HADDAM >> Bryce Karstetter threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns in leading undefeated Cromwell/Portland to a 43-7 Pequot League win over Haddam-Killingworth in front of 400 at H-K High School Thursday evening.
Karstetter (12-for-22, one interception) had TD passes to Dianta Highsmith of 74 yards in the first quarter, a 31-yarder to Liam Coleman and a three-yarder to Brent Robbins in the second quarter before capping his night with a 19-yard strike to Highsmith in the third.
“He had a very good night,” Cromwell/Portand coach Randell Bennett aid. “He took to heart how we didn’t play well last week and he came out with a laser focus and took care of business.”
Bennett wanted to jump on top quickly and his team did precisely that. Kartstetter hit Highsmith with the 74-yard bomb on the Panthers’ first play from scrimmage and Bennett followed that up by calling for on onside kick which his club recovered.
Four plays later Robbins (11 carries, 107 yards) scored on a 15-yard run and with the conversion pass from Karstetter to Coleman, C/P led 14-0 just three and half minutes into the game.
H-K made a game of it early as an H-K punt was downed at the 1-yard line and three incomplete passes later, a bad punt gave H-K the ball at the Panthers’ 25.
H-K moved the required 25 yards in six plays with Jake Frith scoring on a six-yard run and with Jordan Callahan’s kick, cut the lead to 14-7 with 10:37 to go in the half. But that was it for the H-K offense, which finished with just 84 total yards.
Meanwhile, Cromwell/Portland (4-0) rolled up 546 yards, 288 on the ground to go with Karstetter’s 258 through the air.
“There was not a while lot we could do,” H-K coach Mike Baklik said. “Our kids responded to their early scores to cut the lead to 14-7 and down 22-7, we had a chance, but they’re very physical and they just out-physical-ed us tonight.”
Down 22-7 H-K (2-2) recovered another failed C/P onside kick and moved to the visitors’ 13-yard line, but an attempted 31-yard field goal was partially blocked and the Panthers turned that into a quick, 10-play drive that resulted in the aforementioned three-yard TD to Robbins with four seconds left in the half.
With Robbins conversion run, the Panthers had this one salted away at 30-7 at the half.
C/P’s final score was a seven-yard run by Bryan Lockwood (14 carries, 134 yards) with 9:53 left to play.
“I’m happy with how we played,” said Bennett. “We had to jump on them quick and we did, but what was good was this week we didn’t say much about how badly we played against Lewis Mills. We left that to the kids to figure out and they really responded.”