Rocky Hill Rocks Rockville
The Rocky Hill Terries started the season with a goal of hosting a playoff game in early December. Friday night the Terriers took one step closer to achieving that goal by trouncing the Rockville Rams 48-6 in Vernon. A winless Rockville team was celebrating their Senior Night in front of a standing room only crowd and was hoping to pull off a shocking upset over the playoff bound Terriers, but Rocky Hill scored early and often en route their fifth straight victory.
Connecticut Play of the Year candidate Chris Young carried the ball only twice, but he turned both attempts into dazzling touchdown runs. The scintillating senior running back improved his staggering touchdown per attempt ratio to five, meaning that Young scores a touchdown every five times he touches the ball this season. To put Young’s accomplishment into perspective, if National Football League superstar Arian Foster scored every five times he carried the ball, he would have ran for 70 touchdowns and completed shattered the record books last season. In other words, if there were such a thing as high school fantasy football, Young would be the consensus first overall selection.
Young put the Terriers up 7-0 when he bounced a run towards the right sideline and weaved in and out of several Rams before carrying two Rockville defenders on his back as he dove across the goal line. The spectacular run covered 35 yards and brought the visiting crowd to their feet. On his next carry, Young burst through the heart of the Rockville defense and outraced their secondary for a 24-yard touchdown jaunt. The two touchdowns increased his total to 28 for the year, which breaks his own school record of 27, which he set last season.
“Coach and I discussed it before the game,” Young said, “I knew I was done for the night once I broke the record.”
With Young resting on the sideline, the Terriers closed the first quarter in style when quarterback Andrew Jenkelunas used a masterful ball fake to deceive the Rockville defense before throwing a strike to receiver Tommy Seaver on an out route. Seaver overpowered two Rockville defenders on his way to the end zone before stretching the ball towards the goal line and hitting the pylon, giving Rocky Hill a commanding 21-0 lead after the first twelve minutes.
The Terriers defense hounded Rockville’s run-oriented offense for the entire first half, holding them to a mere four first downs. However, Rocky Hill did have a tough time tackling Rams’ bruising fullback AJ Spencer, who provided the Rams only score of the night in the second quarter. Facing a 4th and 11, Rockville quarterback Chris Perez took a shotgun snap and drifted to his left before spinning around a throwing a screen pass to Spencer who had nothing but green grass in front of him. The throwback screen pass worked to perfection and resulted in a 42-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 28-6.
Spencer’s touchdown seemed to give the Rams some energy and the home team was hoping to carry that momentum into the second half. However, as he has done all season, Jenkelunas engineered another epic last minute drive. With 39 second left in the half the senior signal caller delivered a picturesque spiral down the right sideline to halfback Grant Nieves, but Nieves dropped the pass in the end zone. Undeterred, Rocky Hill ran the exact same wheel route for Nieves on the following play and this time the talented junior running back hauled in the touchdown pass with only 33 seconds remaining in the half. The momentum swinging score silenced the hometown faithful and increased Rocky Hill’s lead to 42-6 at the half.
Rocky Hill coach David Coyne rested most of his starters for the remaining two quarters, giving playing time to his younger players. One player who shined when giving the opportunity was sophomore Jason Carducci, who made several tackles and delivered big hits from his safety position. He made a highlight reel play in the fourth quarter when Rockville speedster Tom Bartol broke free from the Terriers front-seven and raced towards the end zone. Carducci, who came from the opposite side of the field, amazingly chased down Bartol 60 yards downfield and tackled him short of the goal line. Rockville was called for holding, so the play did not count, but it showed the Rocky Hill coaching staff that Carducci can be the leader of their defense once this season’s talented group of seniors graduates.
One of those seniors is Greg Marzilli, who scored Rocky Hill’s lone touchdown of the second half when he broke several arm tackles before striking pay dirt from 38 yards out. Marzilli continues to astonish fans with his powerful kicking leg and completed the triple crown of football in the first half when he scored a three-yard touchdown, nailed the extra-point, and booted the ensuing kickoff into the end zone for a touchback.
The Terriers (9-1) will have a bye next week and then travel to West Hartford to take on the Northwest Catholic Indians (7-3) in a pivotal conference showdown on Thanksgiving.
“It’s going to be tough. We have some time off, so we’ll have to stay focused in order to get a home playoff game.” Young said, “We’re going to be tested by Northwest Catholic, but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
A win would assure that Rocky Hill will host a playoff game, but the Indians will be looking to spoil the Terriers’ preseason goal. The Terriers have beaten the Indians the past two seasons, but both game have been decided by seven points of less. Get your turkeys in the oven early, because kickoff for the conference clash will be Thanksgiving morning at 10 a.m.
Wethersfield Outlasts East Hartford
The Wethersfield Eagles won their sixth straight game by upending the East Hartford Hornets 35-30. The win keeps the Eagles slim playoff hopes alive and if they do make the postseason, they would enter with the third longest winning streak among Class L teams.
The Eagles get a much deserved week off and then have a chance to end the regular season with seven consecutive wins when they battle the Newington Indians on Thanksgiving-Eve. The rivalry game will be played under the lights at Central Connecticut State University and will feature two of the state’s most potent passing attacks. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Newington Wins Border Battle
The Newington Indians celebrated their Senior Night in style and earned bragging rights by defeating the New Britain Hurricanes 21-6 in front of a rowdy crowd at Alumni Field. Indian’s quarterback Jake Hedberg continued his sensational season, finishing with 258 yards and three touchdowns. 237 of those yards and all three of Hedberg’s touchdowns went to the receiving duo of Andrew Grenier and Kyle Armour. Hedberg, Grenier, and Armour are juniors and are showing how dangerous the Newington aerial attack will be next season.
Newington is idle this week and then faces the Wethersfield Eagles on Thanksgiving-Eve under the lights at Central Connecticut State University. The rivalry game features two of the best passing offenses in the state. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
Cromwell’s Struggles Continue
One month ago the Cromwell Panthers were in the midst of a four game winning streak. Now they are on the opposite side of the equation after losing their fourth consecutive game. The latest loss was a 44-14 defeat at the hands of the Avon Falcons on Saturday. Cromwell had a trouble stopping Avon’s versatile halfback Jimmy Miller, who amassed 160 rushing yards on just eight carries. Miller also scored three times on the ground and added another receiving.
The Panthers now travel to North Branford to take on the Thunderbirds on Friday. North Branford has played solid all season and are led by duel-threat quarterback Eddie Miller and fullback Josh Melaccio. The Thunderbirds have won the last two meetings verse the Panthers, scoring over 40 points in each contest. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m. at North Branford High School.
Middletown Downs Simsbury
The Middletown Blue Dragons rebounded from last week’s shocking loss and beat the Simsbury Trojans 31-13. The Blue Dragons controlled the line of scrimmage from the first whistle and racked up 208 rushing yard in the victory. The win improves the Blue Dragons to 9-1 and one more victory would assure them a spot in the Class L postseason.
Middletown will rest this week and then face conference foe Windsor the night before Thanksgiving. Windsor has easily defeated Middletown in their past three meetings, outscoring them by a combined 80 points in the three wins. However, this season the two teams have gone in different directions, with Middletown on a cusp on the playoffs and Windsor losing three of their last four games. Kickoff is 6:30 at Windsor High School.
Xavier Drops Crucial Game at Fairfield
The Xavier Falcons playoff chances hit a snag Friday night when they lost to the Fairfield Prep Jesuits 46-27. Xavier had won the Southern Connecticut I West the past six seasons, but the loss to Fairfield gives the Jesuits the conference crown. The loss most likely eliminates the Falcons from playoff contention, but there are several scenarios in which they can still back their way into the postseason.
The loss to the Jesuits is the final regular season game for Xavier, but they will play an organized scrimmage against St. Paul Catholic. The scrimmage will be played in Bristol on Thanksgiving-Eve at 6:30. Xavier finished the regular season with a perfect home record (5-0), but they struggled outside the friendly confines of Palmer Field, losing three of five games.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin