EAST HARTFORD >> Rentschler Field has been very good to Harold Cooper. The Hillhouse running back won state titles there as a freshman and again as a junior.
So, naturally, Cooper felt right at home on the grass at the Rent Saturday, scoring twice to help Team Constitution to a 29-20 victory over Team Nutmeg in the Super 100 Football All-Star Classic.
PHOTOS: The Super 100 All-Star Football Game [link fixed]
Cooper gained just 45 yards on 13 carries, but scored the game’s first touchdown on a 4-yard run in the first quarter.
He then added an 18-yard scoring run in the second quarter as Constitution built a 27-0 lead at the intermission.
“It’s my last high school game, so it means a lot to me,” said Cooper, who is headed to the University of Rhode Island. “Playing at the Rent again was fun. I couldn’t do it last (fall) because we didn’t make it to the playoffs.”
Xavier’s Andrew Meoli (five carries, 20 yards) scored on a 5-yard in the second quarter to give Constitution a 14-0 lead.
“We had two great backs, me and Andrew Meoli,” Cooper said. “We just worked hard in practice and we knew once the game came that we were going to flow.”
“They’re really good backs,” Constitution coach Sean Marinan of Xavier said. “We told them that if we could get them to the second level, those kids would do the rest.”
Ledyard’s Khary Childs caught a 57-yard touchdown pass from Glastonbury’s Jalen Ollie in the second quarter for Constitution, which owned the first half.
Nutmeg scored three times in the fourth quarter, but its rally attempt fell just short. Trumbull’s Nick Roberts tossed two touchdowns to Oxford’s Chris Van Kamerik and one to Sheehan’s Brandon Gauthier in the quarter.
But offensive woes in the first half was too much for Nutmeg to overcome. Nutmeg quarterbacks completed just 7 of 20 passes for 54 yards and one interception in the first half.
“We had a hard time finding a rhythm,” Nutmeg coach John Ferrazzi said. “We had three or four dropped balls, and a couple of missed assignments, that could have turned the game for us. What are you going to do? That’s the game sometimes. But these kids worked hard the last two weeks. We wanted to send them out as winners … but they fought to the end and I am proud of them.”
Gauthier finished with eight catches for 143 yards and was named Nutmeg’s offensive MVP. Windsor’s Jaylen Berry was Nutmeg’s defensive MVP, while Notre Dame-West Haven’s Sal Esposito was given the coaches award.
Van Kamerik caught four passes for 91 yards and Bloomfield’s Norvel Stewart made an interception for Nutmeg.
Ollie (8 of 11, 184 yards) and Southington’s Stephen Barmore (17 of 25, 167 yards) were both named offensive MVP for Constitution.
Norwich Free Academy’s Tuzar Skipper was defensive MVP and Hall’s Joe Farrah received the coaches award.
Xavier’s Will Garrity had an interception for Constitution.
Constitution was especially proud of pitching a shutout in the first half.
“Our defensive performance was phenomenal,” Skipper said. “We basically executed everything we practiced during practice. I feel we did a fantastic job.”
TEAM NUTMEG 0 0 0 20 — 20
TEAM CONSTITUTION 7 20 0 2 –29
C — Harold Cooper 4 run (Lyle Luth kick)
C — Andrew Meoli 13 run (Luth kick)
C — Khary Childs 57 pass from Jalen Ollie (Luth kick)
C — Cooper 18 run (kick failed)
N — Brandon Gauthier 17 pass Nick Roberts (Kyle Smick kick)
N — Chris Van Kamerik 14 pass Roberts (Smick kick)
C — Safety, Nutmeg called for holding in end zone
N — Van Kamerik 74 pass Roberts (pass failed)