Ellington/Somers Thankful for Pequot North Title

COVENTRY – There may not have been state playoff implications to consider this year. But a shot at a second divisional title in three years proved to be plenty of incentive for the Ellington/Somers football team during its annual Thanksgiving showdown with Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton.

The Knights scored early and often and were never challenged on the way to a 40-12 victory at Coventry Wednesday night. The victory enabled Ellington/Somers to claim sole possession of the Pequot North Divisional title.

The Knights endured an up and down season as injuries and a couple of tough losses mid-season conspired to squash any hope of a third consecutive trip to the Class M state tournament. But in the Pequot North, there was still one more carrot left to chase.  And with Thanksgiving only a day away, the Knights were not about to let this one slip from their grasp.

Biting cold wind and a soaking, sideways rain did little to slow the Knights who scored on their first  possession of the  game and never looked back.  Senior Christian Schneider started Ellington/Somers’ offensive outburst with a 55-yard touchdown run just over one minute into the game.

“Everyone really came out to play tonight,’’ said senior quarterback Joe Leslie. “It’s good to go out on top, that’s for sure.’’

Ellington/Somers last won the division in 2011, capping a perfect regular season with a Thanksgiving Day victory at Coventry. Overall Ellington is 7-0 against Coventry in the Thanksgiving rivalry.

For first year coach Sean Byrne the victory ensured a winning record for the Knights (6-5) and  provided a satisfying conclusion to the season. “We had a lot of ups and downs and early on Joe was hurt and Christian was hurt all season, but these guys perservered,’’ Byrne said.  “I felt like we got better each week and really rallied around these seniors. These kids really picked it  up and come out and got it done tonight.’’

Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton has also battled the injury bug throughout the season and Patriots coach Tony Bonito said his young team was simply overmatched against Ellington.

“We’re just young but they did their best and I’m proud of them. They lined up and played hard every snap,’’ Bonito said. “Congratulations to Ellington though. They are a good , well coached football team. We were just overmatched.’’

Ellington/Somers continued to pour on the offense as Mark Hickman scored the first of his three touchdowns with seven seconds remaining in the first quarter and then added another TD on a 40-yard screen pass from Leslie late in the second quarter. Hickman and Schneider added one more touchdown each in the second half and Danny Hayes capped the Knights’ scoring with an interception return for a touchdown to make it 40-0.

Coventry put together two late scores – TD’s by Daniel Gebhart and Orion Morrison – but it was too little too late for the Patriots (5-6)

For Ellington, the future looks as bright as ever. The Knights will return a strong core on both sides of the ball and figure to be ready for another run at the state tournament next year. But for the Knights coach, Wednesday was about the seniors. “ Every senior we have has been in this program for four years and that is really a testament to this program and to those kids,’’ Byrne said.

 

Story and photos by Kevin Hayes

For More photos from the game click HERE.

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