HARTFORD >> The Seymour football team is going back to the CIAC’s Class S semifinals for the second straight season after rolling over top-seeded Capital Prep/Achievement First in Tuesday night’s quarterfinal contest at Trinity College, 35-12.
The No. 8 Wildcats scored on five of their first six drives. Seymour dictated the tempo of the contest with long drives. Their first three scoring drives were 10, 13 and 10 plays, respectively.
“We challenged our guys right before the game,” Seymour coach Tom Lennon said. “We talked about (Naugatuck) Valley football and we got the train rolling. We were going to run it until they stopped it. We were just pounding the rock.”
Junior Bobby Melms had a game-high 144 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries while senior quarterback Jaylen Kelley ran for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
“We just kept pounding away all night,” Lennon said. “We made it easy on our defense. They only had to play a few series because we were just eating up yardage and time off the clock.”
Seymour (9-2) advances to the semifinals next Monday night at No. 4 Rocky Hill (10-2), which throttled Bullard Havens, 58-6. The Wildcats lost in last year’s semifinals to eventual Class S champion Bloomfield.
Seymour played quickly throughout the game. It took them just 3:46 to march 76 yards in 10 plays to take a 6-0 lead on a one-yard run by Melms. Kelley had a nice 30-yard run on third down at the Seymour 49-yard line to keep the drive going.
Capital Prep/Achievement First answered immediately, marching 67 yards on nine plays in less than three minutes. Trailblazer QB Kyle Zajack found receiver Roderick Henderson wide open in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown reception to tie the game at 6-6.
Seymour overcame a pair of penalties on their next scoring drive that ended with Kelley scoring from the one-yard line for a 12-6 lead early in the second quarter. Twice on the drive, Kelley converted on fourth down runs to keep the drive going.
Seymour’s Charles Richtel, the team’s leading tackler, stopped the next Trailblazer drive, intercepting Zajack despite a cast on his left hand for a broken wrist. The Wildcats drive was 55 yards on 10 plays with Kelley scoring from the one-yard line with 4:52 left in the second quarter. The extra point from kicker Rocco Vertuccio gave Seymour a 19-6 lead.
After stopping Capital Prep/AF on the Seymour 32, the Wildcats marched 68 yards in 48 seconds to add a 26-yard field goal from Vertuccio to give the Wildcats a 22-6 halftime lead. It was his second field goal of the season. A 22-yard pass from Kelley to Alex Massie was a key play along with a 13-yard run up the middle from Melms.
Early in the third quarter, Capital Prep/AF recovered a fumble on the Seymour 24-yard line. They scored on the next play with Zajack throwing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Edwards to cut the lead to 22-12.
But Seymour had no intention of letting the Trailblazers back into the game. Seymour marched 66 yards on 13 plays and scored on a nine-yard touchdown run from Melms to assume command, 29-12.
SEYMOUR 35, CAPITAL/ACHIEVEMENT 12
Seymour 12 10 7 6—35
Capital Prep 6 0 6 0—12
S—Bobby Melms 1 run (kick failed)
CP—Roderick Henderson 26 pass from Kyle Zajack (kick failed)
S—Jaylen Kelley 1 run (run failed)
S—Kelley 1 run (Rocco Vertuccio kick)
S—Vertuccio 26 FG
CP—John Edwards 20 pass from Zajack (run failed)
S—Melms 9 run (Vertuccio kick)
S—Lucas Bowen 1 run (kick failed)