hovering above the fray.
The Hurricanes, after two defeats in which they didn’t score a point, were fresh from a convincing win over East Hartford. In Hall, they were facing an undefeated squad that went to the playoffs last season. A signature victory was on the table in front of them and what a gift it would make for Tebucky Jones’ 37th birthday.
Gardner caught the ball at the 20. The Hall coverage was heavy to his right and instinct kicked in. Running with conviction, he darted to the left, picked up a few key blocks and sailed into the end zone.
“I didn’t think they were going to kick it that far,” Jones said. “Usually, it’s a little shorter than that.
“When Devante got the ball, they were too far up. I always say the best returns are when the ball hits the ground and when everybody’s coming at you, you pick it up running full speed.”
In a mere second or two, Hall defenders could only look at his flashing feet. The return set the stage perfectly for the 19-0 victory that could well prove to become the kind of moment that turns a program around.
“Returning the ball right off the jump just gives you the momentum straight from the beginning and that’s what it did,” Tebucky said. “We got up a little bit. Once we got usp, with our defense the way we’re playing, I don’t have no worries.”
Gardner continued to run with the same determination from his tailback slot. He slashed for eight yards on his first carry and seven on his second, en route to a plus-100-yard evening.
His initiative was infectious.
After the New Britain defense halted a Hall drive at its 2 with four minutes left in the third quarter, Lamar Bowsky made a first-down run that oozed with the momentum that the Hurricanes had mustered. He busted through the first level of the Warriors’ defense and carried would-be tacklers before completing a 21-yard gain.
“[Starter Martez Newby] didn’t play today but it’s like double lightning with thunder,” Jones said. “They all bring different aspects to the game. Even Devante, as small as he is (5-foot-7, 175 pounds], he runs hard for a guy his size. He can also come out and line up as a receiver.”
Gardner grabbed two passes for 29 yards from quarterback Malique Jones, who also played inspired football at a key moment in New Britain’s resurgence. Malique has replaced senior Larry Garcia behind center, but Garcia has resurfaced as an effective wide receiver and punter.
“He was open quite a bit,” Tebucky said. “We go through progressions with the reads but he blocked very well. He punted the ball good, too.”
The Hurricanes now know they can play with the league’s best teams. Perhaps if they had East Hartford first with Glastonbury and Southington later in the fall, the results would have been different.
“We’re 2-2; we’ve played four teams. I don’t feel any of them were better than us,” Tebucky said. “I actually thought we were better but we made so many mistakes. The last two weeks, we’ve minimized our mistakes and that’s what’s getting us the wins.”
C’MON PEOPLE NOW: Attendance was sparse, indicating that the student body and general populace have not gotten behind the team.
Without the Golden Hurricane Marching Band and its entourage, the gathering would have been strictly family and friends, along with a contingent from West Hartford.
Part of the experience that has New Britain among the most stories football programs in America, let alone Connecticut, was built on the enthusiasm emanating from the community.
It would seem that this band of intrepid youngsters doing their best to restore pride tarnished by the last few seasons would attract some notice. In addition, attendance at the games provides NBHS programs with a much-needed financial lift.
A win-win situation is just what programs need in a time of economics uncertainty. Throw on that old NBHS hat and sweatshirt and show some support! And if you need some new Hurricanes apparel, the Friends of Football have a deal for you.