Defense paves the way for Newington
The Newington Indians’ high-octane offense has received all the accolades so far this season, but it was their defense that dominated in Friday night’s 35-16 conference victory over the East Hartford Hornets. Newington’s defense held the Hornets scoreless in the first half and created three turnovers, one of which turned into a defensive touchdown on the bitter cold night at Abbate Field.
Marcus Guadarramma spearheaded the Newington defense and wreaked havoc in East Harford’s offensive backfield all game. The senior finished with seven tackles, three forced fumbles, and a sack. He credited the defensive success to the emphasis placed on forcing fumbles in practice. “We practiced it a lot this week,” an excited Guadarramma said following the victory, “The coaches did a great job of telling us to go for the strip, especially the second guy to the ball.”
Despite their success, the Newington defense was a little shaky to start the game as East Hartford took the opening possession and marched into the red zone. The Indians’ defense stiffened and forced a 44-yard field goal which drifted wide-left and the home team never looked back from that point on. The dangerous Newington offense, led by junior Jake Hedberg, methodically moved down the field on their first offensive possession, using short precision passes. The drive concluded with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Hedberg to fellow junior Andrew Grenier, who ran a fade route and beat man coverage to the right corner of the end zone. The opening drive showcased the potency of the Newington offense, which runs a spread formation with Hedberg operating almost exclusively out of the shotgun.
Newington added a wrinkle to their offense on the first play of their second possession when they ran a reverse flea-flicker. The result was a 58-yard completion from wide receiver Kyle Armour to fellow receiver John Massaro. The trick play brought the shivering home crowd to their feet and two plays later running back Isaiah Young scored from five yards out. On Young’s touchdown run, the coaching staff added another variation to their offense when they lined up in a Stack-I formation, giving Young two lead blocking backs. One of the lead backs was offensive lineman Ben Austin who helped plowed the way for Young to easily waltz into the end zone. The touchdown gave the Newington defense a 14-0 cushion, which allowed them to start attacking the conservative Hornet’s offense.
The aggressive nature of the Newington defense paid dividends late in the first half with East Hartford facing a fourth down in Newington territory. The Hornets ran a perfectly executed middle-screen pass to running back Mirajsh Barnes, who seemed to have a wide-open field in front of him, but Newington’s Sean Grover made a tremendous one-handed ball strip before Barnes broke into the Newington secondary. The loose ball was scooped up by the Indians’ Zach Truhan, who proceeded to weave in and out of would-be tacklers on his way to a 68 yard touchdown. Truhan added a two-point conversion reception and the shocked Hornets went to the halftime locker room trailing 22-0.
East Hartford kept the game interesting in the second half, thanks to the elusive running of quarterback Cameron Byrd and the ball-hawking of safety Michon Hunt. Byrd ran for two second half touchdowns and Hunt intercepted two passes to help tighten the score to 28-16 early in the fourth quarter. However, Newington turned back to the short passing game on their first possession of the final quarter and easily moved down the field on a number of quick strike passes. Young finished the drive with his second touchdown, this time from 10 yards out. The game sealing drive drained nearly five minutes off the clock and thwarted any chance of a Hornets’ comeback.
Next, Newington (3-4) will face their biggest challenge of the season when they welcome the Southington Blue Knights to Alumni Field this Friday night. Southington (5-1) is ranked in the top-ten in the Connecticut high school football rankings and are led by one of the state’s best quarterbacks, Stephen Barmore. The Blue Knights have also defeated the Indians the last four times they’ve played. However, this doesn’t shake the confidence of Guadarramma, who says the team will be ready for the challenge. “It’s going to be a good game, we’re going to prepare the same way we [always] prepare,” the defensive standout said, “I’m ready for it.” Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Football Around Town
Rocky Hill crushes Plainville
The Rocky Hill Terriers improved to 6-1 with a 35-6 whitewash of the Plainville Blue Devils. Rocky Hill’s Chris Young continued his magical senior season, rushing for 179 yards and three touchdowns on only 17 carries. With his three scores Friday, Young has now amassed 18 total touchdowns in seven games. More amazingly, he is averaging a touchdown every six times he touches the ball this season. With the home win, Rocky Hill has now won 11 consecutive home games, last losing on September 23rd 2011.
The Terriers will welcome the Bristol Central Rams (2-4) to Rocky Hill Friday night. Last season the Terriers destroyed the Rams 55-21. Bristol Central’s offense has underperformed this season, having been shutout twice, including a 35-0 loss to Farmington this past weekend. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Eagles soar by Falcons
The Wethersfield Eagles won their third game in a row by defeating the struggling Fermi Falcons 40-20 in a Central Connecticut II East conference battle. Wethersfield’s defense held the Falcons scoreless in the first half and the Eagles cruised the rest of the way. With the win, Wethersfield took over first place in the conference and remain the only team in the East without a conference loss.
The Eagles look to keep their perfect conference record intact when they welcome the RHAM Sachems (3-4) to Wethersfield this Friday night. The Eagles have won the last three games versus the Sachems, including a 35-14 victory last season. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Cromwell’s win streak stopped at four
The Cromwell Panthers had their four game winning streak snapped by the Sports & Medicine Sciences Academy Tigers at Dillon Stadium in Hartford Saturday. The Panthers could not stop the Tigers’ ground game as Kadeem Johnson and Wildredo Alicea combined for 277 rushing yards in the 36-19 upset victory. Cromwell had a chance to take a two game lead in the Pequot-North conference, but the loss narrows their overall lead and allows five teams to stay within a game of first place.
Friday night, Cromwell will travel and battle the Enfield Raiders in another crucial Pequot-North conference game. Enfield (3-3) is coming off a 13-9 victory over Hyde Leadership and is led by head coach Jay Gaucher, who is coaching his tenth season with the Raiders. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Xavier lights up scoreboard
The Xavier Falcons rebounded from last week’s heartbreaking loss and smashed the Notre Dame Green Knights 54-13. The Falcons dominated the game from start to finish, showing no ill effects from their highly publicized loss to West Haven last weekend. The win put the Falcons (5-2) in a three-way tie, with Fairfield Prep and Shelton, for the lead in the Southern Connecticut I West conference.
Xavier will now travel to the shoreline and play the Hand Tigers in Madison. Hand (6-1) has won the last two contests against Xavier and is coming off an impressive 44-41 victory over Shelton. Hand is led by sophomore sensation Nick Van Dell, who has thrown 17 touchdowns and ran for seven more this season. Kickoff will be a 7 p.m.
Middletown Turns Maloney into Bologna
The Middletown Blue Dragons improved to 7-0 with a 47-16 demolition of the Maloney Spartans Friday night. Duel-threat quarterback Dario Highsmith tallied four touchdowns and Jacob Homar caught 5 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown in the blowout victory. The Blue Dragons played most of the second half with their reserves after putting up 40 points over the first 24 minutes.
Next, the Blue Dragons will return to Middletown to welcome the Farmington Indians and their playmaking studs Ivan Guadalupe and Kenny Jones for the highly anticipated battle of undefeated conference foes. The winner will take over sole possession of first place in the competitive Central Connecticut II West conference. Both Middletown and Farmington have excelled on offense this season, but it has been their defenses that have been the most spectacular thus far, each surrendering less than 10 points per game this season. Kickoff for the top-ten battle is 7 p.m. at Rosek-Skubel Stadium.
Special Teams Sparks Wethersfield
Wethersfield’s spectacular special teams scored a touchdown, set up two more scores, and blocked a punt to help the Eagles throttle the Hartford Public Owls 40-16 in front of a packed house at Joseph F. Cottone Field. The Eagles, who had lost to the Owls the previous two seasons, overcame an early deficit and an injury to superstar quarterback Matthew Sanzaro to win their second game in a row and seize the lead in the Central Connecticut II East conference.
The game didn’t start well for Wethersfield, as Hartford Public took the opening possession and marched 68 yards to take an 8-0 lead when quarterback Richard Jernigan kept the football for himself and scored from 7 yards out. The drive took nearly six minutes off the clock and silenced the energetic home crowd. Penalties then killed the Eagles’ opening offensive possession and it seemed throughout the first quarter that Wethersfield’s spread offense was a bad match versus Hartford Public’s physical defense. However, with time running out in the opening quarter, a bad snap forced Owl’s punter Dandre Wilson to improvise and throw a desperation pass to no one in particular. The punting gaffe left Wethersfield with excellent field position at the Hartford Public 15-yard line. On the next play, receiver Ryan Melillo ran a double-move and Sanzaro hit him in the right corner of the end zone to cut the deficit to 8-7 on the last play of the first quarter.
The momentum turning moment of the game occurred midway through the second quarter with Wethersfield facing a third and long from their own 43-yard line. Pressure forced Sanzaro to leave the pocket and he attempted to throw a deep pass down the right sideline, but he was hit as he released the ball and his counterpart, Jernigan, intercepted the fluttering pass. On the play, Sanzaro suffered an injury to his throwing shoulder and there was a collective gasp by the home faithful. Up to that point in the season Sanzaro was the undoubted leader of the Wethersfield high-powered offensive attack. Instead of panicking, the Eagles used the adversity to bond together and played inspired football for the remainder of the game.
On the play following Sanzaro’s injury, the Eagles’ defense forced and recovered a fumble at the Hartford Public 41-yard line. On the ensuing offensive play the Eagles ran a delayed draw and senior running back Zac Livingston raced 41 yards to give Wethersfield the lead for good, 13-8. After a three and out, Hartford Public again had a mishap on a punt snap near their own goal line and Wethersfield’s Luke Ocasio alertly recovered the loose ball in the end zone to extend the Eagles’ lead to 21-8 at the half.
Wethersfield’s special teams continued to excel into the third quarter when returner Giovanni Serrao returned the opening kickoff of the second half 34 yards to set up the Eagles’ offense at the Hartford Public 42-yard line. The big return led to a 9-yard scoring strike from backup quarterback Whitton DeVaux to Austin Pallone, and the rout was on.
DeVaux, who had the tough task of filling Sanzaro‘s shoes, played calm and collected the entire game and the offense didn’t miss a beat with him at the helm. He made several great throws during the second half, including a pair of touchdown tosses. His second touchdown pass was a beautiful 30-yard over-the-shoulder toss to Ocasio, who beat man-to-man coverage down the right sideline. “I play quarterback everyday in practice so I was confident when I had the chance to play,” DeVaux said when asked how he looked so comfortable filling in for the injured star. “I’ve played quarterback before, but Matt (Sanzaro) came in and did a great job for us this season, so I moved to wide receiver.” DeVaux’s confidence is a welcome sight to Wethersfield, who may be without the service of Sanzaro for the immediate future. After Friday night, DeVaux left no doubt that he can lead the Eagles’ up-tempo aerial assault for the weeks to come.
Credit for Wethersfield’s seamless transition at the quarterback position has to be given to the Eagles coaching staff, led by head coach John Campanello. The staff has all of their players well prepared for any situation that may arise during the game. Further evidence of this occurred late in the fourth quarter, with the team already holding a commanding lead, Campanello let sophomore third-string quarterback Devon Smith take over the reigns for the last six minutes of the blowout victory. Smith will now assume the back-up quarterback duties and the reps he received Friday night will help him prepare if he’s called upon in the coming weeks.
Wethersfield (3-3) will now travel to Enfield to face the winless Fermi Falcons in another Central Connecticut II East conference clash. The Eagles have soared past the Falcons the previous three seasons, winning all three contests and outscoring them by a combined 137-14. Despite the recent success, DeVaux stressed that the Eagles cannot take the Falcons lightly and said that it is important for the team to stay in rhythm. Kickoff for the conference collision will be Saturday at 11 a.m.
Football Around Town
Hedberg’s Arm Tames Bobcats
Jake Hedberg threw for a school record 459 yards and added six total touchdowns to help the Newington Indians crush the struggling South Windsor Bobcats 52-36 on Friday night. Receiver Andrew Grenier caught nine of Hedberg’s passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. Hedberg and Grenier are both juniors and are showing glimpses of how dangerous the Indians’ passing attack will be for the remainder of this season and into 2014.
Newington now welcomes the East Hartford Hornets this Friday night. The Indians stung the Hornets in their only meeting last season, 42-26. East Hartford (2-4) is lead by head coach Dan Lawrence, who is coaching his tenth season at East Hartford. He is currently the longest tenured head coach in the Central Connecticut I East conference. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Xavier Loses Heartbreaker in OT
The Xavier Falcons lost in dramatic fashion, 35-34, to the West Haven Blue Devils on Friday night at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven. Trailing 35-28, Xavier’s Joe Carbone scored on a quarterback keeper from one-yard out. Kicking an extra-point would have tied the score and sent the game into a second overtime, but Xavier coach Sean Marinan decided to go for the win and attempt a two-point conversion. Carbone ran another quarterback keeper and was stopped just short of the goal line on the conversion try. Both teams came in with identical 4-1 records and were both ranked in the top-ten in the Connecticut high school football rankings.
Next the Falcons return home to take on the Notre Dame Green Knights, who they annihilated 44-0 last season. Notre Dame (2-4) is coming off a 38-20 victory over Amity Regional, but their defense has struggled in their four losses this season, giving up an average of 40 points per game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Middletown Remains Unblemished
The Middletown Blue Dragon stomped their conference foe Bristol Central Rams 49-21 at Muzzy Field in Bristol Friday night. Middletown’s all-world quarterback Dario Highsmith ran for 346 yards and totaled six touchdowns to help keep the Blue Dragons undefeated. With the win, Middletown (6-0) should be able to crack the top-ten in this weeks Connecticut high school football rankings. They entered the weekend ranked 11th overall.
Middletown remains tied atop the Central Connecticut II West conference with the Farmington Indians, who knocked off previously undefeated and fellow conference rival Windsor (13-7) on Friday night to break a three-way tie atop the conference. The Blue Dragons will travel to Meriden this Friday night to take on the Maloney Spartans. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Terriers Whack Beavers
The Rocky Hill Terriers shook off last week loss to Platt by pasting the Weaver Beavers 49-12 on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Hartford. Rocky Hill’s Chris Young continued his sensational senior season, tallying 160 rushing yards and four touchdowns on only 13 carries. Quarterback/safety Andrew Jenkelunas added a touchdown toss and a pick-six (interception returned for a touchdown) in the Terriers’ victory.
Rocky Hill (5-1) will return home and welcome in the Plainville Blue Devils this Friday night. Plainville (2-3) is coming off a loss to Berlin and is looking to avenge their 42-7 loss to Rocky Hill last season. The Blue Devils are led by multi-talented quarterback Jeff Ziegenhagen, who possesses a rocket arm and is also fleet of foot. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Cromwell extends streak to four
The Cromwell Panthers soundly defeated the Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby Wildcats 27-13 on Saturday afternoon. Wildcats’ superstar running back Jarvis Miller totaled 159 yards and scored a touchdown, but the Cromwell defense held the rest of the Wildcats to a mere 114 total yards. After opening the season with a loss, the Panthers have reeled off four consecutive impressive victories to take over sole possession of first place in the Pequot - North conference.
This Saturday Cromwell will look to make it five in a row when they travel to The University of Science & Engineering in Hartford to face the Sports & Medicine Science Academy Tigers. Kickoff for the cat clash will be at 12 p.m.
The Rocky Hill Terriers traveled to Meriden undefeated and left Falcon Field with a humbling 47-14 loss at the hands of the Platt Panthers Friday night. The game was touted as a battle between uber-talented running backs Chris Young (Rocky Hill) and Tyzhan Leatherwood (Platt), but it turned into a game of big plays by the home Panthers and missed opportunities from the Terriers.
Leatherwood shook off two fumbles (one lost) on Platt’s opening possession and wound up rushing for a school record 352 yards and four touchdowns. The electrifying running back opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 12 yard touchdown run when Platt’s overpowering offensive line opened a massive hole for Leatherwood to run through. The opening score was set up by a 41 yard punt return by Olajuwon McLeod, who would later add another long punt return and two touchdown receptions to his explosive night. The first of McLeod’s touchdowns occurred with Platt holding a 6-0 lead and facing a fourth and nine from the Rocky Hill 30-yard line. The Panthers decided to forgo a long field goal and left their offense on the field. The result was a spectacular 30 yard touchdown toss from Platt’s quarterback Andrew McBride to the speedy McLeod in the corner of the end zone. The Panthers added an insurance score late in the first half when McBride lofted a beautiful touch pass to Creme Watford in the back of the end zone that gave Platt an insurmountable 20-0 edge at the break.
Rocky Hill settled down in the second half, but they were unable to sustain any momentum due to costly turnover and untimely penalties. The Terriers did have an opportunity to swing the momentum when Platt fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half. However, they were unable to capitalize off the great field position and turned it over on downs inside the Platt 10-yard line. Two plays later, Leatherwood ripped off a 93 yard touchdown on a perfectly executed draw play. Rocky Hill’s offense put together their best drive of the game on the ensuing possession, which ended with Young scoring his eleventh touchdown of the season when he outran several Platt defenders to the right corner of the goal line for a one-yard score. The scored narrow the margin to 26-8. However, any chance of a Terriers’ comeback was thwarted on Platt’s next offensive play when Leatherwood burst up the middle, on another draw play, and scampered 80 yards for his third score which put Platt up 33-8.
There was a lot that went wrong for Rocky Hill on Friday night, but one bright spot was Jamison O’Connell. The senior linebacker tallied several tackles, including a number of touchdown saving tackles, which kept the score from being more lopsided than it was. He is one of a number of Rocky Hill players who are looking to fill the void left by injured star Dave Sevigny, who was hurt last week in the victory over Bloomfield. Before the injury, Sevigny was second on the team in rushing yards and seventh in tackles.
The loss puts Rocky Hill (4-1) in a three-way tie, with Bloomfield and Northwest Catholic, in the Central Connecticut III West. However, the Terriers still have the tiebreaker advantage because they are the only team in the West without a conference loss. They will look to keep their perfect conference record intact this Saturday at Weaver High School in Hartford. The Weaver Beavers (1-4) have struggled this season and are coming off a 44-8 loss to Berlin. The Beavers are led by fourth year head coach Kevin Quinn who runs a pass-happy offense which features duel senior signal callers, Mark Jennings and Nick Meadows. Kickoff for the conference clash will be at 1:00 p.m.
Football Around Town
Xavier’s huge second quarter sinks Spartans
The Xavier Falcons improved to 4-1 with a 42-28 conference win over the Amity Regional Spartans Friday night. The Falcons scored a season-high 29 points in the second quarter to head into halftime with a comfortable lead and used a ball control offense in the second half to seal the victory. Senior quarterback Joe Carbone led the second quarter surge with a touchdown toss and two more rushing scores in the quarter. Andrew Meoli (32-121-3) cemented the game in the second half with his powerful running.
Xavier will next travel to West Haven to take on the 4-1 Blue Devils who are coming off a 28-14 victory over Notre Dame. West Haven deploys a tradition two-back offensive set with halfback Ervin Philips and fullback Marshont Little. Philips and Little are averaging a combined 200 rushing yards per game this season. Kickoff for the battle extravaganza will be at 7 p.m.
Middletown improves to 5-0
The Middletown Blue Dragons cruised to another easy victory by throttling the Hartford Public Owls 41-7 in front of a pack home crowd at Skubel Stadium Friday night. Middletown’s quarterback Dario Highsmith continued his amazing season with 338 total yards and five touchdowns on only 17 touches.
The Blue Dragons will look to stay undefeated when they travel to play the Bristol Central Rams on Friday night in a Central Connecticut II West showdown. The Rams are coming off a 12-7 victory over the Bulkeley Bulldogs to improve their record to 2-2, but struggled mightily in their only conference game this season when Windsor blanked them, 47-0.
Newington Continues to Slide
The Newington Indians suffered their fourth straight loss by getting shutout by the Glastonbury Tomahawks, 33-0. Glastonbury scored all of their 33 points in the first half and used a suffocating defense to complete the shutout.
Newington (1-4) will look to snap their losing streak when they face the winless South Windsor Bobcats on Friday. South Windsor has been outscored by an average of 21 points per game over the first five weeks. The winner of the game will avoid the cellar in the Central Connecticut I East. Kickoff will be at 6:30 p.m. in Newington.
Sanzaro Leads High-Flying Eagles
Junior Matt Sanzaro continued his fantastic season throwing for 260 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wethersfield Eagles to a 53-8 victory over the Maloney Spartans. Sanzaro completed passes to seven different Eagles receivers and now has fourteen touchdowns compared to only two interceptions this season.
The Eagles (2-3) will look to build on the momentum when they welcome the Hartford Public Owls to Wethersfield Friday night for a Central Connecticut East II conference battle. The Owls excel defensively against the pass and Wethersfield runs a pass heavy offense so the game should feature a great battle of strengths. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Cromwell Looking to Win Fourth Straight
The Cromwell Panthers did not play this past weekend and should be well rested when they welcome the Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby Wildcats this Saturday. The winner will take over sole possession of first place in the highly competitive Pequot – North conference. Cromwell (3-1) has won an impressive three straight conference games after a disappointing opening week loss. The Panthers will have their hands full with the Wildcats’ duel-threat Jarvis Miller, who leads the team in both rushing and receiving. Kickoff will be at 1:35 p.m.
Rocky Hill quarterback Andrew Jenkelunas quietly took a backseat to the team’s remarkable run-game and dominant defense during the Terriers 3-0 start. However, Friday night was a different story, as the senior signal-caller played a flawless game and made several memorable plays in Rocky Hill’s 38-14 victory over the Bloomfield Warhawks. The win improves the Terriers to 4-0 and gives them sole possession of first place in the Central Connecticut III West.
Jenkelunas, also Rocky Hill’s free safety on defense, not only played his usual smart and savvy game at the helm, but also added an incredible sequence of plays late in the second quarter. With time running out in the first half and Rocky Hill clinging to a 14-7 lead, Bloomfield running back Travis Thompson broke free from the Rocky Hill front-seven and looked on his way to a game-tying touchdown until Jenkelunas took a perfect angle from the secondary and tackled Thompson at the Rocky Hill 14-yard line. Two plays later, Jenkelunas intercepted a tipped pass with only 38 seconds left in the half. The two stellar defensive plays were enough for the home team to head into halftime the lead, but Jenkelunas wasn’t done. Rather than be content with a seven-point advantage at the half, Rocky Hill decided to run a hurry-up offense in an attempt to put more points on the scoreboard. Jenkelunas proceeded to dive the Terriers to the Bloomfield 37 yard-line and called the team’s final timeout with one-second to play. The Terriers, who usually deploy a run-oriented offense, spread out their offensive personnel for the half’s final play. Jenkelunas took the snap, avoided pressure from the Bloomfield defensive line, and launched a pass towards the goal post. The perfectly spiraling pass hit receiver Tommy Seaver right in his stride as he crossed the goal line, and the hometown faithful erupted in celebration.
“I told Tommy to run towards the cameraman,” Jenkelunas said, referring to the cameraman who films all of Rocky Hill’s home games from the North end zone. “After that play, the whole team was pumped and we knew we had the momentum heading into the second half.”
Jenkelunas and Seaver are two of Rocky Hill’s team captains and have a noticeable rapport on the field. Jenkelunas credits his bond with Seaver from the two having played football together since the second grade. The decade of familiarity and hard work is paying big dividends through the first four weeks and have the Terriers primed for a run at a state title.
Dave Sevigny opened the scoring for the Terriers late in the first quarter with a 3-yard scoring plunge putting Rocky Hill up 7-0. The Warhawks countered when quarterback Norvel Stewart ran a quarterback keeper and dashed into the end zone from 11 yards out to tie the game. Rocky Hill’s Chris Young (17-164) scored his team-leading tenth touchdown on the ensuing possession to put the Terriers up for good, 14-7. This is when Jenkelunas began to work his magic, and he would later add a touchdown run to his impressive resume, in the third quarter.
The Terrier’s 4-0 start has the town of Rocky Hill talking and one player that is getting a lot of attention is Greg Marzilli. Marzilli is one of three running backs in Rocky Hill’s backfield rotation and is also a solid all-around linebacker on defense. However, the skill that has the town buzzing is his ability to kick. He is perfect this season on field goal attempts and consistently puts kickoffs into the end zone (which is an automatic touchback in high school football). Marzilli, who one local fan referred to as “Greg the Leg”, finished off the Terrier’s scoring Friday night with 24-yard field goal that perfectly split the uprights and would have been good from 45 yards out.
Bloomfield (3-1) came into the contest tied with Rocky Hill atop the Central Connecticut III West and looked to be a formidable opponent for the first 22 minutes. Stewart, who has already committed to playing collegiately next season for the University of Massachusetts, used his rocket right arm and elusive running skills to keep the Rocky Hill defense on their heels early in the contest. However, the Terrier’s defense settled down and ended up intercepting two of Stewart’s passes. The defense also did an excellent job spying him with two defenders during the second half and kept him contained to the pocket.
It doesn’t get any easier for Rocky Hill, as they travel to Meriden and play the undefeated Platt Panthers this Friday night in what Jenkelunas described as “another huge game.” Platt comes off a 41-7 dismantling of Tolland and has defeated their opponents by an average of 27 points per game. The Panthers are carried by junior sensation Tyzahn Leatherwood, who is averaging an astonishing 200 rushing yards and three touchdowns through the first four games. Kickoff for the game is 6:30 p.m. at Platt High School.
Football Around Town
Newington Loses in Dramatic Fashion
The Newington Indians suffered a heartbreaking 14-9 loss to the Manchester Indians at Memorial Field Friday night. Newington (1-3) had a 9-6 lead late in the fourth quarter with Manchester backed up to their own 1-yard line. Manchester’s quarterback Junior Vasquez proceeded to drive the home team 99 yards, which he capped off with a 1-yard quarterback sneak with only two seconds left to play. The loss is Newington’s third straight after a promising opening week victory.
Newington will have a chance to rebound this week when they visit, Central Connecticut I East rival, Glastonbury. Glastonbury (3-1) is led by head coach Scott Daniels, who is coaching one of the state’s stingiest defenses and most explosive special teams units. Kickoff will be Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Glastonbury High School.
Wethersfield has Comeback Fall Short
The Wethersfield Eagles scored the games final 16 points, but lost to the Farmington Indians, 32-28. Wethersfield’s near miraculous comeback was led by quarterback Matt Sanzaro who completed 30 of 51 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns. However, despite Sanzaro’s valiant effort, the Wethersfield run defense couldn’t contain the fierce Farmington ground game. The Indian’s talented tandem of Ivan Guadalupe and Kenny Jones combined for an astonishing 302 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
The loss drops Wethersfield to 1-3, but they remain only one game out of the lead in the Central Connecticut II East. They have a chance to get back on track at home this Friday against the Maloney Spartans (1-2). Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Middletown Football Looks Unstoppable
The Middletown Blue Dragons went to Enfield and demolished the Fermi Falcons 43-8 on Friday night. Middletown’s Dario Highsmith scored three first quarter touchdowns and the Blue Dragons defense harassed the Fermi offense from start to finish. At the half, Middletown led 43-0 and played their reserves for a majority of the second half.
With the win, Middletown (4-0) joins fellow undefeated schools Farmington and Windsor atop the Central Connecticut II West. The Blue Dragons have a chance to remain unblemished, as they welcome Hartford Public to Middletown High School this Friday night. Hartford Public (2-2) is led by linebacker Atreyu Gordon, who has tallied an impressive 35 solo tackles this season. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Xavier Steamrolls Hillhouse
The Xavier Falcons made a statement this past Friday night when they easily defeated Hillhouse, 42-14. Xavier’s defense intercepted two passes, recovered two fumbles, and blocked a Hillhouse punt in the victory. Falcons’ Andrew Meoli continued to prove that he is one of the state’s best running backs with another phenomenal performance, rushing for 180 yards and three touchdowns.
Xavier (3-1) now welcomes division rival Amity Regional (3-1) to Xavier High School this Friday. Both teams are trying to keep pace with the Southern Connecticut Division I (West) leading Shelton Gaels who are a perfect 4-0 this season. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin