Knights keep their eyes on the prize: Football wasn’t sidetracked by East Hartford challenge

Carter Uhlman, right, cuts behind a Will Downes block during a 38-0 home victory against Conard. (Photo by John Goralski)

By KEVIN ROBERTS

STAFF WRITER

Southington fans had already circled this Friday’s game on the calendar, but the Blue Knights weren’t looking forward…yet. On Friday, Oct. 19, Southington football took care of business after its bye week with a 38-0 home hammering of Conard.

Now, the team can finally look ahead. Next up for the Blue Knights, now 6-0, is a formidable road challenge from East Hartford, also 6-0. Southington and East Hartford kick off at 6:30 p.m. on Friday at East Hartford High School.

The Hornets are led by star quarterback Raquan Tompkins.

“He’s a great player. He’s a guy that’s going to be all over the field,” coach Mike Drury said. “I’ve seen him in person, I’ve seen him on film a bunch, so I know the type of player that he is. They’ve got some great athletes around him, so you try to do a great job containing him and make sure you tackle well.”

Tompkins accounted for over 500 yards of total offense in a 55-27 whipping of Enfield on Oct. 19. Tompkins tallied seven touchdowns, including a fumble return for a score. He had four passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns.

“He’s a dual-threat guy, a true dual-threat quarterback,” Drury said.

Teammate Jaquan Allen caught all of Tompkins’ touchdown passes and nearly had 300 yards receiving. Limiting East Hartford’s big plays will be a huge key for Southington.

The Blue Knight offense clicked for much of the win over Conard. Southington could find more success against an East Hartford team that has given up at least 21 points on four different occasions, including 27 points three times.

“It will be fun, it will be exciting, another big game,” Drury said. “This is what we prepare for, this is what we work hard for.”

No chance for Conard

OCT. 19—The Blue Knights jumped all over the visiting Chieftains, scoring touchdowns on their first two possessions on their way to a 38-0 rout. That’s a stark contrast to the first half of the season, when Southington started slow.

Senior receiver Will Downes made sure the Blue Knights got going quickly with a pair of diving catches. He finished with seven receptions for 214 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown.

“Great players make those plays, and they expect to make those plays, I know they do,” Drury said. “They want to make those plays. Will had a couple unbelievable catches.”

Southington scored 17 more points in the second half for a commanding 31-0 halftime lead. Senior quarterback Jacob Drena completed passes to four different receivers, and three of those players caught at least one touchdown. Jacob Flynn had five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown, Josh Vitti added five grabs for 65 yards and two touchdowns, and Carter Uhlman caught a pass for 13 yards.

Tanner LaRosa carried the ball 13 times for 72 yards and a touchdown while Dillon Kohl toted the ball seven times for 61 yards. Southington had nearly 500 yards of total offense.

“The guys made big plays for us,” Drury said.

That comment applied to the defense as well. Matt Thompson, Steve Witte and Kyle Kraft all had an interception, and Kyle Messenger tallied a team-high 10 tackles. Billy Carr had nine tackles, followed by Angelo Plantamuro and J.T. Martin with eight tackles apiece.

“I thought the defense did a really good job. Conard just came off of last game throwing for 400-plus yards, the quarterback set a school record, so we knew we were going to have a challenge in front of us,” Drury said. “We had to adjust the way we play things defensively a little bit. Our guys executed the game plan, that’s all we can ask for.”

The focus turned to East Hartford this week. The Blue Knights and Hornets are the No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the Class LL state playoff standings, so this game has major postseason implications.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com

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