Enfield finishes season with win over SMSA

HARTFORD — The seniors on the Enfield Raiders football team couldn’t have written a better script for their final game in green and white.

There was rain and mud, there was a comeback victory, there was a final, five-minute march to kill the clock. And there was the win, a 13-12 final under the lights against SMSA.

“It felt great,” senior Bryan Murphy said. “I love it, I love all of them. I don’t care if they played for four years or for two years they are all my boys. Playing with them, one more time for 48 minutes, we did our thing and I am so proud of them.”

Murphy anchored the defense for Enfield, but that wasn’t his biggest contribution. He was the workhorse down the stretch during two pivotal drives for the Raiders, during which he carried the ball a combined nine times.

Trailing 12-7 after three quarters, Enfield marched from its own 33 on a 1o-play drive to the end zone. On third down, quarterback Chris LaPointe found Tyrik Henry for a big 26-yard pass to move the chains.

“We got a big completion for a first  down,” Raiders head coach Jay Gaucher said, “and were able to drive the ball and gain some momentum.”

Then after a Murphy third down conversion, LaPointe ran for 14 yards himself. The drive was capped off with a four-yard Thomas Watson touchdown.

Now with a narrow one-point advantage, the Enfield defense was able to force a big interception to get the ball back with 5:18 remaining. Murphy did the rest.

“He’s a mudder,” Gaucher said of the Raider with the dirtiest jersey after the game. “We have a turf field, I think he was excited to play in the mud tonight.”

“It feels amazing,” Murphy said of the final two drives. “I love grinding it out, I love down and dirty, I love hard hitting football.”

The game was pretty sloppy from the opening kickoff, as Enfield was able to break through with a 50-yard touchdown strike from LaPointe to Henry. The teams then exchanged failed attempts to move the ball for the rest of the first quarter, and well into the second. SMSA finally scored at the 2:52 mark in the second quarter, and trailed 7-6 at halftime.

“All season we weren’t strong in the second half,” Murphy said. “I think we knew it was time to step it up and get it done.”

However Enfield was slow to get things going in the second half, with two three and outs and an interception to start things off. The slow start costed them, with SMSA scoring to take a 12-7 lead.

But then of course, came the comeback.

“I want them to remember that fourth quarter,” Gaucher said. “We were able to get off the ball, we were physical upfront, we dominated. We have to win the trenches next year to be successful.”

“We played really well tonight,” Gaucher continued. “Brian Murphy, Ryan Gates played really well and gave us an opportunity. Chris LaPointe, he’s been out No. 2 QB all year and stepped up with Jason Davis hurt, and the offensive line did a great job in the fourth quarter, we controlled the entire quarter and were able to convert.”

The win sends the seniors into the sunset on a positive note, and also gives the returning players something to build off of in 2014.

“Five and six, thats not a bad year,” the coach said. “We lost a few heartbreakers this year, we played some good competition and out seniors will go out with a victory, something they will always remember. And the underclassmen have something to carry them to next season.

 

For more photos from Enfield’s win at SMSA, click HERE!

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