By John Goralski
Matt Steeves lurched forward into a mob of maroon jerseys, and Jasen Rose stood calmly behind him surveying the field. The Southington quarterback seemed to have all the time in the world as Steeves and his lineman drove back the New Britain blitz.
Steeves wasn’t alone. The center was flanked by guards Tyler Chasse and Dylan Kulas. Right beside them stood Trevor Godston and Noah McDonald.
Southington’s receivers have been eating up the secondary this fall. The running backs have been running through gaps as wide as a river, and Rose has had all the time in the world.
It all starts at the line.
“It really starts with the O-line, and they really held their duty,” said Rose. “Everyone stepped up to the plate. The receivers blocked, and that makes it a whole lot easier… They all stepped up, and everybody made their blocks.”
On Friday, Oct. 10, Rose used it to his advantage as he orchestrated a three dimensional attack that seemed to roll downhill. Southington rushed for 112 yards on the ground and 372 yards in the air as Rose distributing passes to seven different receivers on every corner of the field.
The junior quarterback completed 30 of his 36 passes (83.3 percent) for 360 yards and six touchdowns. Four different receivers caught touchdowns in the rout as the Rose took advantage of the extra time in the pocket.
“I have to give props to Jasen Rose,” said senior receiver Matt Maxwell. “He’s always putting the ball where it needs to be. The o-line holds off the defense, and with time Jay can always get it where it needs to be.”
With so much time, Southington’s offense quickly found their rhythm. The Knights crossed midfield on the first drive and set up camp. Austin Morin (8 catches, 144 yards) opened the scoring with his first of two touchdown catches. Rose scrambled for an 11-yard score to give his team a 14-0 advantage at the first break. Alex Jamele(41 yards) scored in the second quarter. Kyle Borawski (59 yards) scored twice before the half, and the Knights continued to roll after the break.
Maxwell (99 yards) scored from 37 yards out on the first offensive drive of the second half. Alessio Diana (16 rushes, 87 yards) scored from 15 yards out, and Morin’s fourth-quarter catch capped a 54-point Southington assault.
The Knights led, 34-7, at the half. They cruised to a 54-20 win. Southington finished with only six plays for negative yardage as Southington’s linemen owned the line of scrimmage against an athletic New Britain defense.
“I think we have great team speed, and our kids have worked really hard,” said Blue Knight coach Mike Drury. “We matched them. They had really good speed, but we were right there with them.”
Defensively, it was the same story. Maxwell stopped New Britain’s first drive with an interception at midfield. Steve Hamel stopped another drive with an interception early in the second quarter. Drew Barmore caught another interception late in the game as New Britain scrambled to avoid Southington’s front line blitz.
Matt Thomson finished with eight tackles. Zach Spooner scrambled for seven, and Logan LaRosa finished with six. Eighteen different players combined for tackles on the night as the line penetrated almost every play.
“I have to give props to the defensive line. It starts there because they’re always putting pressure on the quarterback,” said Maxwell. “We swarm to the ball with a bunch of guys. We’re trying to get 11 heads on the ball every time, and the ball just comes out. That’s what happens.”
New Britain didn’t make it easy. They capitalized on Southington penalties to break the shutout in the second quarter. They exploded from the break with a 90-yard kickoff return for a score. Mistakes and miscues were the only blemish on Southington’s dominant night, and it didn’t escape Drury’s notice.
“Those are things that don’t just lose yards. They lose games,” said the coach. “Those are things that we have to clean up. We’re better than that. Luckily, those [mistakes] are all correctable things. We’re going to correct those.”
Now, the Knights (4-0) return home for their first varsity contest since opening day. Hall (4-0) is coming off of a 49-41 win over East Hartford, and Southington will try to avenge their only loss from last season on Friday. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“Hall’s done some really good things this year, and we’ve always had some pretty exciting and intense games with them. This year, I expect the same thing,” said Drury. “We’re back home. We had that three game stretch away, so it’s going to be good to get back to Fontana Field on Friday.”
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By John Goralski