Killingly and
Valley lock up 
on T-Day
By Ron P. Coderre
The Killingly – Quinebaug Valley Pride Thanksgiving Day football game may not have as much tradition as the former Putnam vs. Killingly contest, but preparing for the faceoff both teams are more than anxious to hit the gridiron.  The game has meaning for both programs, maybe more so for the Redmen who are headed to the CIAC Class M postseason, but the Pride would love to close out the season with a win.
On paper Killingly with an 8-1 record appears to be the stronger of the two teams.  The Pride of coach Joe Asermelly enters with a 6-3 log but on a three game winning streak.  The Redmen of coach Chad Neal play in the much stronger Eastern Connecticut Conference but the Pride has faced some iron in the Constitution State Conference.  There are no mutual opponents on the schedules.
Killingly, one heart breaking loss from a perfect season features a well rounded team on offense and defense.  The Redmen can score in many ways but their vaunted running game has been their weapon of choice.  Running back Austin Caffrey is by far the top runner in Eastern Connecticut with 1,538 yards and 20 touchdowns to his credit.  Running in tandem with Caffrey is sophomore Spencer Lockwood, who has proven capable of carrying the load in the few instances that Caffrey’s been shut down.
In the air the Killingly runway is loaded.  Junior quarterback Kyle Derosier, with nine touchdowns through the air, is a solid signal caller who has risen to the occasion when needed this season.  Derosier’s favorite target is Vasileios Politis who has six touchdown receptions.  Sophomore tight end Jake Gauthier is a sure handed receiver as is senior wideout Chace Wood.
Following years of frustration, Killingly is running like a well oiled machine thanks to an abundance of strong linemen, capable of opening holes on offense and stopping opponents on defense.  Among the standouts are Collin Byrnes, Connor Lemley, Justin Lasher, Josh Angel and Alex Fontaine.  Caffrey doubles at the linebacker slot where he teams with Tyler Lestage and Kelsy Rhines.
Killingly has a not-so-secret weapon in freshman placekicker Luke Desaulnier.  He’s been near perfect in point-after kicks and is capable of booting a field goal if necessary.
The Pride, though not as deep in man power, has some weapons of its own.  Although the team has been hit by injuries prior to and during the season they have managed to put together a solid squad.  The loss of running back Mike Davis in the preseason to an ACL injury and Sebastian Ruiz was devastating but the team goes into Thanksgiving with 10 experienced seniors on the squad.
Jeremee “Buddha” Perez, with 11 rushing touchdowns, is the workhorse and spiritual leader of the Pride.  In nine games he’s amassed 1,001 yards and been a stalwart on defense, having to play on both sides of the football as do most QV players.  Senior wide receiver Kyle Loomis, demonstrated running skills when Perez was slowed.  He may see significant action in the backfield in his final game.
Senior quarterback Chuckin’ Charlie Innes, with seven passing touchdowns, is banged up but ready to play.  Playing with a torn meniscus, Innes is still a threat in the air and on the ground.  His favorite target is another senior Saige Louis, who has seven touchdowns and 379 receiving yards.  The tight end is Darren Bindloss. 
Among the two-way performers in the line, Logan Putnam is “the best lineman in four years” that Assermelly has coached.  Jacob Phaneuf is a strong guard and center Jordan Holmes anchors the middle of the line.  Three sophomores Gavin Thuotte, Ben Leveille and Sam Getchel are young but progressing rapidly.  Getchel has five interceptions this season.
“Killingly’s record speaks for itself.  Like every other team on the Redmen schedule, we must find a way to slow down Caffrey if we want a chance to win.  I’ve told our kids this is a great opportunity to show who they are,” said coach Asermelly.
The scale appears to be tipped heavily in favor of Killingly to win this matchup.  They have the edge in manpower and a healthy squad.  They have Caffrey and a strong running game and Desrosier is someone to be feared.  The line is big and strong.  Those are obstacles the Pride must overcome to win.  It’s just too much to expect.
RPC’s Prediction: Killingly 40 - QV Pride 14.
Griswold vs. Plainfield
Plainfield’s (3-6) been on a terrible slide, while the Griswold Wolverines (6-3) have been one of the area’s toughest teams on the field this season.  The Panthers feature quarterback Marcus Robinson and running back Tyler Ballard but not much else.
Griswold is loaded.  Running backs Brandon Yeaton (11 rushing touchdowns) and Jordan Baker are a determined duo. They’re very difficult to bring down and have good hands in securing the tosses of quarterback Cole Mileski, who has thrown for 669 yards and seven touchdowns through the air this season.
Although these teams are archrivals and the game is generally one that goes down to the wire, this year will be much different.  Plainfield’s off-field problems haven’t helped the Panthers.  Griswold is hungry and talented.  The Wolverines should dominate.
RPC’s Prediction: Griswold 42 – Plainfield 13.
Woodstock Academy vs. Thames River
Woodstock Academy plays in the ECC and Thames River tri-op is a member of the CSC.  The two conferences are diametrically different, but that said Thames River has managed to play well against all competition, posting a 5-4 record.
Woodstock Academy at 1-8 has some weapons in running backs Tristan Menard and Cameron Janice and receiver Mason Defocy.  They also have a motivated leader in Captain Cahan Quinn in the offensive line and as a linebacker on defense.  The depth and football mentality is a question mark for the Centaurs, who go up against a well coached Thames River team.
The Crusaders of coach Sean Ladyga feature the area’s top passing quarterback in Jared Neal.  He has thrown the pigskin for 1,695 yards and an incredible 27 passing touchdowns this season.  He has two capable receivers in running back Thurston Brown (396 receiving yards) and Alex Casillas and Anthony Hall, who have six receiving touchdowns each.
This game should be competitive for the first half but the Crusaders’ depth, talent and football mentality may wear down the outmanned Centaurs.  The Crusaders aerial assault will be difficult for the Centaurs to shoot down.  The edge in this game goes to Thames River.
RPC’s Prediction: Thames River 36 – Woodstock Academy 20.
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