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Seeking first state title, Rocky Hill runs past Seymour to get date with Ansonia

Rocky Hill's Greg Fernstrom (67) leads Grant Nieves (5) as the Terriers create a clear path in Saturday's CCC Div. 3 West contest in Avon.

It was a team effort for Rocky Hill in the season-opening win over Avon. The Terriers controlled the game by running the ball. They did the same in Monday night’s semifinal win over Seymour. Above, Rocky Hill’s Greg Fernstrom (67) leads Grant Nieves (5).

No one said the season that the Avon High football team had was without challenges. The Falcons played a defending Class S state champion Bloomfield and held their own, carrying a 7-6 lead into the third quarter before falling 20-7.

Now, you can add a state finalist to the mix. Rocky Hill, which beat the Falcons, 49-15 in the season opener back in September, earned a spot in the Class S championship for the first time in school history Monday night with a 42-7 win over Seymour in the state semifinals.

Rocky Hill (11-1) will face undefeated Ansonia (12-0) on Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. at Willow Brook Park in New Britain. Ansonia, in the championship game for the third straight year, is looking for a record 20th state championship.

The Terriers program is just 17 years old having begun in 2000. Rocky Hill is savoring the experience, too, especially after coming so close to a playoff berth a year ago.

Rocky Hill went 8-2 last year but lost 10 bonus points when the Berlin High football team was stripped of nine wins for using ineligible players. With those bonus points, Rocky Hill would have earned a playoff berth. Without them, they sat home penalized for what another program did.

Rocky Hill's Grant Nieves (5) stays ahead of Avon's Leon Asberry (32) and Jack Jones (22) in Saturday's CCC Division III contest in Avon.

Rocky Hill’s Grant Nieves (5) stays ahead of Avon’s Leon Asberry (32) and Jack Jones (22) in the season-opening victory over Avon.

Against Avon, the Terriers rushed for 327 yards and five touchdowns and also scored on a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Daniel Vavallaro. The playbook didn’t change much in the semifinals against Seymour. The Terriers ran for nearly 400 yards of offense to take a 35-0 lead. Running back Grant Nieves, who gained 178 yards on 12 carries, ran 63 yards on the Terriers’ first play and scored on play later on a nine yard run.

Read more about Rocky Hill and Saturday’s championship game from GameTimeCT.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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