Glastonbury Falls to Southington in Matchup of Top Ten Teams

GLASTONBURY-For much of Glastonbury football’s game against Southington on Friday night, the Tomahawks offense was able to keep pace with the Blue Knight’s heralded attack. As it entered the fourth quarter however, the offense began struggling. At the same time, the defense was unable to stop Southington at all. For Glastonbury, this recipe added up to a highly frustrating loss.

In a shootout that lived up to the pre-game hype, top-ranked Southington emerged the victor by a score of 61-41. After the Tomahawks, No. 9 in the Hartford Courant state rankings, scored on a 23-yard run by quarterback Keyion Dixon with 1:09 left in the third quarter to take a 41-34 lead, the Blue Knights ran off 26 unanswered points in the fourth. They took the lead for good when quarterback Jasen Rose ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 8:02 remaining, and Alessio Diana and Rose ran for touchdowns in the closing minutes. Southington improved to 4-0 and won its 24th consecutive game, while Glastonbury drops to 3-1.

Southington ran for 484 yards, while Glastonbury’s dynamic duo of Jake Madnick and Dixon ran for 156 yards and three scores and 138 and two TDs, respectively. Rose ran for 101 yards and three TDs and passed for 125 yards and two scores, Vance Upham ran for 225 yards and two touchdowns, and Diana recorded 158 and one TD.

“We just didn’t finish tackles and make plays against their offense,” Tomahawks coach Scott Daniels said. “They have a quarterback and runners who are big and physical, and you can’t get away with arm-tackling them.”

After Southington scored on its opening drive on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Rose to Austin Morin, the Tomahawks offense responded by scoring in just three plays. Madnick got free along the left sideline and darted past a pack of defenders for a 66-yard touchdown.

On the Blue Knights next drive, Rose scored on a 6-yard keeper, giving Southington a 13-7 lead.

Nick Hobart knocked in a 35-yard field goal on Glastonbury’s second drive to make the score 13-10. The Tomahawks defense then quickly forced a fumble when the ball slipped out of Rose’s hand on a pass. The ball was recovered by Alex Murrant-Johnson at the Southington 11, and Madnick scored from 9 yards to give Glastonbury a 17-13 lead with 1:17 remaining in the first.

The Blue Knights wasted little time getting the lead back. Following a series of powerful runs, Rose lofted a second TD pass to Morin down the left sideline, this time from 30 yards out.

It was then Dixon’s turn for a rushing touchdown. He slipped through a few small holes and sprinted for a 51-yard score, putting the Tomahawks up 24-20.

The teams again traded rushing touchdowns. Upham bounced off a few defenders on his way to a 35-yard TD, and then Madnick took advantage of great blocking to run for a 61-yard TD with 4:53 remaining, giving Glastonbury a 31-27 halftime lead.

“We thought we could attack the edge with multiple formations entering the game, and we were able to do that and open up our inside running game,” Daniels said. “That allowed us to gash them for some big plays.”

“Our offensive line blocked great,” Madnick said. “They created holes, and all I had to do was follow my blocks and sprint through and it was pretty easy from there.”

The Tomahawks had the ball to open the second half, and increased their lead to 34-27 on a 26-yard field goal by Hobert. Southington then pounded the ball down into the red zone, and a fake by Rose resulted in a touchdown pass to a wide-open Anthony Plantamuro.

Dixon gave Glastonbury its final lead with his score, on which he faked to Madnick before hurdling over a few defenders to his destination. The Blue Knights raced down the field in response, and Upham’s 3-yard run on the first play of the fourth tied it at 41.

The fourth was all Southington. While it scored with ease on Rose’s go-ahead TD and then 48 and 25 yard runs from him and Diana, the Tomahawks could not get anything going. They went three and out on their final three drives, with Dixon repeatedly getting smothered on each tackle.

“In the fourth, they identified some plays and we didn’t execute on our inside run game,” Daniels said.

“They loaded the box on our final drives, and we could have done a better job of spreading the ball and playing as a unit,” Madnick said.

Glastonbury has a bye week next week before traveling to East Hartford on the 16th. Daniels was blunt when asked what lessons his team can take away from the loss.

“We must focus on defense and stopping people,” Daniels said. “We can score with the guys we got, but it doesn’t matter if you score 100 points if you give up 101.”

 

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