Undefeated Avon takes care of business in win over Canton

Avon's Abbey Hagan tries to make a pass despite the defensive efforts of Canton's Sarah First.

Avon’s Abbey Hagan tries to make a pass despite the defensive efforts of Canton’s Sarah First.

AVON – The rivalry between Canton and Avon has been the most competitive in field hockey. Despite Avon’s recent dominance in the series, it is believed to be the only sport where Canton has an edge in the overall series that dates back to 1972.

Avon’s players didn’t forget Canton’s victory in the season opener a year ago. The Warriors prevailed, 1-0, on a penalty stroke, beating the Falcons for the first time since 2007. “This week before the game, the players reminded each other of that fact. They did that on their own,” Avon coach Terri Ziemnicki said. “It’s a serious game.”

Avon came out and took care of business on Thursday improving to 4-0 with a dominating 2-0 decision over Canton. Shelly George scored a pair of goals in the first half for Avon, which owned a 14-1 advantage in shots on goal and a 12-1 advantage in penalty corners. Emily Stross and Hannah Deppe each had assists for Avon.

“We played together well,” Ziemnicki said. “We’re utilizing the strengths we have and working on the things we need to work on. It’s a matter of gaining confidence in ourselves and getting comfortable.”Continue Reading

Canton boys run with the big schools at Stratton Brook, take fifth

XC boys DSC_3816SIMSBURY – Canton High boys cross country coach Tim O’Donnell doesn’t want to pick up a trophy for the sake of winning a trophy. His goals include having the Warriors be competitive in the upcoming NCCC championships in mid-October and the Class S championship race one week later.

That’s why Canton ran in the Large School Division at the 34th annual Stratton Brook Invitational Saturday. Canton finished fifth behind Staples, Hall, Simsbury and Glastonbury. The combined time for Canton’s five runners would have been good enough to win the Small Division championship. But O’Donnell wants to push his runners to get better.Continue Reading

Daley has 4 TDs in record Canton win; Simsbury now 2-0; historic FG for Mills

Canton's Cam Daley scored 4 TDs vs. Stafford/East Windsor.

Canton’s Cam Daley scored 4 TDs vs. Stafford/East Windsor.

STAFFORD, Sept. 19 – Cam Daley scored four touchdowns Friday night as the Canton High football team won its second game of the year with a dominating 46-0 victory over Stafford/East Windsor. 

Daley scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff with an 80-yard run and added three more rushing touchdowns of 10, 16 and seven yards. He became the seventh player in school history to score four TDs in a single game. 

Dan Delos led the way for the Warriors, rushing for 156 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Canton led 27-0 after one quarter and 46-0 at halftime. The Warriors controlled the game, rushing for 254 yards. Continue Reading

Black Wolves will be name of state’s new lacrosse team playing at Mohegan Sun

PrintUNCASVILLE –The Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun offered the appropriate setting Friday as the new name for the National Lacrosse League franchise recently relocated from Philadelphia was unveiled. 

The team will be called the New England Black Wolves. 

“In ancient times, the Mohegan Tribe was part of the ‘Wolf Clan’ of the Delaware Indian Nation, making its way down through New York State in pursuit of the resources of the Connecticut shoreline,” Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Kevin Brown said, explaining the choice of nickname. “Now, over 400 years later, the wolves are back in a new way on that shoreline – giving a team name and a new team spirit to Mohegan territory.” Continue Reading

Granby can’t hold onto ball in big loss to Avon

Granby's Connor Field is surrounded by Avon's Gabe Folkwein (51), Luke Meaney (80) and Andrew Marshall (44) in Friday night's win in Granby,

Granby’s Connor Field is surrounded by Avon’s Gabe Folkwein (51), Luke Meaney (80) and Andrew Marshall (44) in Friday night’s win in Granby,

GRANBY – The Granby High football team has installed a new option veer offense this year. When run well, the option veer is an offense of deception and big runs. The Bears are still learning how to run it. 

Granby fumbled eight times and lost six as Avon dominated in a 50-21 victory Friday night under the lights. The Falcons ran back two fumbles for touchdowns and rebounded from an opening week loss to Ellington/Somers. 

“Our problem right now is execution,” Granby coach Rich Gadoury said. “When we execute, this team will be a dangerous football team. We come to play football and we like to hit. But when you put the ball down on the carpet six times, you’re not winning football games.” 

A week ago, Granby (0-2) coughed up the four times in a loss to 41-14 loss to Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby. That’s 10 turnovers in two games. “It’s the speed of playing against another varsity team,” he said. “We’re young. We have only four seniors in the whole program.” Continue Reading

Suffield girls halt Avon’s long winning streak; Avon and Canton boys undefeated

There will be no undefeated this season for the Avon High girls cross country team. Suffield handed the Falcons their first dual meet loss since the 2010 season on Wednesday in Bolton with a 26-30 decision. 

Suffield (6-0) placed four runners in sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth place to edge Avon (5-1) and end their dual meet winning streak at 44 matches. Molly Hamel won the race by 30 seconds in a time of 20:26 and Christina Martin took third in 21:10. Ryley Higgins was fifth overall but there was a gap before Avon’s next runner came across the line in 10th place. 

Avon (5-1) will get another shot at Suffield and a possible fourth straight NCCC championship on Saturday, October 18 at the league championship meet in Windsor Locks. Each team earns one point for each NCCC team they defeat in the dual meet season and one point for each team they beat at the league championship meet. Suffield handed Avon its most recent dual meet loss in October 2010.Continue Reading

Long-time soccer series ends with Avon’s shutout win over Canton

Avon's Ian Jalbert (34) and Canton's Nico Tuccillo (9) battle for the ball in Tuesday's NCCC contest in Avon.

Avon’s Ian Jalbert (34) and Canton’s Connor Gillooly (9) battle for the ball in Tuesday’s NCCC contest in Avon.

AVON – For Avon and Canton, the longest rivalry is now history.

The two schools, who began playing each other in boys soccer in 1969, played their final contest Tuesday at Fisher Meadows. As it has been for most of the past three decades, Avon came away as the victory with a 3-0 decision.

Avon will join the Central Connecticut Conference next fall. There are no opportunities for non-league contests in the CCC so the rivalry with Canton comes to an end after 80 games. It’s the longest rivalry in soccer for both schools.

For the first 14 years, the series was even. In the last 30 years, Canton has beaten Avon just five times and tied seven. Its final win over the Falcons came in 2012 with a 4-2 decision at Bowdoin Field.

Long-time Canton coach Bill Phelps will miss the rivalry and the challenge of playing the Falcons, who have been playing in the Class L tournament for the past seven years, earning trips to the championship game in 2011 and 2012.Continue Reading

Big plays help Ellington/Somers beat Avon on opening day

It takes three Ellington/Somers defenders to drive Avon's Teddy Allmendinger out of bounds in Saturday's game in Avon. Jake Arnold, Izaiah Castro-Vega and Shane McGowan are in on the tackle.

It takes three Ellington/Somers defenders to drive Avon’s Teddy Allmendinger out of bounds in Saturday’s game in Avon. Jake Arnold, Izaiah Castro-Vega and Shane McGowan are in on the tackle.

AVON – Avon High junior quarterback Ian McDonald had escaped the pressure, moved to his left and was racing down the sideline with open field ahead of him. It looked like he was on his way to his second touchdown of the season.

But Ellington/Somers sophomore Wellington Silva refused to give up on the play. As he ran from the other side of the field, he was thinking of the late Austin Tautkus, a former Ellington High player who passed away in June after getting injured in an off-road accident. “I was thinking of Austin to be honest,” Silva said. “I was thinking of him when I was running. I was doing what Austin would have done and hit him.”

McDonald had run 39 yards before Silva caught him near the 10-yard line and popped him, driving him out of bounds. Unfortunately, McDonald, who had run for 101 yards and a touchdown in three previous carries, was injured on the play. He never returned to the game.

From that point, Avon’s offense struggled. Ellington/Somers’ Mark Hickman scored four touchdowns including a tipped pass for a touchdown at the end of the second quarter as the Purple Knights picked up a very satisfying 28-14 Pequot Conference Uncas Division win over Falcons Saturday in the season opener for both teams. Continue Reading

Avon girls take home another trophy from Haddad Windham Invitational

WILLIMANTIC – For the second time in three years, the Avon High girls cross country team won a championship at the Haddad Windham Invitational.

The Falcons finished in the girls varsity II race Saturday by placing five girls in the top 22. Senior Molly Hamel won the 3.1 mile race in 19:37. Christina Martin was eighth in 20:27 while Ryley Higgins was 12th in 21:03. Rounding out the top five was Kristen Goldie (18), Rachel Martin (21) and Gabriella Colletti (22).

Avon outlasted E.O. Smith by a margin of 60-72. Avon didn’t compete in the race a year ago but won the girls varsity II race in 2012, led by Rachael Rosow, who the race. Hamel, then a sophomore, was third that year. Continue Reading

Touchdowns in bunches allow Simsbury to pull away from Farmington

Simsbury's Grasson Foster (6) moves downfield in Friday night's win over Farmington. Sam Collins (3) looks to help block.

Simsbury’s Grasson Foster (6) moves downfield in Friday night’s win over Farmington. Sam Collins (3) looks to help block.

FARMINGTON – It was simply a matter of time for the Simsbury High football team Friday night in its season opening contest against Farmington.

The visiting Trojans were knocking on the door. Twice in the first half, they were inside the 10-yard line. Both times they were turned away – one of the reasons that Simsbury held just a one point lead at halftime.

But Simsbury scored two touchdowns in 16 seconds at the end of the third quarter and added another two touchdowns in 33 seconds midway through the fourth quarter to break open a close contest and beat Farmington, 42-12. The win spoiled the first athletic contest ever on Farmington’s new artificial turf surface.

“We wore them out in the second half,” Simsbury coach Jeff Osborn said. “That’s what we want to do to teams.” Continue Reading

Canton marches past Tigerhawks to win season opener

Canton's Cam Daley scored 2 TDs and ran for a career-high 107 yards in Thursday night's win over SMSA/University at Dillon Stadium.

Canton’s Cam Daley scored 2 TDs and ran for a career-high 107 yards in Thursday night’s win over SMSA/University at Dillon Stadium.

HARTFORD – The Canton High football didn’t surprise the SMSA/University Thurday night at Dillon Stadium. The Tigerhawks knew that the Warriors would run the ball. They simply couldn’t stop them. 

Canton ran for 222 yards and had three long scoring drives of 10 or more plays as the Warriors rolled to a 35-6 Pequot Conference Uncas Division win on opening night. On the other side of the ball, Canton gave up just one yard rushing to the Tigerhawks and had an interception, two sacks and seven tackles for losses. 

“I’m proud of them,” Canton coach Paul Philippon said. “It was a good effort but we made a lot of mistakes. We’ll learn from this and more forward. They are a bunch of workers.” 

Senior Cam Daley was all over the field. He ran 17 times for a career-high 107 yards and two touchdowns. He caught a 21-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Alex Higley and completed 1-of-2 passes for 32 yards. “He was born a football player,” Philippon joked afterward. Continue Reading

Avon girls extend record cross country streak, Canton boys win three in opener

Molly Hamel finished fifth in Class MM to earn a spot in the State Open.

Avon senior Molly Hamel

It’s a new season in high school cross country and the Avon High girls cross country team continues to build upon an amazing streak. 

The Falcons opened the season Wednesday with three wins over Coventry, East Windsor and Sport Medicine Science Academy to extend its dual meet winning streak to 44 meets. Avon (3-0, 3-0 NCCC) had seven girls finish in the top 10 to beat Coventry, 22-37 and shutout East Windsor and SMSA by scores of 15-50. 

The Canton High boys cross country team opened the season with three wins while Avon also picked up three wins. The Canton girls cross country team won two of three dual meets while the Granby boys and girls runners won one dual meet each. Continue Reading

Avon vs. Canton rivalry takes its final bow this year

Canton players celebrate after scoring a touchdown on the final play of the game to beat Avon for the first time ever.

Last September, Canton players celebrate after scoring a touchdown on the final play of the game to beat Avon for the first time ever.

It’s hard for the current athletes at Canton High and Avon High to fathom the intensity that once was part of the rivalry between the schools that burned brightly through the early 1980s. In the past 25 years, there have been flickers of excitement between the two schools but it has been brief.

It was rekindled in boys basketball in 2009 when the two squads battled for a NCCC championship. In boys soccer, the two teams shared the NCCC championship in 2002 and were among the top teams in the league in 2003. In field hockey, Canton was a perennial thorn to Avon throughout the 1990s.

This rivalry takes its final bow this season.

Avon will join the Central Connecticut Conference (CCC) next fall. Canton will remain in the North Central Connecticut Conference (NCCC). Outside of two seasons in the early 1980s when Canton left the Northwest Conference to play as an independent, next fall will be the first time the two neighboring schools won’t be in the same league since 1965.Continue Reading

Simsbury hungry to get back on the winning track

Coach Jeff Osborne and the Trojans are looking for a winning season this fall.

Coach Jeff Osborne and the Trojans are looking for a winning season this fall.

SIMSBURY – A lot of work went into preparing for the 2013 campaign by the Simsbury High football team. A 2-9 record wasn’t well received among the athletes – some who began preparation for the football season by working out and lifting weights during the dead of winter in January.

“Some of the guys have been at it since January,” Simsbury coach Jeff Osborne said. “Last year was a tough year, especially if you have preparing since January. It made the kids hungry.

Osborne is hopeful that Simsbury can get back on the winning track this season. The Trojans will be running its triple option veer offense as they have since Osborne took over eight years ago. The offensive line is filled with experienced linemen and Simsbury has a pair of quarterbacks who can play. Continue Reading

Mills optimistic they can continue to build their program

Lewis Mills begins its fifth varsity season this week at Hyde in New Haven.

Lewis Mills begins its fifth varsity season this week at Hyde in New Haven.

BURLINGTON – The Lewis Mills High School football just can’t seem to catch a break. After nearly a decade of being part of a co-op team with St. Paul in Bristol, the Spartans finally got enough players to form their own team in 2010.

They were accepted into the Pequot Conference and placed in the Sassacus Division with teams from the shoreline and the greater Middletown area – some of the stronger teams in the Pequot Conference. Mills took their lumps for three years, winning just four games.

In 2013, the Pequot Conference realigned into three divisions and Mills was placed in the Western Division with teams from the northwest corner of the state. The Spartans went 2-9 on the field but they were more competitive. One of the more exciting games was a 17-14 loss to Granby thanks to a 36-yard field goal in the final four seconds of regulation. Continue Reading