Commentary: Changing seasons


It was a strong fall sports season for Southington High School. The Blue Knights were competitive in every sport, and they were in the hunt for championships at the conference and state level.

Southington athletic director Greg Ferry said that he was proud of the effort of his student-athletes, coaches and staff, and he is looking forward to the winter season. A really high note for the Blue Knights in the fall was boys soccer assistant Keith Langston being named Connecticut Soccer  Coaches Association’s assistant coach of the year.

“It’s a testament to his devotion to the program and for all of his hard work to develop our student-athletes. Thank you again to Keith,” Ferry said in a Q&A with The Observer in his office at the high school.

Ferry, who is on the CCC’s football realignment committee, also noted that Southington will be playing a team from either the FCIAC or the SCC next season as an out-of-conference opponent.

“We’re still going to play the bulk of the teams that we played this year, but in addition to Cheshire, we’re going to have one other game with either a team from the FCIAC or the SCC,” Ferry said. “That’s going to be real nice. We’re not sure if that’s going to be home or away.”

Here’s more from the Q&A:

Observer: What did you see from the fall season that impressed you?

Ferry: A lot of good things got done on and off the field, and I’m very, very proud. If you look at collectively how our sports teams did, we were in the mix for league titles and made quite a few good playoff runs in a multitude of sports. I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of our coaches, our student-athletes, and just how we kind of came together. A lot of our teams peaked at the end.

O: Southington didn’t capture a state title, but you would still consider it a successful fall, right?

F: We didn’t win a state title this fall, but you can’t just make your season successful off of how we do right at the end. You have to look at it, how we did, how was the process, how was the improvement from where those teams were a year ago? Girls volleyball seems like they’re always in the mix, always competing for titles. They had an undefeated regular season, and having graduated some senior players, we weren’t quite sure where we were going to be. To see that team come together and really work hard and be a couple points away from really winning the whole thing, that was really impressive. It’s a testament to coach Heitz, his two assistant coaches and the three senior captains who really led that team well. They were fun to watch all year. They just competed, and the group got along well.

O: Football also had an undefeated regular season, but it ended with a tough quarterfinal loss. What did you think of their season overall?

F: I think people look at 10-0 like it was easy. In fact we trailed in four contests, so the team showed tremendous resiliency. I couldn’t be more proud of the work that coach Mike Drury and his staff did in the offseason to institute a mental conditioning program. I think that really helped our players to stay in the present moment, and really work on just one play at a time. The team really improved throughout the season.

O: Girls soccer had a tremendous season with some young talent mixed in. What do you see for them in the future?

F: The nice thing was seeing how disappointed our team was because they knew and felt like we could have achieved a little bit more in that tournament. I think we talk a lot about our responses and where do you go from there? That was a pretty young team, started a lot of sophomores, a lot of underclassmen, so I think they’re going to take what they learned from the season and that will really help to propel them into next year.

O: How were you and your staff able to deal with the ever-changing weather patterns in the summer and fall?

F: We had tons of rescheduling, starting with the heat in August, the plethora of rain throughout the fall season, and then we finished up with some bitter cold. We really saw the whole range of weather, and I just want to say I appreciate all of my workers who stay after games, all of the fans for their flexibility, the officials and the student-athletes.

O: For the winter, Hall-Southington hockey is a go for at least one more year. What do you see coming from them this season?

F: We’re going to enjoy that co-op for Hall and Southington for at least another year. We’ll see how it goes, maybe some changes after this year, but when that happens, we’ll be ready for it, and we’ll go from there. Those boys work very, very hard. I don’t think people truly understand what goes into playing hockey, especially in a co-op. Those young men are pressing, sometimes late at night, sometimes early in the morning.

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