Football: Knights blast Hurricanes

MJ Bennett fights for extra yardage during an early Southington scoring drive. The Knights shut out New Britain, 42-0. (Photo by John Goralski)

SPENCER DREHER

STAFF WRITER

With their 42-0 win over New Britain (3-6) last Friday, Southington football (8-1) clinched a spot in the Class LL playoffs for the second straight season and the sixth time since 2011.

The Blue Knights clinched in dominating fashion with their second straight shutout and their fifth straight win by 20 or more points.

While Southington’s offense struggled on the road against Glastonbury, they had a strong outing against the Golden Hurricanes.  Here is what happened:

Southington started the scoring on their first possession last Friday.  After a solid kickoff return by MJ Bennett, quarterback Brady Lafferty found Carter Uhlman from eight yards out for the 7-0 lead.  The Knights received a little help from the Golden Hurricanes on the drive with a roughing the passer penalty on fourth down.

The Knights drove again on their next possession, but a muffed handoff was recovered by New Britain.  But Southington’s defense only allowed two yards on the ensuing drive and got the ball right back.

The Knights scored two possessions later.  After a holding penalty set them back, Jack McManus took a swing pass from Lafferty and ran it in from 24 yards out to take a 14-0 lead.

After Southington’s Zack Zembrzuski recovered a fumble at New Britain’s 22-yard line, Lafferty found Josh Vitti from 21 yards out on the ensuing drive for a touchdown and a 21-0 lead.

The offense’s best drive likely came at the end of first half.  Starting at their own eight-yard line, Lafferty led a two-minute drill and capped it off with his fourth touchdown of the half, a 15-yarder to Uhlman.

“We practice that basically every week,” coach Mike Drury said.  “We put offense and defense up against each other in a high-pressure situation.  We compete against each other in those situations.  I thought our guys did a really good job executing in that two-minute drill.  They got out of bounds and did what they needed to do in a two-minute offense.  It was a really well-executed drive.”

Southington scored twice more in the second half off an Angelo Plantamuro 32-yard interception return and 69-yard run by Bennett.

Bennett, again filling in for the injured Dillon Kohl, had eight carries for 107 yards.  Lafferty completed 21 of 30 passes for 266 yards and the four scores.

Uhlman had five catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns, while Vitti caught 10 passes for 92 yards and a score.  McManus added four catches for 58 yardas and a touchdown.

On defense, Billy Carr had 13 tackles while Max Casella recorded eight of his own.  Glen Somers and Plantamuro each had a tackle for a loss.

Southington allowed just six first downs by New Britain.  Drury said he has only seen the defense get better week after week.

“They are really coming together as a group,” Drury said.  “Every game is an opportunity for those guys to get some reps under their belt and see things.  Sometimes, we have to run different game plans against different teams and I thought our guys did a great job adjusting to some of the different things that New Britain likes to do.”

Up next: Southington has this week off before their showdown at Cheshire (7-1) on Thanksgiving.  Cheshire plays Harding (3-5) tonight.  Entering this week, Cheshire was ranked third in Class LL while Southington was ranked fourth.

“It is going to be a great battle,” Drury said.  “(Cheshire) is a very good team and they are having a great year.  It is always a great, competitive game no matter what our records are but it should be especially fun to be a part of this year.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Spencer Dreher, email him at SDreher@SouthingtonObserver.com.

 

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