Knights pass first test with flying colors: Southington wins easily in a battle of unbeatens

Note: This page was missing from the Oct. 14 edition

Southington defensive back Tyson Harris returns a first half interception during a 43-14 win over Hall on Oct. 7. The Knights are off this Friday but will face Conard on Oct. 21.

Southington defensive back Tyson Harris returns a first half interception during a 43-14 win over Hall on Oct. 7. The Knights are off this Friday but will face Conard on Oct. 21.

By BRIAN JENNINGS

STAFF WRITER

The Blue Knight defense allowed the most points from an opposing offense this year. There was no running clock in the second half for the first time this season. On paper, the Friday, Oct. 7 clash of undefeated teams was the biggest test of the season for the Knights.

In reality, it wasn’t even close. Southington rattled off 20 straight points to start the game and cruised to a 43-14 win over Hall.

Southington’s first score of the game came with two minutes remaining in the first quarter, and that sparked the Blue Knight attack. Anthony Plantamuro caught a 21-yard pass from Will Barmore to open the scoring, and Plantamuro struck again on a 1-yard rushing touchdown midway through the second quarter.

“Anthony’s been a three-year starter for us,” said Southington coach Mike Drury. “He’s a dynamic playmaker and a tough kid. He’s a captain for us and a big leader on this team. We’re asking him to do a lot things, offensively, defensively, and special teams-wise, and he was stepped up.”

Vance Upham extended the lead to 20-0 on a 10-yard touchdown run, and with just over a minute to go in the opening half, the Warriors finally got on the board with a five-yard touchdown pass.

Plantamuro returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but the runback was negated by a penalty with seconds showing on the clock, and Southington headed into halftime with a 20-7 advantage.

“Part of what Hall does is to throw a lot of defensive fronts at you,” the coach said. “We practiced against everything this week, but it’s about getting in the game, getting your bearings, seeing what they’re trying to do, and attacking it. We moved the ball, but just have to capitalize in certain situations.”

Southington’s defense held Hall to just 35 yards rushing and pestered their quarterback for most of the night, batting down eight of his passes.

Joe Koczera led the blitz with 11 tackles (7 assists). Upham (10 tackles, 5 assists), Brandon Slade (8 tackles, 6 assists), Robert Bunting (7 tackles, 3 assists), and Sean Scanlon (7 tackles, 5 assist) contributed as well.

Tyson Harris, JC Vecchio, and Richard Rivera (2 batted passes) each intercepted a pass. Slade and Matt Meade forced fumbles.

“The defense was opportunistic,” said Drury. “We did a great job of making plays and getting hands on footballs. Guys had an awareness of where the football was. That’s huge, and they’ve been doing that all season. We just have to keep rolling on that.”

Upham paced the Southington’s offense with 171 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Upham also caught four passes for 74 yards.

Brandon Kohl (3 carries for 59 yards) and Plantamuro (6 carries for 40 yards) complemented Upham, each with a rushing score.

Barmore completed 16 of 28 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Plantamuro (4 catches for 50 yards) and Jack Herms (4 catches for 21 yards) each reeled in a touchdown through the air from Barmore.

Southington is currently 5-0 overall and is first in the CCC Division I West (2-0). The Knights are currently ranked second out of 35 teams in Class LL.

The Knights will have the upcoming week off, but Drury said that the time off will not be a bad thing for the team.

“Everyone’s in the same boat and has the bye week,” said Drury. “We’ve always liked the bye week in terms of getting our guys back. We’re going to really focus on some techniques stuff early on, cleaning up a lot of things and evaluating the first part of the season as a staff.”

The Knights will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 21 when they host Conard (3-2) at home. The Chieftains are coming off a 33-31 loss to Manchester, and will have this Friday off to help prepare for the Knights.

“Coach (Matthew) Cersosimo is doing a great job over there,” the coach said. “They returned their quarterback and have a great scheme, offensively and defensively. We know that they’re going to be mentally prepared, so we just have to match that.”

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer Brian Jennings, email him at bjennings@southingtonobserver.com.

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