By KEVIN ROBERTS
The raw emotion of a season that ended too soon was written all over the faces of Southington’s football players after their Nov. 27 playoff loss.
The fourth-seeded Blue Knights had higher aspirations, but the fifth-seeded Fairfield Prep Jesuits were the ones celebrating a 28-21 victory on the turf at Southington High School. Southington players were left to face the end of the season, and for the seniors, it was the end of their Blue Knight careers. There were plenty of tears shed, and in many cases a hug was the only way to respond.
“I know they didn’t want to go out like this, but you know what, you got to bounce back,” coach Mike Drury said as the players left the field for the final time in the 2018 season. “They’ve got to be proud of themselves and the effort that they put in every day and the effort that they brought with it every day.”
The effort put in by Southington led to a 10-0 regular season and a fifth straight CCC Division I-West title. Tanner LaRosa ran for 1,054 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games. He averaged 6.6 yards per rush in 160 attempts. LaRosa’s 14 total touchdowns (13 rushing, 1 receiving) led the Blue Knights. Dillon Kohl carried 72 times for 545 yards and eight touchdowns, and averaged 7.6 yards per attempt.
Jacob Drena completed 168 of 253 pass attempts for 2,676 yards, 30 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He completed 59.4 percent of his passes. Will Downes led the team in catches (52), yards (843) and scored five touchdowns. Jacob Flynn caught a team-high 11 touchdowns and finished with 44 receptions for 816 yards. Jamie Lamson pulled in 29 passes for 421 yards and five touchdowns while Carter Uhlman added 26 receptions for 372 yards and six touchdowns.
Three Southington defenders wound up with 100 or more tackles. Angelo Plantamuro led the Blue Knights with 119, followed by Billy Carr with 106 and Kyle Messenger with 100. John Miller just missed the century mark with his 98 tackles. Miller did lead Southington in sacks with seven, followed by Carr with 5.5 and Plantamuro with 4.5. Matt Thompson claimed five of the 14 Blue Knight interceptions while Downes added three. Steve Witte added 11 pass breakups, an interception and two blocked kicks. JT Martin had a team-high 14 pass breakups to go along with one interception and one blocked kick.
On special teams, Evan Johanns made 49 extra points and four field goals for a total of 61 points, good for third on the team behind LaRosa and Flynn (66).
The following are Southington’s seniors: Witte, Thompson, Kyle Kraft, Drena, Flynn, Downes, Jamie Lamson, Martin, LaRosa, Seth Bogoslofski, Yousef Badr, John Aligata, Kyle Messenger, Owen Bouchard, Cameron Zawada, Ethan Agli, Max Noonan, Ryan Gavronski, Adam Bull, Sam McCarthy, Mike Gaudosi, Shavon Dancy, Johanns, Frederick Snell, Jake Beaupre, Miller, Eli Steindl and Vincent Golia.
“I’m absolutely proud of the seniors. I thought those guys, they’ve done a great job for us,” Drury said. “Everything we’ve asked them to do, they’ve done. They played tough, they did everything right, they really represented the town great, I couldn’t be more proud of those guys.”
Fairfield Prep game stats
LaRosa was Southington’s lead rusher with 19 carries for 108 yards. Drena completed 18 of 32 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Downes led the Blue Knights with six catches for 51 yards. Uhlman caught three passes for 29 yards, including two touchdowns. Carr paced the Southington defense with 15 tackles while Plantamuro and Messenger tallied 14 tackles each. Johnny Carreiro, Gavronski and Miller each had nine tackles, and Gavronski and Miller both had a sack. Johanns made all three of his extra points.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com