AVON – On a hot and humid afternoon, the Rocky Hill football team looked cool and composed using its double wing offense to march up and down the field Saturday at Avon High.
The Terriers scored the first time they touched the ball and put up 35 points in the first quarter as they rolled to a dominating 49-15 win over Avon in the season opener for both teams. Rocky Hill ran for 327 yards and five touchdowns and also scored on a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Daniel Vavallaro.
“I’m happy. Last year, we started off (the season) a little slow (with a 27-0 loss to Avon),” Rocky Hill coach Mark Fritz said. “I’m glad to see we were ready to go. We have a good group of upperclassmen we’re relying on this year and they played well.”
Joseph Ferreira led the way with a game-high 119 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. Joseph Catania ran for two touchdowns and 108 yards on six carries. Grant Nieves broke through the line of scrimmage on Rocky Hill’s first offensive play and scampered 20 yards for a touchdown.
“We have four seniors and a junior on the offensive line and they did a great job paving the road,” Fritz said. “The running backs earn time in practice and they were rewarded today.”
Everyone earns time in practice – even the offensive linemen. Sophomore Greg Fernstrom scored his first scholastic touchdown on a five-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Why? He’s been playing well in practice, Fritz said.
Avon (0-1, 0-1 CCC Div. 3 West) has posted nine consecutive winning seasons. They won the CCC Division III West title a year ago in their first year in the CCC. But it won’t be easy this year for the Falcons. Rocky Hill gave up just 12 yards on the ground to Avon, which scored both of their touchdowns through the air.
“They had three guys go Division I. They lost 18 seniors. Any program in the state that loses 18 seniors will feel the ramifications,” Fritz said. “They have a good group of kids and they played tough. They’ll be good down the road.”
Fritz and the Terriers are looking ahead. They’ve put behind them the disappointment of last year’s 8-2 finish and falling short of the CIAC Class S playoffs because they lost bonus points when Berlin had to forfeit eight games due to recruiting violations.
“That was last year’s team,” Fritz said. “We felt bad for the seniors who missed that opportunity. For this group, the opportunities are still in front of them and they’ll have the chance to earn this year.”
The Terriers host their home opener on Friday night at McVicar Field when they host Northwest Catholic at 7 p.m. A week later, they’ll host defending Class S champion Bloomfield on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m., in a big test to see where the Terriers are as a team.
Rocky Hill (1-0, 1-0 CCC Div. 3 West) got on the scoreboard with its first play when Grant Nieves scored on a 20-yard run for a 7-0 lead. The Terriers’ Damon Lonero was 6-for-6 kicking extra points throughout the afternoon.
Nieves caught a 12-yard pass for Rocky Hill’s second score while Joseph Catania scored from 17 yards away to give Rocky Hill a 21-0 lead.
Avon raised the excitement level of their fans by scoring on a 64-yard touchdown pass from first-year QB Dylan Burgos to Peter Gerosa, who slipped behind the secondary. But the Terriers quickly put an end to any Avon comeback hopes with Catania scoring on a 67-yard run on the next Rocky Hill offensive play and extending the lead to 28-7.
A 25-yard touchdown pass to William White in the second quarter and a seven-yard TD run from Joseph Ferreira put the Terriers ahead by 35 points, 42-7, with 2:29 left in the second quarter. As dictated by the CIAC’s new score management policy, the rest of the game was played with a running clock.
Rocky Hill improves to 10-5-1 on the opening day and the 34-point margin of victory was the second highest in team history for the Terriers in the first game of the season. In 2012, Rocky Hill beat Rockville by 45 points 57-12, on opening day.
Rocky Hill 49, Avon 15
Rocky Hill (1-0) 35 7 0 7 — 49
Avon (0-1) 7 0 0 8 — 15
RH: Grant Nieves 20 run (Damon Lonero kick), 9:26
RH: Nieves 12 pass from Daniel Cavallaro (Lonero kick), 6:39
RH: Joseph Catania 17 run (Lonero kick), 3:13
A: Peter Gerosa 64 pass from Dylan Burgos (Jack Jones kick), 2:49
RH: Catania 67 run (Lonero kick), 2:25
RH :William White 25 pass from Cavallaro (Lonero kick), 1:09
RH: Joseph Ferreira 7 run (Lonero kick), 2:29
RH: Greg Fernstrom 5 run (Matthew Lanciotto kick), 8:09
A: Ryan Ollstad 38 pass from Burgos (Tommy Donovan run), 1:09