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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preview: Gilbert/Northwestern seeks playoff berth

FOOTBALL: Gilbert/Northwestern hoping to be one point better

WINSTED — One point.

That is what kept the Gilbert/Northwestern football team out of a second straight Class M state playoff berth in 2011. The Yellowjackets were in the hunt until the final minute of a road game against Stafford/East Windsor on a cold November night in Stafford Springs. GN watched a 14-0 halftime lead, and a win, evaporate, 22-21 on a two-point conversion. The Yellowjackets ended the year at 7-3 and finished five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot, which was taken by Bethel.

The mentality of this year’s Gilbert/Northwestern crop is simple. Jump on the opponent, and don’t let up.

“We want to get up early,” Yellowjacket head coach Scott Salius said after a Sept. 1 scrimmage against Lewis Mills and St. Paul Catholic at Van Why Memorial Field. “We want to come out of the box early, so we can get our No. 1’s rest.”

GN typically has small numbers, which means most players go both ways. As Salius put it after the Simsbury Jamboree on Aug. 29: “We don’t have 1’s and 2’s and 3’s and 4’s. We got us.”

Senior captain John Ambrozaitis doesn’t seem to mind.

“I think it’s better,” Ambrozaitis said. “You never come off, so you have a short memory.”

A short memory is a good thing, but Salius pointed out that going two ways for a whole game isn’t always good.

“We can’t go even with a big team,” Salius said.

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