TORRINGTON – Emotions are running high in the Torrington High School football team this week as they prepare to host the Mountain View Buffalos, the defending Class 2A state champions, on Friday evening at Wiseman Field.
Second year head coach Russell Stienmetz stressed how excited the team is to have another home game and not have to make the six-hour drive to the southwest corner of the state.
“It’s something totally in our favor, and we need to use that in our favor,” he said.
Both teams come into the 6 p.m. semifinal matching with identical 7-2 records, and much like last week, the Blazers have their eye on one player.
Last week, it was Cokeville’s Nate Barnes, this week, it’ll be Mountain View’s Ashton Schofield, who Stienmetz described as one of the best receivers in the state.
“They get him the ball in space in the passing game,” he said. “They hand the ball to him in the running game on fly sweeps. He is a very dynamic player.”
Schofield is the lone player in the state to record 200 or more yards in a single game in 2020, and the senior averages 85.8 yards receiving per game.
But the Mountain View offense also has multiple weapons in the backfield.
“They also have a great running attack from multiple players,” Stienmetz said. “They are playing their backup quarterback, but he is very good, just like their original starter. We are going to have to have our heads on right defensively.”
In all, the Buffalos rank third in 2A, averaging 310 yards per game, including 176 through the air and 134 on the ground.
On the side of the ball, Mountain View brings a 4-4 defense into Torrington.
“Their corners are off the ball, trying to keep everything in front of them and rally up to it,” Stienmetz said. “They are very aggressive in the box. We have to get a hat for a hat, and our players are going to have to make plays.”
Both Mountain View and Torrington give up 230 yards of offense per game, ranking fifth and sixth in the state, respectively.
The Blazers come into the Friday’s contest with a healthy squad.
After getting banged up against Cokeville, senior running back and linebacker Cody Pierce was a full participant in practice Monday in preparation for the game.
“He is a competitor,” Stienmetz said “He’s going to play. He practiced (Monday) full tilt. He’s a tough kid.”
For the coaching staff, it’s all about fine tuning things they have been taught all season.
“We are just trying to hone our skills and get better in the run and pass on both sides of the ball,” Stienmetz said. “At this point in the season, players are just going to have to step up and make some plays.”