The Falcons stumbled again in a rain-soaked Friday night game against New Milford on Nov 11. After jumping ahead 13-0 and taking a 13-7 lead into the half, Barlow was unable to close the deal, making too many mistakes in the second half and ultimately falling 31-21. This drops Barlow to 7-2 on the year and 5th place in the Class SS state playoff rankings. All is not lost, however, as the Falcons can seal a playoff berth with a win on the road against rival Weston in the annual Thanksgiving matchup on Wednesday.
Weston currently sits at 4-5 on the year with wins wins over Lewis Mills, Bethel, Brookfield and Notre Dame-Fairfield. However, the Trojans have been competitive in losses to Stratford, New Fairfield and Foran. As we know, though, as is often case in rivalry games, records can get thrown out the window and it comes down to who wants it more. If this is the case, Barlow should be starving for a victory as that would send them to the state playoffs.
Offensively, Barlow has seen the Trojans play a 3-4 defense for most of the season (three defensive linemen and four linebackers). They have occasionally rotated one of their safeties down into a linebacker-type role against teams that are run-heavy. Weston has in years past shown a 3-3 stack defense against Barlow. Either way, Barlow has to get back to what it was doing effectively earlier in the season: holding onto the football, spreading the ball out and taking advantage of what the defense gives them. Barlow knows that Weston is most likely not going to just sit back and let the Falcons run right at them. So they should expect a few different looks throughout the game.
Defensively, the Falcons will be dealing with an offense that tries to move around and gives you a couple of different formations. This mobility will force Barlow’s defense to keep track of which players are eligible to receive the ball on a given play. Weston will often roll their quaterback out in order to change the launch point and not allow defensive lines to pin their ears back and get to him. They use several different wide receivers to spread the ball around and do enough with the run game to keep defenses honest. Barlow will need to be disciplined and will rely on their secondary to eliminate the big plays which hurt Barlow against New Milford
Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at Weston High School.
Photos by Mike Mitchell