DURHAM >> Coginchaug moved one step closer to securing a CIAC Class S state playoff berth with a 47-8 Pequot Conference victory against Haddam-Killingworth Saturday at the Wally Camp Athletic Complex.
The Blue Devils (8-2), winners of seven straight, will clinch one of the eight Class S playoff spots with a Thanksgiving Day win against Cromwell.
After a 1-2 start, including a pair of losses against Class M contender Valley Regional/Old Lyme and Class S playoff-bound Morgan in which the Blue Devils gave up 60 points in each game, Coginchaug got on track with a 40-7 win over Lewis Mills at Bristol’s Muzzy Field.
And the Blue Devils have never looked back.
“Part of it is the schedule,” said Coginchaug coach John Bozzi. “Valley and Morgan were the two best teams we’ve played. But we were minus three defensive linemen and an offensive lineman for the first third of the season. We got those guys back and that solidified us. We were very young defensively. We only start three seniors (on defense) so early on there were some growing pains. The kids started figuring out what they were supposed to be doing and where they were supposed to be. And the unit has really come a long way.”
The Blue Devils grabbed a quick lead against the Cougars, scoring in their first possession when senior quarterback Tyler Meeker hit senior Jack Granger for a 25-yard touchdown play. Granger recovered the ensuing onsides kick and two plays later Meeker delivered a perfect 41-yard touchdown strike to junior Devin Rodrigue.
Junior running back Jake Ober’s 15-yard touchdown run gave the Blue Devils a 21-0 lead with with two minutes and 9 seconds left in the first quarter.
Coginchaug added two more touchdowns in the second quarter – a 13-yard TD run from Granger and a 35 yard interception return by Rodrigue – and led 35-0 at intermission.
The Blue Devils outgained H-K, 444-180.
Meeker completed 6 of 7 passes for 140 yards, while Ober finished with 77 yards on 17 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Wes Benjunas had a 17-yard touchdown run in the second half, while sophomore running back Parker Tregoning scored on a 58-yard TD run. Tregoning collected 146 yards on just four carries in the second half.
“We try to be multi-faceted,” said Bozzi. “That’s always our goal and I think we had that today. We have a couple of kids who can catch, kids that can throw and a bunch of kids that can run. We try and keep all those factors in the game.”
Junior running back Josh Breiling led the Cougars with 56 yards rushing on 16 attempts. Sophomore Lance Reinhardt (39 yards on 10 carries) spun for a 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, and freshman Noah Vinci gained 31 yards on five carries for H-K.
The Cougars (10-0) will host Valley Regional/Old Lyme for the annual Principal’s Cup on Thanksgiving Eve (6:30 p.m.).
“I don’t want to start making excuses but we’ve had a lot of injuries,” said H-K coach Dennis O’Rourke. “But the kids come out every day and work hard. We have what we have and so that’s what we have to work with. We’ve got to show up and play 48 minutes. We’re young and we’re going to keep working.”
Coginchaug will face Cromwell (4-6) at Pierson Park on Thanksgiving Day. Kick-off is at 10:00 a.m.
“John (Bozzi) has a good team,” said O’Rourke. “He’s done a great job building that program. He’s got some good athletes. They play hard and that’s tribute to him and his staff.”