By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knight football team allowed their first offensive touchdown of the season this past week at Manchester, but that didn’t seem to matter one bit. The Knights ousted the Indians, 48-6, on Friday, Sept. 30 in the rain. Southington’s stingy defense held Manchester’s offense to 173 yards of total offense, giving up just 36 yards passing.
Southington held a 34-0 advantage heading into halftime. Manchester’s lone score of the game came on a 66-yard run with 10:30 to go in the fourth quarter.
“We were trying to take some things away from them in the passing game,” said Southington coach Mike Drury. “We have kind of a light box defensively, so if you get a seam and someone misses their gap, sometimes you’re vulnerable there. They have some guys who can make a big play.”
Sean Scanlon (3 assists, 2 sacks), Vance Upham (3 assists), Joe Koczera (4 assists), Ryan Montalvo (5 assists, 1.5 sacks), and Matt Meade (5 assists, 1 sack) anchored the defense with eight tackles apiece. Scanlon and Upham each recovered a fumble. Koczera, Brandon Slade, Sammy Thomson, and Matt Gunderson (2) batted down passes.
“Our secondary did a great job in the back end, taking some of the easy throws away and making some of the throws tough,” the coach said. “We got pressure on the quarterback and made him uncomfortable. He’s (Edison Galan) a great quarterback with a great arm and athletic ability. We did as good of a job as we could against him, making sure he didn’t hurt us with big-time play capability.”
Upham paced the Knights with 168 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. Upham also caught a touchdown pass for 21 yards.
“They were big up front,” said Upham. “They had fast linebackers and defensive backs, but we came out and bullied them up front. Whoever gets the ball, we try to do what we can do with it, and I try to score every time I get the ball.”
Montalvo also ran over the century mark with 107 yards on seven carries. Brandon Kohl (7-for-54) and Anthony Plantamuro (2-for-19) each contributed with a rushing touchdown as well.
The defense has been a huge part of Southington’s success thus far, only allowing 13 points in four games, but Drury said that a lot of credit has to be owed to the backfield and offensive line as well.
“Our running backs are great,” said Drury. “You have some homerun hitters back there who have great vision and physicality. They have the ability to make the big play, along with an offensive line that is doing an awesome job. Guys are giving them the holes and blocking for them. Receivers are blocking third level downfield, and that’s important on big runs.”
Will Barmore completed 11 of 20 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, including an interception. Plantamuro led all receivers with three receptions for 36 yards.
Southington is currently 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the CCC Division I West. The Knights will look to stay undefeated on Friday, Oct. 7 when they host undefeated Hall (4-0) in their second home game of the season.
“Hall’s always a very well-coached team,” the coach said. “They have a great scheme in what they do offensively and defensively. They play hard and good defense, and always do well up front on the offensive line. And they always seem to find a good quarterback who can sling it all around. I definitely think that they’ll be geared up and ready to go.”