Hall Football Looks to Continue Solid Start to Season

Patrick McGann, Peter Piao, and Noe Ruelas

The 2019-2020 Hall football team is off to their best start since 2016 but they know there’s still a lot left to prove. The Warriors are currently  5-2 with wins over Cheshire, East Hartford, New Britain, South Windsor, and Enfield. The team is riding a 3 game winning streak, outscoring the last three opponents 113-20, as it has combined a strong team defensive effort and an offense that is beginning to click on all cylinders. 

The highlight of the season so far was a 35-28 thrilling win over Cheshire (ranked number 7 in the state at the time). After experiencing a heartbreaking 9-3 loss to Simsbury the week before, a game in which the warriors controlled much of and felt they gave away, it was exactly what the team needed to bounce back and gain momentum. 

Riding a defense that has only allowed an average of 14 points per game and strong play from junior tailback Izzo lizardi ( 588 rushing yards, 7 TD, 68 receiving 1 TD) and senior wideout Gabe Salomons (388 receiving yards, 3 TD) as well as solid Quarterback play from senior captain Matt Keller whos been a weapon in the red zone with 7 rushing touchdowns, the team seems to have found its groove just past the midway point of the season. 

Junior defensive end Aiden Guzman has paced the strong defense with 48 tackles, 17 TFL(tackles for loss), and 2 sacks along with fellow Junior Luke Duzan (53 tackles, 12.5 TFL). The warriors have excelled on special teams so far with Lizardi and fellow junior Dajaun Banks both being threats to take any kick back for a touchdown, as well as kicker Noe Ruelas who set the state field goal record with a 56 yard field goal against Simsbury, in the first game of the year. Ruelas has been very consistent 17 for 19 PATS (point after attempts), 3 for 5 field goals and head coach Frank Robinson recognizes his importance: ¨“He is a weapon,” Robinson said when talking to the Hartford Courant, “With a typical high school kicker, you wouldn’t be able to get those points”. 

The teams increased success hasn’t gone unnoticed by fellow students. When Blue Reign member Olivia Bonee, was asked if she believed there’s more excitement around the team this year, she responded with “Yes because there’s a lot of new talent and the fan section has been a lot bigger this year making the games more fun to attend”. The team will continue to need the fan support as they approach the final stretch of the season. The last 3 games pit the Warriors against a solid Manchester team,Wethersfield, a perennial contender in class L, and the crosstown rivalry game with Conard.

When asked how this year’s team is different than previous years Lizardi stated: “everybody is making sure that they are doing what they are supposed to, the seniors are really doing a good job with taking responsibility for all the players and ensuring that everyone on the team stays motivated and hungry”. In addition, he stated the team knows they still have something left to prove and nothing will be handed to them. In order to qualify for states, the team will likely have to win out which adds a certain amount of pressure. The team however, is sticking to Coach Robs matra of “get better everyday” and is only focused on the game being played that week, with the hope their effort will be rewarded come playoff time.