By KEVIN ROBERTS
There’s always something to clean up from the first game of the season. Turnovers happen, mistakes are made, especially when players are learning how to play with each other.
Southington football overcame some early issues and hammered Glastonbury 41-7 on Sept. 7 in front of an excitable crowd at Fontana Field.
“We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a few times early on, and had some penalties that hurt us,” coach Mike Drury said.
The Blue Knights narrowly avoided disaster when they fumbled the opening kickoff. On the first play from scrimmage, senior first-year starting quarterback Jacob Drena was intercepted by Freddie Thomas. Matt Tenney scored on the ensuing drive and the Tomahawks had an early 7-0 lead.
After the interception, Drena and the Southington offense settled down, then bombed Glastonbury’s defense from the air in a spectacular show of passing strength. Drena was 16-of-24 for 356 yards and five touchdowns. The Blue Knights scored 41 unanswered points.
“He did great at [burying the interception], responded great,” Drury said about Drena. “He ran our offense with efficiency, took what they were giving us, and just did a really solid job in his first varsity start.”
Jacob Flynn had five catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns and tallied a 68-yard gain as his longest play. Downes had four grabs for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Five different Blue Knights caught a pass from Drena.
“I’ve said it before, I think we have the best receiving corps in the state,” Drena said. “Everywhere I look, any matchup I see, it’s something good. I threw three touchdowns to one kid, but there’s other kids that I didn’t even get involved that are going to be huge guys for us, so it’s amazing. It’s a quarterback’s dream.”
Dillon Kohl ran six times for 60 yards and accounted for the final Southington touchdown when he scored from seven yards out. Evan Johanns was 5-for-5 on extra points, though he didn’t get a chance at a sixth and final one because of a bad snap.
There are mistakes in every first game, and Southington had its share. Nearly all of the yardage on an interception by Johnny Carreiro was wiped out by a penalty, and a touchdown pass was nullified by a hold.
“Those are things with guys who are kind of maturing in the game, growing as a unit and as players, understanding what those things can cost,” Drury said. “I tell them that penalties don’t cost yards, they cost games. Fortunately, we were able to rebound.”
Once the Southington defense settled down, Glastonbury couldn’t get the ball moving. The Tomahawks wound up with only 155 yards of total offense.
“Once we settled in, we were able to make our presence felt,” Drury said.
Angelo Plantamuro had 15 total tackles to lead the Blue Knight defensive unit. Carreiro had 10 tackles to go along with his interception. Plantamuro and Carriero combined for a half-sack as well. Billy Carr and Ryan Gavronski each had seven tackles, and Max Casella added four tackles and a sack.
Southington faces its first road test of the season on Friday night against Simsbury at 7 o’clock at Holden Field. The Trojans are sure to be an irritated bunch after a tough 31-26 loss to Hall at home in their season opener on Sept. 7.
“They’re going to have numbers, so they’re going to have a lot of guys going one way probably,” Drury said of Simsbury. “They’re going to be hungry, they’re going to be hungry for this game. I know they are. I know their coaches well, they do a really good job with those guys. They’re going to be prepared, and we have to be just as prepared.”
Simsbury ran for 181 yards and outgained the Hall 257-172 overall, but four turnovers and 10 penalties for 94 yards proved too much to overcome. The Trojans will look to be better against Southington, and the Blue Knights will work to clean up some things that broke down against Glastonbury.
“We had some of those holds because our fundamentals broke down, whether it was on the perimeter with some of the guys or in the interior, so I think that’s the big thing,” Drury said. “Fundamentals defensively, we missed a couple tackles, but we’re working hard at it.”
Southington (1-0) will try to keep the momentum going this Friday when they take to the road against Simsbury (0-1). The Trojans are coming off a 31-26 loss to Hall in their home opener. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Simsbury High School.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com.