WHERE/WHEN — Veterans Stadium, New Britain, 10 a.m.
TICKETS — $10 everyone
ON THE AIR/WEB — NFHS Network (Subscription required)
SEEDS/RECORDS — No. 7 Haddam-Killingworth 11-1; No. 4 Bloomfield 11-1
COACHES — Haddam-Killingworth: Mike Baklik, 7th year (35-39); Bloomfield: Ty Outlaw (9th year, 75-25).
Haddam-Killingworth — Second appearance, 0-1 overall
1994-S lost to Putnam 20-14.
Bloomfield — 14th appearance, 8-5 overall
2015-S def. Ansonia 31-20; 2006-SS lost to Ansonia 34-12; 2003-SS def. Brookfield 34-14; 2001-S def. North Branford 40-7; 2000-M def. New Canaan 55-6; 1999-S def. Ansonia 56-0; 1998-S def. Ansonia 40-7; 1997-S def. Darien 39-21; 1996-S lost to Darien 21-16; 1995-S lost to Ansonia 7-0; 1994-SS lost to Ansonia 54-14; 1993-SS lost to Seymour 40-12; 1982-MM def. Penney 12-6.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Sr. QB/LB Tobey Callender; Sr. RB/WR/FS Dalton Modehn; Sr. RB/LB Zach Kauffman; T/DE Aiden Maher (6-5, 235); Jr. DL/OL Trey Callender; Sr. FS/P/K Jordan Callahan.
Sr. RB/LB Ky’Juon Butler, Jr. DL/OL Kyle Barlow (6-1, 190), Jr. OL/DL Kyle Davis (6-4, 215), Soph. QB Daron Bryden, Jr. DL Kyle Davis, Fresh. WR Jayvon Massey, Fresh. LB Aaron Jones.
Editor’s note, a preview video will appear here at a later time.
Preordained as a Class S favorite in the preseason, Bloomfield and its collection of all-star talent, led by senior four-year starter Ky’Juon Butler, have lived up to expectations. Setting aside a perplexing 30-0 loss to Berlin at home, the Warhawks have otherwise rolled through their competition to reach their 14th state championship game in history. They’re looking for their ninth title overall and first since they defeated Ansonia 31-20 in 2015’s Class S final, coach Ty Outlaw’s first as head coach.
They run into a Haddam-Killingworth team nobody expected would be here. Yet the Cougars, behind a methodical run game, have amassed the most wins in school history (11) and upset favored Stafford/Somers/East Windsor 21-14 in overtime to reach their second state championship game.
The Warhawks are, of course, led by Butler, who has amassed 2,197 yards and 22 touchdowns at tailback running out of the team’s spread. He’s complemented by a vast and talented receiving corps, directed by sophomore quarterback Daron Bryden, who has thrown for 2,110 yards and 34 touchdowns. The majority of TDs have gone to freshman receiver Jayvon Massey (14), but the Warhawks also boast talents in seniors David Robinson, Anthony Simpson, Mike Raiford and Myles Davis.
Butler leads the Warhawks’ defense at linebacker with 65 tackles and 21 for a loss. Bloomfield also boasts an aggressive defensive line, starring junior end Kyle Barrow, who leads the team with 84 tackles and 10 sacks, Kyle Davis (52 tackles, 7 1/2 sacks) and freshman LB Aaron Jones. Bloomfield, which loves to strike fast and furiously, has outscored opponents by an average of 40-8.
On the flip-side is a much more methodical Haddam-Killingworth team that punishes teams with its large offensive line, led by 6-foot-5, 235-pound tackle Aiden Maher and Trey Callender, and a pair of thousand-yard rushers in Tobey Callender (1,462 yards, 20 TDs) and Dalton Modehn (1,244 yards, 21 TDs). The Cougars also feature fullback Zach Kauffman (678 yards, 9 TDs) and figure to be bolstered by the return of senior Dalton Brown (303 yards, 7 TDs) from injury. The Cougars have run for 3,798 yards this year.
Defensively, Tobey Callender leads the Cougars at MLB with 80 tackles and 5 interceptions, while his junior brother Trey anchors the defensive line with 20 tackles for a loss and seven sacks. Brown, a defensive back, is tied as the team leader with 5 interceptions in only seven games. Modehn, another DB, has made four picks.
H-K also has a weapon in senior Jordan Callahan, a free safety who doubles as team kicker. He’s made 37-of-38 PATs, has kicked three field goals and averages 35.5 yards a punt.
The Cougars have outscored opponents by an average of 40-14. Their only loss was 47-19 to Cromwell/Portland on Sept. 29.
This is coach Mike Baklik’s first state championship game as head coach. He was a part of longtime coach Dennis O’Rourke’s last playoff team of 2011.
SPB’S PICK – Bloomfield
PETE’S PICK – Bloomfield
SCOTT’S PICK – Bloomfield
CALPREPS PROJECTION – Bloomfield 35-21