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Thursday, August 15, 2013

New era begins in Torrington

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Torrington Raiders hit the field for first practice of the season with new head coach Gaitan Rodriguez

By Pete Paguaga
@PetePaguaga on Twitter

TORRINGTON >> “Raiders, Raiders!” echoed throughout the athletic fields in the back of Torrington High School as Gaitan Rodriguez closed out his first practice as head coach of Torrington.

“We’re very excited to get back on the field,” said Rodriguez. “The kids just want to get on the field.”

The Raiders program went through a tumultuous offseason overshadowed by a scandal that rocked Torrington.

Rodriguez graduated from Torrington in 1997 and was a member of the Raiders football program where he was an All-Naugatuck Valley League player. He took over the program in March after Dan Dunaj resigned in January, citing “family reasons.”

“It’s a dream come true,” said Rodriguez of being able to coach on the field he once played on. “It’s something I set out to do after I graduated from college.”

Rodriguez had players spread out across the field throughout the practice, making his rounds to the different groups of players.

“It’s all about evaluation,” said Rodriguez. “I thought it was a good day.”

He also wasn’t nervous about getting on the field for the first time with the team.

“I’ve been doing this for a while now,” he said. “I was anxious to get this day under way.”

Last season the Raiders went 6-4 and they lost a majority of their starters, but that isn’t going to stop the leaders of this year’s team.

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