SIMSBURY, Oct. 29 – The babes are growing up.
Simsbury’s Josh Helmkamp (32) helped spark the Trojan offense with 110 yards rushing against Southington. He also provided extra speed and pressure for the defensive unit.
The Simsbury High football team continues to grow and mature as the season progresses. The Trojans (2-5, 2-3 CCC Division I) didn’t come out with a win on Friday night against Southington but they played much better than they did in recent losses to Berlin and Manchester.
Southington (6-1, 5-1) beat Simsbury for the sixth time in seven meetings since the series resumed in 2004 with a 41-28 victory.
However, the game was tied 14-14 after one quarter and the Trojans were within one touchdown for most of the contest. Simsbury quarterback Kyle Decker ran for three touchdowns and 77 yards while teammate Andrew Girard ran for a team-high 115 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries.
“There was a lot of improvement,” said senior linebacker Josh Gowdy, who had nearly 10 tackles in the second half. “We get better every week. We didn’t win but we played a much better game than we have been.”
The return of defensive back/running back Josh Helmkamp was extremely helpful. “We have a speed threat and everyone is getting into a groove,” Gowdy said. “Everyone is becoming a varsity player.”
Helmkamp helped solidify the defense while sparking the offense with 103 yards on 10 carries.
It didn’t look promising at the beginning when Southington’s Jordan Chapman returned the opening kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown and Simsbury ran just six plays on its first offensive possession before punting the ball.
But when Southington’s Matt Scapati fumbled the ball, Simsbury’s Garrett Crowe recovered on the Southington 39-yard line. Helmkamp’s 24-yard run down the sideline moved the ball to the five-yard line. Two plays later, Decker scored from the four to tie the game at 7-7.
“I like our intensity and our work ethic,” Simsbury coach Jeff Osborne said. “The kids come and want to learn. They don’t think of the record. They just play and get better.”
Southington took a 14-7 lead on a 50-yard pass from freshman quarterback Stephen Barmore to Zach Wholley. But Simsbury responded immediately with a seven-play, 63-yard drive that ended with Decker scoring on a one-yard touchdown run with 2:12 left in the first quarter. The key play in the drive was a 38-yard pass from Decker to Helmkamp, who leapfrogged over a Knight defender for an extra five yards.
Southington took a 21-14 lead late in the second quarter on an eight-play, 68-yard drive. Simsbury’s offense shrugged their shoulders and went back to work – except they made a crucial error.
A mishandled pitch from Decker hit the turf and Southington’s Andrew Walowski scooped it up and rambled 40 yards for the touchdown and a 28-14 lead with 1:54 left in the second quarter.
Simsbury scored on its opening possession of the third quarter, keyed with a 21-yard run by Helmkamp who shook off several attempted tackles to race the ball to the Southington six-yard line. Girard scored from the six.
After Southington convered on three third-down plays and scored to extend the lead to 35-20, Simsbury again made it a one score game with Decker scoring from the four-yard line with 2:10 left in the quarter. Girard had the big play on the drive with a 49-yard ramble.
Trailing 35-28, Southington took advantage of another Simsbury fumble. After hard running and getting a first down, Girard lost the ball near the Simsbury 40 and Southington’s Nick Gothberg recovered. It took six straight running plays from Matt Scarpati to move the ball 35 yards and score from the seven for a 41-28 lead.
Scarpati was hurt late in the game when he landed on the ball and dislocated his hip. Simsbury tries to get back on the winning track when they travel to South Windsor on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Southington 41, Simsbury 28
Southington 14 14 7 6 — 41
Simsbury 14 0 14 0 — 28
South: Jordan Chapman 81 kickoff return (Chapman kick), 11:46
Sims: Kyle Decker 4 run (Andrew Melanson kick), 7:20
South: Zach Wholley 50 pass from Stephen Barmore (Chapman kick), 4:44
Sims: Decker 1 run (Melanson kick), 2:12
South: Barmore 1 run (Chapman kick), 2:47
South: Andrew Walowski 40 fumble return (Chapman kick), 1:54
Sims: Andrew Gerard 5 run (kick failed), 9:17
South: Tyler Dube 5 pass from Barmore (Chapman kick), 3:27
Sims: Decker 4 run (Josh Helmkamp run), 2:10
South: Matt Scarpati 6 run (kick failed), 8:20
RUSHING: Simsbury – Josh Helmkamp 10-103, Kyle Decker 21-77, Andrew Girard 20-115, Blair Zentek 1-8, Dom Gerardi 2-9; Southington – Zach Wholley 6-7, Tyler Dube 1-7, Stephen Barmore 14-88, Matt Scarpati 21-119
PASSING: Simsbury – Decker 1-3-0, 38; Helmkamp 0-2-2, 0; Southington – Barmore 13-19-0, 182
RECEIVING: Simsbury – Helmkamp 1-38; Southington – Dube 7-94; Wholley 1-50, Andrew Walowski 2-16, Jordan Chapman 2-14, Bryan Kaminski 1-8
Fumble recovery – Southington: Walowski 1-40, Nick Gothberg 1-5; Simsbury – Andrew Girard, Kyle Decker
Interceptions – Southington: Jordan Chapman 1-17, Nick Gothberg 1-15