Glastonbury Overwhelmed in Third Quarter in Loss to East Hartford

By Danny Atkinson 

GLASTONBURY-After a poor start to Friday night’s home game against CCC football rival East Hartford, Glastonbury appeared to have a lot of momentum heading into halftime. The Tomahawks responded to a Raquan Tompkins touchdown pass with a highly efficient drive of its own, ending with Matthew Tenney pounding the ball in from the Hornets goal line and making the score 21-14 with 2:03 remaining. The defense then had its first quality stand of the game, not allowing Tompkins to make any big plays while forcing East Hartford into a three and out.

With Glastonbury’s offense looking strong , the possibility of an early second half tie seemed very realistic. Then, the third quarter started and things fell apart for the Tomahawks. They allowed the Hornets three touchdowns on just four plays and four in the quarter, and couldn’t do anything on offense, throwing two interceptions. GHS (2-2) went on to lose 49-21, with East Hartford remaining undefeated.

The Hornets (4-0) wasted no time wrestling momentum right back. Tompkins caught Gabriel Florian’s kickoff at the 6-yard line and went to work, weaving through the Tomahawks special teams unit and leaving everyone in the dust as he raced into the end zone. The touchdown return handed EHS a 28-14 lead just 17 seconds into the half.

The GHS offense went three and out to start the half, with the plays a harbinger of things to come. Quarterback Drew Daniels and Tenney were heavily pressured by the defensive front line, with Tenney losing 12 yards on the first play. On Daniels third down pass, his chosen receiver was not looking and nearly got hit in the back.

A poor kick by Florian gave the Hornets the ball at the Glastonbury 39-yard line, and Tompkins was again rearing to go. On their first play, the senior scrambled away from the man-to-man defense and quickly found open space. He sprinted down the left sideline while avoiding and breaking away from multiple tackle attempts, even immediately picking up a fumble to punctuate the touchdown. Tompkins third TD run of the game forced the Tomahawks into a 21-point deficit just 2:04 into the half.

Glastonbury received strong field position when it got the ball back, starting at the 44, but took no advantage of it. Following two incomplete passes, Daniels was hit hard on third down, forcing a wobbly pass that was intercepted by Zachary Hill along the right sideline. The turnover was even more frustrating due to two Tomahawk receivers being open.

East Hartford again received the ball in a favorable spot at Glastonbury’s 44, with Florian’s kick nearly being blocked. This time, it took “only” two plays for the Hornets to score, with Tompkins connecting with Jaquan Allen on a 42-yard pass at the 8:13 mark. Multiple Tomahawks defenders were out of position and unable to get good angles to tackle the agile Allen, who gave his squad a 42-14 lead.

“Especially in the third, we just didn’t make plays on defense,” Glastonbury head coach Scott Daniels said. “We missed a lot of tackles and were out of position, and when you do that against East Hartford they’re going to get big plays and score.”

Glastonbury wasn’t able to put a drive together following the Hornets third touchdown, again going three and out. Backup junior quarterback Brandon Valdes missed on his pass attempt.

East Hartford scored its final touchdown on the next drive. EHS went 58 yards in 7 plays, with Samuel Valentine ultimately catching Tompkins 14-yard pinpoint pass for the score. Tompkins was able to create separation by running the ball briefly, and Valentine beat defensive backs on his route. Following the extra point, the Hornets led 49-14 with 2:54 remaining in the third.

“Tompkins was able to get away from our guys a lot of times, he’s very fast. At halftime we spoke about the importance of defending him and making tackles, but they didn’t do their job,” Scott said.

The Tomahawks were able to get solid field position, starting the next drive at their own 43rd, but ended the quarter on a sour note with another interception, this time thrown by Valdes. He began the drive with a big play by taking a quarterback keeper all the way down to the 25, but threw an interception in the corner of the end zone which was caught by Jayden Gardener. The play took too long to develop, with there being little room to complete the pass.

“Our offense did not execute as well in the second half. It could not consistently move the ball and missed on some big plays, and we made poor decisions,” Scott said.

“We had scoring opportunities but we didn’t take advantage of them like a successful team should,” Drew Daniels said. “We let East Hartford’s momentum affect us negatively and didn’t respond like we did in the first half.”

Glastonbury played better on both sides of the ball in the fourth, with East Hartford deliberately slowing down its offense with such a large lead. With Daniels back in the game, the Tomahawks started a drive at East Hartford’s 28. They slowly moved towards the end zone on the legs of Daniels and Tenney, and on the ninth play of the drive the offense finally struck. Daniels was able to roll out to his left and make a pinpoint pass to an open Andreas Ramirez, finally getting the team back on the board with 1:53 remaining and scoring the final points of the game.

Glastonbury played much better in the first half, particularly in the second quarter and on offense. The beginning of the game was ugly for the Tomahawks, as they fumbled the opening kickoff and the Hornets recovered at the GHS 8-yard line. Four plays later, Tompkins ran in the ball from one yard out to immediately put his squad up. After the Tomahawks went three and out, East Hartford went on a 10 play, 75-yard drive. Multiple big plays by Tompkins got EHS inside the 20 and it pounded the ball in from there, with Tompkins running the ball up the middle and in on fourth and one at the 5:20 mark. Glastonbury responded with a highly efficient drive led by the tandem of Daniels and Tenney. The pair ran the ball well with the help of the offensive line, with Daniels showing impressive agility on multiple runs and passes. Tenney ultimately ran for a 4-yard TD up the middle, cutting the deficit to 14-7 3:20 into the second.

Following Tompkins 30-yard TD pass to Allen with 4:56 remaining, on which the senior receiver cut through the middle of the defense and beat multiple defenders, the Tomahawks showed resiliency on an impressive drive. Daniels gained yet another first down on a keeper to open the drive and followed with a quality run and throw play to Ramirez. After a facemask penalty allowed the offense to advance the ball all the way to the 5-yard line, GHS attempted to run for a touchdown. Tenney gained three yards on first and 10, but Daniels was unable to get no push on consecutive keepers. On the biggest play of the game however, Tenney muscled the ball to make it 21-14, also the halftime score.

“I was really proud of the drive and scoring on fourth and goal from the one, we made a big push on the offensive front,” Drew said.

The QB discussed the biggest differences between the team’s play in the first and second halves.

“As a team we did a great job of responding to adversity after their first touchdown, putting up one to counteract their score. We moved in the ball well in the first against a very big and physical defensive front. We didn’t have many negative plays, but had too many in the second half. Against a good team like East Hartford, you can’t have a lot of negative plays and expect to win the game,” he said.

Daniels ran for 49 yards and threw for a touchdown, with Ramirez finishing with three catches. Tenney ran for two touchdowns, with Valdes earning 36 yards on the ground. On defense, Brandon Myers and Nana Yaw Agyeman each led the Tomahawks with nine tackles, and three players earned seven. Tompkins threw for 139 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 97 yards and three more TDs, adding his kickoff return score for good measure. Allen’s two catches were both touchdowns. In the second half, East Hartford outgained Glastonbury 146-67 in the second half.

Glastonbury has another tough matchup coming on Friday at 3-1 Enfield. Scott and Drew Daniels both said the Tomahawks must use the lessons of the loss to work hard in practice on improving in essential areas and making sure they’re completely focused. If they do so, they will be prepared for Enfield.

“We gotta be ready to examine where we didn’t execute in this game and work as hard as possible in practice this week on ensuring the issues don’t happen in upcoming games. These guys must be completely focused next Friday,” Scott said.

“We’re going to focus on Monday. Enfield is going to be our focus. Tonight wasn’t a good feeling but we learn from it and move on,” Drew said.

 

 

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