By BRIAN JENNINGS
It was still a scoreless game in the beginning of the second half and the stadium was getting restless. Southington received a Cheshire punt on their own 38-yard line with just over two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
After a loss of one yard on first down, Allen decided to take matters into her own hands. She took the snap and raced through a hole created by Southington’s offensive line. Allen hit the gap with a fierce velocity, shaking one tackler to left, then back over to the right.
Two Cheshire tacklers closed in on Allen at midfield, but she never hesitated. She stiff-armed one to the ground…and she was gone.
“I was feeling really good about that,” said Allen. “I completely owe it to my O-line. They blocked and opened up a perfect gap for me to run through. As soon as I saw it, I said, ‘This is a touchdown.’”
Allen’s 63-yard scoring dash came with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter and was the only touchdown scored by the Lady Knights Powder Puff football team in their 10-0 shutout over Cheshire at home on Tuesday night, Nov. 24.
“Having a player like Kelsea Allen on your team, being able to utilize her, does make a big difference,” said Southington coach Charles Kemp. “Last night’s game was physical and kind of confusing with a lot of things that went on with the calls and everything else. Today in the building as a teacher, the girls were dejected about what happened, but they had a positive attitude and really wanted to win it. They finally broke through, and we were telling them today, ‘Let’s get one in and see what happens from there.’”
Emily Maciejewski added to the Allen touchdown, kicking the extra point and a 27-yard field goal with about two and a half minutes left in the game.
“You have to give it up for my place kicker because that was awesome. She didn’t even have a chance to practice a point after attempt last night,” said Kemp. “ [Allen] just looked her in the eyes and said, ‘You got it.’ And she nailed it…You have to love stuff like that. It’s so much fun.”
Allen finished the game with 13 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown and said that playing volleyball for the Lady Knights helped her.
“I play volleyball, so I’m used to being in a lot of high-stress situations like that,” said Allen. “I was really prepared for it. When I’m feeling really confident in myself, I know that I can do good things in high-pressure situations.”
Sofia Ricciardi quarterbacked Southington the night before in New Britain, but she sustained an injury in that game. That opened a spot for Allen, and she made the most of the opportunity.
“We saw [Ricciardi] limping off the field all last night and off the buses,” said Kemp. “Having Kelsea in there was kind of a no-brainer because you have fresh legs and someone that’s very fast and knowledgeable. We did change things up, realizing that we had another weapon in the backfield that was fresh and ready to go.”
Southington’s defense grabbed 23 flags, with Jessica Gagnon leading the way four tackles, followed by Samantha Jones with three.
“Tonight, we definitely knuckled down on defense,” said Kemp. “We wanted to make sure that what happened last night didn’t happen again.”
Kemp said that Powder Puff football game against Cheshire is the table setter for the Blue Knights Thanksgiving game against Cheshire.
“The New Britain game that has been around for a while has always been a grudge match game,” said Kemp. “Once we got the Cheshire game back, they realized that it starts spirit week and gets everyone fired up. Come Thursday, I bet you they’ll all be down there with their jerseys on at the men’s game, watching them and cheering them on.”
Kemp said that the money raised by the opening gate and fundraisers that the students do goes towards supplies for the high school.
“We’ve donated about $20,000 over the last five years to the building for improvements, buying smart boards and technology for the classrooms,” said Kemp. “That makes me feel good, as someone who works for the community and in the building, that the money is being used to take care of things like that.”
The win over Cheshire was Brian Stranieri’s and Greg Ferry’s first Powder Puff victory as the new principal and athletic director of the high school.
Since Stranieri had became an administrator in 2003, has been on the sideline for every Lady Knights Powder Puff football game.
“I was happy that we were able to get a win for him because he deserves it so much,” said Kemp.
The Lady Knights traveled to Veteran’s Stadium on Monday night, Nov. 23 for their first contest against New Britain, where they fell short, 30-0.
New Britain’s Joanna Tobiasz rushed for 145 yards and caught the only pass in either game for a 40-yard touchdown score. Olga Koszykowska converted three of four extra points and added a 34 yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Ricciardi paced the Lady Knights offense with 10 carries for 53 yards.
New Britain leads the series, 52. Southington leads Cheshire, 11-6-1. The Knights are 13-11-1 overall in powder puff games.
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