Editors note: At the the time of publication, Friday’s kickoff in New Milford was changed to 5:30 p.m. in response to the weather forecast.
Following their setback against Newtown, the Falcons bounced back on Senior Day and Homecoming with a 49-0 drubbing of Bethel in the Battle of 58. As all good contenders are able to do, after being knocked down, they got back up and kept moving forward.
The game was dominated on both sides of the ball by the Falcons as they had over 400 yards of total offense and were up 42-0 at halftime. The defense was just as impressive, holding Bethel to just 80 yards of total offense for the game. Hopefully it will be a homecoming and Senior Day that will allow for some memories in the future.
As we have now turned back the clocks, the season is beginning to wind down. There are only two more regular season games left on the docket for Barlow and they could not be more important. The first of the two is a huge showdown with the much improved Green Wave of New Milford. After being a bottom dweller in the league in recent years, New Milford won six games last year and has an outside chance at making playoffs this year if they can win their final two games. They are coming into the game with a 5-3 record and coming off a 28-21 win over Bunnell in Stratford last week. With both teams looking to make a little noise in the postseason, this week’s matchup becomes a really important one.
Offensively, the Falcons expect the Green Wave to play some version of a 4-3 defense as they have done for the most part all year (four down linemen and three linebackers). It would not be shocking to see New Milford play a 5-3 at various points in the game to try to get an extra lineman into the box in order to help out with Barlow’s run-heavy offense. New Milford does rotate the linemen that they have in the game on offense and defense, so they should be fresh when trying to stop Barlow’s offense. If they get into some trouble, don’t be surprised to see them send some linebackers on blitzes.
Defensively, the Falcons will need to contend with an offense that likes to use matchups to their advantage. New Milford is a spread team; however, they like to spread opposing defenses in order run a good amount of the time. Depending on the defense that Barlow chooses to play, New Milford will have certain schemes set up to try to attack and counter. They may go to a large number of screens, for instance, and they have also had several different run-game blocking schemes that have been used throughout the year. In addition, they are always a threat to chuck the ball down the field. Their quarterback is a very good athlete who is tough to tackle and is very elusive. This game will challenge the Falcons to be consistent with their tackling and also pass defense.
With the playoffs only a couple of weeks away, Barlow could take an enormous step towards qualifying – and also possibly getting themselves a home game in the first round – with a win this week. New Milford is no easy out and they are looking to make some noise of their own. The showdown is set.