By BRIAN JENNINGS
Jasen Rose snapped the ball. He looked downfield, but nothing was available. His receivers were covered. The defense was closing in, so he rolled out of the pocket and took off down the sidelines. Rose sidestepped one defender, stiff-armed another in the red zone, and ran untouched the rest of the way for a 48-yard score.
The touchdown with 1:47 remaining was the exclamation point in Southington’s 61-41 victory over Glastonbury (3-1).
On Friday night, Oct. 2, in the steady, light rain, the Knights handed Glastonbury their first loss of the season. It didn’t come easily.
Both teams traded leads throughout the first half, with defense not being a factor. By halftime, Glastonbury led the Knights 31-27 and Southington coach Mike Drury said that he made it very clear to his team what changes needed to be made in the second half in order for them to come out with a win.
“We had them in some long third down situations,” said Drury. “When we’re at the point of attack, we just have to communicate better on defense and make our adjustments quicker. Coach Thompson, our defensive coordinator, simplified things for the guys a little bit at halftime. It allowed them to get out there and play fast, and that’s what they did.”
Drury said that his players showed a lot of emotion in the locker room, determined to get back on the field and turn the game around.
“We have some great leaders,” said Drury. “I heard the guys saying, ‘Hey, this is the type of game we wanted.’ They weren’t with their heads down. They were fired up, ready to get back out there. They were attentive to our adjustments, offensively, defensively, and for special teams. We told them on Thursday that this was adversity and that it may happen.”
Having trouble stopping Glastonbury’s offense for the whole first half, the Knight’s defense found the answers they were looking for in the second half. Glastonbury’s offense continued to put up numbers on the scoreboard in the third quarter, but it didn’t last.
After receiving the kickoff to start the second half, Glastonbury was held to a 26-yard field goal, extending their lead to 34-27. Rose marched the Knights right back down field to respond with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Plantamuro, tying the game at 34-34. Glastonbury’s quarterback, Keyion Dixon answered back with a score of his own when he ran 23-yard bootleg in for touchdown to give Glastonbury the lead back, 41-34, before the end of the third quarter. However, that would be the last time the Knights’ defense heard from the Glastonbury offense.
The Knights would not allow the Glastonbury offense to score for the rest of the game, forcing them to punt on three consecutive possessions. The Knights would score on all of their fourth quarter offensive possessions, including a three-yard run from Vance Upham, a six-yard from Rose, and a 24-yard run by Alessio Diana.
Rose completed seven of 15 passes for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Rose also rushed for 99 yards and three touchdowns on 21 attempts. Upham rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries, while Diana rushed for 172 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Austin Morin caught two passes for 65 yards, which both went for touchdowns.
Ryan Montalvo led the defense with 16 total tackles and a sack. Matt Gundersen finished with eight total tackles and five assists.
The Knights still remain atop the Division I-West and will look to continue their perfect season when they travel to Hall (3-1) on Friday, Oct. 9.
“We’re going to start focusing on Hall tomorrow,” said Drury. “We’ll enjoy this one, but we have to break it down and see what they got. We’ve already seen them a little bit on film. That’s our total focus right now.”
Photos by John Goralski
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