SOUTHINGTON >> It wasn’t always pretty, but No. 1 Southington began its defense of its Class LL state title with a 41-38 victory over Glastonbury Friday night in a wild one at Southington High.
The Blue Knights couldn’t do much of anything offensively early on and found themselves in a 10-0 hole, trailed at halftime after some curious play-calling led to a last-second Tomahawk touchdown, then squandered a 10-point second-half lead as Glastonbury scored consecutive touchdowns on turnovers.
But back-up quarterback Luke Krochko, taking over for injured starter Jasen Rose late in the third quarter, tossed a pair of scoring strikes to Kyle Borawski and Alex Jamele, and Southington held on for the win.
“It was ugly — penalties, we’ll go through the numbers and look at it all,” Southington head coach Mike Drury said. “You’re lucky to ciome out with a win in games like this. We’ve been involved in games like this where we didn’t come out with wins. We’re just going to tighten down and improve from it.”
Glastonbury had a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter after Nick Hobart’s 32-yard field goal, but Southington finally got the offensive boost it needed early in the second quarter, when Vance Upham busted for an 80-yard gain all the way to the Tomahawk 1.
“I tried my hardest,” said Upham. “If it wasn’t for the blocking, I wouldn’t have got there.”
Added Drury: “He’s a physical kid, he runs great, has that next gear. That was a huge spark plug for us.”
Two plays later, Rose hit Jamele on a 6-yard scoring pass to get Southington on the scoreboard. Later in the period, the two connected for another touchdown, this one from nine yards out, to give the Blue Knights the lead.
But in the final minute of the half, rather than run the clock out, Southington put the ball in the air twice — and the second time, Rose’s pass was picked off by Thomas Reardon. Two plays later, with just 7.7 seconds left in the half, Glastonbury quarterback Romelle Jack hit long-armed receiver Chika Chukwu on a 6-yard scoring pass to give the Tomahawks a 17-13 halftime edge.
Rose wound up throwing three interceptions (to go with three touchdowns) on the night.
Southington quickly took the lead back on Rose’s 15-yard scoring pass to Kyle Borawski. But Glastonbury answered with consecutive touchdowns, without even taking a snap.
Jack picked off a Rose pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown with 5:46 left in the third quarter. Then, with 4:20 left in the period, a high snap over
Southington punter Daniel Parzych’s fumble was recovered in the end zone by Chukwu, giving Glastonbury a 31-27 lead.
“It wasn’t there tonight, special teams-wise,” said Drury. “Field position was poor. We’re going to really tighten some of that up.”
Rose left the game with an injury, but Krochko came in and connected on a pair of scoring passes to Borawski and Jamele, giving Southington a 41-31 advantage.
Chukwu caught a 9-yard scoring pass from Jack with 4:53 left, and the Tomahawks had a final chance to come back when Sam Pirsig recovered an Upham fumble at their own 38 with 2:30 left.
But Glastonbury’s last-ditch scoring drive fell short.
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.
“You always have those first-game things,” Drury reasoned, “but you know what, we know too much about it to let it happen. We’re better than that, and we’re not going to let it happen (again).”
|NO. 1 SOUTHINGTON||0||13||21||7||—||41|
G—Donevin O’Reilly 2 run (Nick Hobart kick)
G—Nick Hobart 32 FG
S—Alex Jamele 6 pass from Jasen Rose (Dan Parzych kick)
S—Alex Jamele 25 pass from Jasen Rose (kick failed)
G—Chika Chukwu 6 pass from Romelle Jack (Hobart kick)
S—Kyle Borawski 15 pass from Jasen Rose (Parzych kick)
S—Kyle Borawski 56 pass from Jasen Rose (Parzych kick)
G—Romelle Jack 32 int ret (Hobart kick)
G—Chika Chukwu 2 fumb ret (Hobart kick)
S—Kyle Borawski 19 pass from Luke Krochko (Parzych kick)
S—Alex Jamele 22 pass from Luke Krochko (Parzych kick)
G—Chika Chukwu 9 pass from Romelle Jack (Hobart kick)
Team records: Southington 1-0; Glastonbury 0-1