By KEVIN ROBERTS
Southington football started slow in the first quarter of its Senior Night game against South Windsor on Nov. 9. After that first quarter, the Blue Knights poured on the points against the Bobcats in a 55-0 rain-soaked blowout on the home turf.
The Knights clinched a Class LL state playoff spot with the win and improved to 9-0. Southington can finish a perfect regular season with a victory over archrival Cheshire on Thanksgiving morning in the Apple Valley Classic.
“They’re in a rebuilding year,” Blue Knight coach Mike Drury said about South Windsor. “We wanted to get our guys in, get some work out there, and get them out for the second half.”
The Bobcats ran 48 plays to just 23 for the Blue Knights, but were outgained, 291-124. Senior captain Tanner LaRosa ran just nine times, all in the first half, but he accumulated 80 yards and four touchdowns. Dillon Kohl shredded South Windsor for 100 yards and two touchdowns on five touches.
“I thought they ran well,” Drury said. “Their line opened up the holes for them, they made the right cuts and ran tough, protected the ball and scored.”
Senior captain Jacob Drena threw just five passes and completed three of them for 61 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once, but a wet ball probably didn’t help on the throw.
On the other side of the ball, South Windsor fumbled twice, and both were recovered by Southington. Angelo Plantamuro and senior Steve Witte each had a fumble recovery.
“They got right on it. We talk about it, making sure we capitalize on that, getting the ball out,” Drury said. “They did a good job.”
Senior captain Kyle Messenger had nine tackles, as did fellow senior John Miller. Billy Carr and senior Ryan Gavronski each had eight tackles while Witte and fellow senior Jake Beaupre added six tackles apiece.
Southington led 6-0 after one quarter on a 20-yard touchdown run by LaRosa. In the second quarter, LaRosa tallied three touchdowns on runs of 5, 2 and 20 yards while senior Jamie Lamson scored on a 13-yard run. Add Ryan Walsh’s three runs for 17 yards and a touchdown from the second half, and the Blue Knight rushing attack chewed up 230 yards on just 18 carries to go along with seven touchdowns.
With the running clock already ticking after the opening kickoff of the second half, Kohl burst through a hole for a 48-yard touchdown and the extra point from senior Evan Johanns put Southington ahead 41-0. Kohl added a five-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, and Walsh scored from a yard out in the fourth quarter.
Apple Valley Classic
The Blue Knights have a bye this week, but they are well aware of what’s coming on Thanksgiving morning. The Rams are having a down year (3-6), but they will still bring a big effort against their rivals.
“It’s an intense rivalry, it’s a good rivalry. I know our kids love it, I know their kids love it,” Drury said. “It’s one that everyone’s going to come out, everyone’s going to pull out all the stops that game. We just got to play hard, play intense out there.”
Southington leads the all-time series 13-9 on Thanksgiving Day, but has won six straight, which ties for its longest win streak in the rivalry.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com