TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School football team fell to 0-2 on the season Friday night at Wiseman Field, suffering a 44-20 loss to the Mitchell (Nebraska) Tigers.
The Tigers chewed up half of the first quarter – all the ground – on their opening drive which resulted in a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
“We did not stop the run very well at all defensively,” coach Russell Stienmetz said. “Offensively, we had glimpses of being able to run the ball which opens up for the pass. Then other times, we weren’t able to run the ball. To be successful in high school football, you have to stop the run and be able to run the ball.”
Stienmetz added it will be a point of emphasis this week as the Blazers gear up for 2A East Conference play.
It wasn’t until the 2:10 mark in the second quarter when Torrington finally got on the scoreboard.
By that point, Mitchell led 21-0. That’s when junior quarterback Bryce Hager connected with Brendan Flock on an 8-yard touchdown pass.
The visitors punched in their fourth score of the game on a 62-yard completion with under a minute to go before halftime.
In the second half, Hager and Flock hooked up two more times. The first coming in the closing seconds of the third quarter on a 42-yard pass. In the fourth quarter, the two found each other again, this time on a 13-yard touchdown reception.
Mitchell added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to pull away for the 24-point victory.
“We had at least three touchdown passes dropped,” Stienmetz said. “Hager is getting some great reads and finding opening receivers. I have confidence these receivers will come around and be able to catch those touchdown passes in the future.”
Hager finished the day 12-of-22 passing for 122 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Flock had seven receptions for 94 yards and three scores. Senior Dylan Packard led the team in rushing with 57 yards on 12 carries, while Hager had 53 yards on nine attempts.
Defensively, Hager led the team with 37 points, while junior Ty Bennick had 25.
Despite the outcome, there were some positives to be taken away from the game, and it starts with Hager and Bennick.
“They were all over the field. One reason why Hager was able to get so many of those tackles is due to the interior defensive lineman of Keyan Sargent and Kaden Miller, and even Bennick and (Ryan) Baker were holding up their lineman, so therefore, Bryce can get those tackles,” Stienmetz said. “There are some positives to be found there.”
Torrington travels to Burns on Friday night to open 2A East Conference play. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“Watching Burns on film, they do some great things offensively and defensively,” Stienmetz said. “Offensively, for us, we have to go back to the basics and stick to our rules and our assignments and blocks and then rally all the way down to where the ball is going to be.”