SW Maroon A team advances

On Sunday at Rye Street Park the South Windsor Panthers (Maroon squad) overtook the Bloomfield Raiders in round one of the CTYFL A Division Playoffs by a final score of 41-12.

After receiving the opening kickoff the Raiders fumbled on the Panther 15 yard line and the ball was scooped up by linebacker Ankit Saini who returned the ball 55 yards to the Bloomfield 25. A two play drive consisting of a 15 yard run by Colin Ryan followed by a 10 yard TD run by Randy Holmes opened scoring for the Panthers. On a hold by Benett Saylor, kicker Ben Custer was able to convert the extra point.

The Panthers’ next score came quickly. Holmes recovered Saini’s onside kick, and then on the first play of the drive Holmes rand past the Bloomfield defenders for a 65-yard TD run.

On the Raiders’ third try the Panthers again forced a fumble that was recovered on the Raider 35 yard line by linebacker Julian Ibes. On the ensuing drive the Panthers began with the run, with quarterback Adam Harz handing the ball to Ryan and fullback Matt Smith and ending with an 8-yard pass from Harz to Holmes. Custer’s kick was good.

Bloomfield then began to throw the ball and competed 1 of 2 on the drive, but a sack by defensive end Jimmy Tamburro stalled the drive and the Raiders were forced to punt.

The Panthers scored on their next drive, beginning with a 21-yard pass from quarterback Connor Kapisak to split end Custer, followed by runs by fullback Will Nowak, and finishing with a 10-yard run by Michael Bazzano.

To end the half the teams traded touchdowns. Bloomfield engineered an impressive 7-play drive but were unable to convert their extra point try. The Panthers were led downfield on the passing of Kapisak who connected with Saini, Custer, and Bazzano which led to a 3-yard dive by Nowak.

At halftime the Panthers led 35-6.

Both of the Bloomfield third quarter drives ended in interceptions, one each by Saini and safety EJ Kelly. In between Kapisak led the Panthers down the field on a 70-yard drive on runs by Ryan, Holmes, and culminating with a 20-yard run by Smith.

On their final possession the Raiders scored on an 80-yard drive. The game well in hand, in the fourth quarter the Panthers rewarded the hard work of their linemen by giving them the opportunity to carry the ball. Featured on two separate drives were Brendan Mabey, Dylan Hodge, Mike Gore, Muhammad Hassan, Benett Saylor, Tito Pasqualoni, Matt Kennedy, Chad Croxford, Matt Pereira, Jimmy Tamburro, Kobe Davis, and Alex Valente. The linemen, carrying 12 times for 45 yards, were cheered on by injured team mate Gavin Duff.

On the day the blocking of these linemen, with the assistance of center Dylan Jones and tight end Will Pineo, allowed the Panthers to run for 263 yards and throw for 68. Benefitting from their efforts were running backs Holmes (3 carries for 76 yards and 2 TDs), Smith (6 for 56 and 1 TD), Ryan (3 for 55), Nowak (3 for 13), and Bazzano (2 for 12 and 1 TD). Pass protection by the line was also stellar allowing Panther quarterbacks to connect on 6 of 8 passes (Kapisak 5 of 6 for 68 yards, Harz 1 of 2 for 8 yards and 1 TD) to Custer (2 receptions for 35 yards), Saini (2 for 25), Bazzano (1 for 8), and Holmes (1 for 8 and 1 TD).

Captains for the day were Mike Gore, Randy Holmes, Ankit Saini, and Ben Custer.

In the other CTYFL playoff games #1 seed Glastonbury shutout #8 Windsor, #4 Rocky Hill beat #5 Berlin, and #3 East Hartford shutout #6 Durham. Next for the Panthers (8-1) are the East Hartford Hornets (7-2) at Rye Street Park at 2:00 PM on Sunday, November 10.

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