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.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin