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After initial success, Nonnewaug football looking to bounce back

POSTED October 01, 2013
BY John Nestor
Twitter: @nestorjdn

After initial success, Nonnewaug football looking to bounce back

The Nonnewaug High football team was in an unfamiliar place last week, it was dealing with success. Whether or not they will have any more this season will depend on how they bounce back from a familiar result.

After a season-opening win got them off on the right foot, the Chiefs went to Avon and were soundly beaten, 42-7. The Falcons are an established program, coming off a playoff appearance a season ago, while the Chiefs are trying to build something and that process can be slow and sometimes arduous.

That was certainly the case Saturday as Avon scored 14 points in what seemed to be the blink of an eye and Nonnewaug could never get on track.

"I'm disappointed. I thought we would come out and play with more energy," Nonnewaug coach John Oko said. "They took it to us.

We have a lot of work to do. They jumped on us and we just couldn't recover."

Nonnewaug opened its season with a 26-6 victory over Haddam-Killingworth in Woodbury. It was just the kind of start the Chiefs needed. A win in front of the home crowd to get the season off to a good start. It's been a tough couple of seasons as a varsity program so getting off to a strong start was very important to the program.

"It was definitely big to start the season with a win, no doubt about it," Oko said. "

It was important to get off to a good start because we had been losing. We won on Thanksgiving last year and after the win over HK I told the kids, we have two in a row now."

That streak ended against the Falcons and now the Chiefs will look to start a new one against Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby on Friday night. To do so, Oko will need to get a better performance out of his team than he did Saturday.

A fumble gave Avon a short field and two minutes in it was 7-0. The Chiefs then lost 17 yards on three plays on its next drive and after a punt, the Falcons had another short field and punched it in for a 14-0 lead.

"It wasn't anything we didn't prepare for, they just executed very well and we didn't execute," Oko said. "Obviously we came here to win and in my mind I thought we would come here and be competitive and we just weren't. We talked about this being a benchmark and telling us where we were. We learned we have a lot to work on."

While the Avon game was disappointing, there are signs that there are better things to come for the program. Oko said the difference in the season opener was his team's ability to make four or five big plays, something completely lacking a season ago.

A look at the schedule is encouraging as well. With the Pequot split up into three divisions, Nonnewaug has games with Lewis Mills, Canton, Gilbert/Northwestern, Granby and Housatonic/Wamogo left on the schedule.

The Chiefs didn't play most of those teams in years past.

"I think we will be a little more competitive with a lot of the teams on the schedule," Oko said. "I think we can build up some rivalries and be competitive. It's been tough, traveling to North Branford, Deep River, I thinks it going to be pretty good for us and the other teams in the area."

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