By BRIAN JENNINGS
The Blue Knight football team stayed undefeated with their third shutout of the season in a 42-0 victory over winless Bulkeley-HMTCA-Weaver at home on Friday, Nov. 11. Since the game was played on Veterans Day, the Southington High School Marching Band honored the military veterans who attended the game by performing the Armed Forces Medley at halftime.
Southington scored all 42 points in the first half, posting over 40 points for the eighth time this season. More importantly, the Knights have also now clinched a home game for the first round (quarterfinals) of the Class LL tournament, clinching a playoff berth for the fifth-straight year.
The Knights may not have allowed a single point, but with winds gusting up to 21 miles per hour, there were still multiple fumbled snaps on offense.
“They were things that aren’t acceptable to us, but are things that we can definitely clean up,” said Southington coach Mike Drury. “If it is windy like this though, it really shouldn’t have an effect on the snap.”
Vance Upham paced the offense with 97 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries.
“We knew from the beginning that we just had to play like we always do, no matter what team we play,” said Upham. “You don’t want to overlook anyone. We came out here and gave it to them on every play.”
Upham also anchored the defense with five tackles (2 assists), recovering a fumble for a touchdown by ripping the ball lose right out of a Bulkeley ball carrier’s hands.
Drury said that he couldn’t even see who grabbed the fumble. “The ball was out, scooped up, and scored,” he said. “We talk about that stuff in our weekly drills though.”
Brandon Kohl rushed for 61 yards and a score on six carries. Will Barmore completed five of six passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Plantamuro (2 tackles, forced fumble) caught four passes for 41 yards and a score. Plantamuro also rushed three times for 29 yards.
Paul Schweiger (4 tackles), Matt Meade (3 tackles), Joe Koczera (3 tackles, 2 assists), Ian Hall (3 tackles, 3 assists), Rich Rivera (fumble recovery), Sean Scanlon (fumble recovery), Robert Bunting (forced fumble), and Angelo Plantamuro (forced fumble) contributed as well.
Drury said it was a great opportunity to get the younger players involved so that they could gain some varsity experience, and sophomore Matt Thompson capitalized with two interceptions.
“We know that he has the ball-hawking ability,” said Drury. “He had like nine interceptions as a freshman last year, so he sees it well and can break on the ball. He had two really good plays tonight.”
Southington is currently 9-0 overall, dropping from the top team in the Class LL standings to third. The Knights will host Cheshire (6-3) in their regular season finale and 21st annual Apple Valley Classic on Thanksgiving Day at 10 a.m. The Rams are currently ninth in Class LL.
“They’re a very good, solid team,” said Drury. “They play in a tough conference and are going to be ready to play a great game, but so are we. I think it’s just about our preparation and the process of getting geared up for that game. We just have to play clean football and execute against them, but we’re real excited, and I know they are too.”
Southington currently holds the Apple Valley Classic title after defeating Cheshire in last year’s turkey day thriller, 36-29. Cheshire took their first lead of the game, 29-28, after recovering an onside kick and completing a 19-yard touchdown pass and two-point conversion with 1:48 to go in the contest. Following Cheshire’s touchdown, Jasen Rose responded with a 50-yard completion to Alessio Diana, setting up the go-ahead four-yard touchdown run by Rose to seal the victory.
The Knights have won the last four Thanksgiving games against the Rams and currently lead the series, 11-9, dating back to 1996. Southington is 45-13 on Thanksgiving since 1958.
Presale tickets for the 2016 Apple Valley Classic will be on sale in the Southington Athletic Director’s office at the high school, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Tickets cost $8 ($5 for senior citizens and students). Game time is 10 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 24.
The game will feature Southington High School (9-0) and Cheshire High School (6-3) in the annual rivalry game.
Any questions, contact the athletic office at (860) 628-3229, ext. 425.
Southington fans should have plenty to cheer about during this holiday week with Powderpuff football kicking off the fray on Monday and Tuesday (2016-powderpuff-preview) leading up to the main event on Friday.
Southington High School (10-0) will try to cap a perfect regular season at home against Cheshire (6-3). (2016-apple-valley-classic-preview) The Knights have already clinched a home game in the opening round of the state tournament. The Rams need a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive.