By BRIAN JENNINGS
Another Friday night, another defensive stronghold, another shutout.
Last year’s contest at Glastonbury resulted in a 61-41 win in the pouring rain, as Southington was able to pull away in second half after being down at halftime. But this year’s hyped-up game wasn’t even close.
Although their first offensive points of the game didn’t come until 2:17 to go in the second quarter, heading into halftime with a 7-0 advantage, the Blue Knight football team made it look easy again as they recorded their second shutout of the season with a 35-0 trouncing of Glastonbury in their home opener on Friday, Sept. 23. But the Tomahawks still made the Knights work for the win, as it was the first game the Knights kept their varsity starters out on the field for all four quarters this season.
“We knew that they were going to stay heavy in the box and play a little man coverage on the outside,” said Southington coach Mike Drury. “They play tough. They made some big plays on third down, and we didn’t convert on third down when we needed to. We had a turnover deep in our own territory, but our defense did a great job of stopping them there, allowing us to get the ball back.”
Southington’s defense held Glastonbury to 183 yards of total offense, 108 yards passing and 75 yards rushing. JC Vecchio anchored the defense with 10 tackles, including six assists. Vance Upham and Ryan Montalvo each finished with seven tackles, and Robert Bunting and Joe Koczera both contributed with six tackles. Koczera also recovered a fumble and batted down a pass. Sam Thompson (5 tackles) intercepted and batted down a pass. Brandon Slade (3 tackles) forced a fumble.
“We tackled well,” said Drury. “We made great tackles in the open field and forced them into some long-down-and-distance situations. They got a few of those, but they also didn’t get some of them. It’s important to keep a team living on third-and-long. It’s hard to get a lot first downs doing that.”
Brandon Kohl powered the Knights on the ground with 124 yards and a pair of scores on nine carries. Ryan Montalvo complemented Kohl with a two rushing touchdowns of his own for 120 yards on 13 carries. Upham also reached the century mark with 107 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
“Our running backs all bring a little something different,” said Drury. “They all bring a different physicality, but what they all have is great vision and the ability to get to the second level and excel. They’re tough runners. It’s tough to bring any of those guys down with one guy. That’s a gift.”
Will Barmore completed 10 of 19 passes for 91 yards, throwing one interception. Tim O’Shea led the Southington’s receiving corps with 30 yards on one reception.
“Our offensive line did a great job and really settled in to some of the looks that they were giving,” said Drury. “We were getting great push in the interior. Our backs were running well and protecting the football, making some great cuts and guys miss in the open field.”
The Knights have now scored a total of 144 points and held opponents to just seven points in three games. Southington is currently 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the CCC Division I West. Looking at rankings, the Knights are eighth out of 35 teams in the Class LL polls and tied for first out five teams in the CCC Division I West.
The Knights will look to extend their winning streak and remain undefeated this Friday, Sept. 30 when they travel to Manchester (2-1).
“I know Manchester has some quality players back,” said Drury. “They have a dynamic quarterback who can really fly and hurt you down the field. They have some really good receivers back from last year who have had some big games so far. We just have to make sure that we don’t give up the big play.”