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Three one-sided affairs in football finals as Greenwich, Hand, St. Joseph dominate

Hand’s Kevin Girardi ran for 36 yards on this pass reception in Saturday’s Class L championship game in New Britain. Hand rolled in a 54-14 victory. More game photos

NEW BRITAIN, December 8 – It was Championship Saturday with four CIAC championship football games across the state. And you could have called it Blowout Saturday, too.

Three of the four title games were lopsided affairs. Undefeated Greenwich, the No. 1 ranked team in the state, won their first state championship in since 1999 with a 34-0 shutout of New Canaan. John Marinelli, in his fourth season with the Cardinal, led his team past the Rams, coached by his father, Lou Marinelli, who has won more games (331) than any other coach in state history along with 12 state championships.

In Class L, defending champion Hand, the No. 2 ranked team in the state, gave up an early touchdown to upstart Maloney. But the Tigers (13-0) answered with 54 consecutive points to win their second straight Class L championship and the 13th state title in school history with a 54-14 victory. (See related story).

In Class M, St. Joseph-Trumbull won their second straight state championship. A year after taking the Class S title, the Cadets scored on their first eight drives of the game and rolled to a 70-18 victory over Berlin.

St. Joseph (12-1) set a new state record for most points in a championship game in their 52-point victory.

The Class S title game was the most competitive of all. Bloomfield led 12-7 at halftime and used their defense to win their ninth state championship in school history with a 25-7 win over Haddam-Killingworth.

Bloomfield’s offense was impressive all season but it was their defense that helped lift the Warhawks (12-1) to the state championship, forcing three fumbles in the win.

Class LL
Greenwich 34, New Canaan 0
At Boyle Stadium in Stamford, Greenwich QB Gavin Muir completed 24-of-33 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns and ran for a touchdown to lead undefeated Greenwich (13-0) to their eighth state championship in team history.

Muir’s favorite target was receiver A.J. Barber, who caught 10 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns. The Cardinals scored on three of their first four drives including Muir running in on an eight-yard touchdown run with 17 seconds left in the second quarter for a 27-0 lead.

The Greenwich defense stood tall, limiting New Canaan to just 25 yards on the ground, making two interceptions and coming up with four sacks.

Class M
St. Joseph 70, Berlin 18
In Shelton, St. Joseph-Trumbull (12-1) won their 14th state championship with a dominating performance. The 70 points by the Cadets beat the old finals record of 69 points by Weaver-Hartford in a 69-26 win over Darien in the 1999 Class M championship game. Only Ansonia (20) has won more CIAC state titles.

St. Joseph QB David Summers completed 17-of-24 passes for 369 yards and six touchdown passes. Summers also ran for a touchdown, too. Will Diamantis caught five passes for 146 yards and two TDs while Brady Hutchinson pulled in seven receptions for 63 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Teammate Jesse Bike caught four passes for a game-high 162 yards and a touchdown.

Berlin (11-2) was led by Alex Halkias, who had a team-high 89 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He also caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Dunn, who was intercepted five times. The Cadets intercepted the Redcoats six times in the contest.

The 52-point margin of victory is one of the largest in state history. Bloomfield beat Ansonia by 56 points in a 56-0 shutout victory in 1999.

Class S
Bloomfield 25, Haddam-Killingworth 7
At the Class S championship game in New Britain, Bloomfield was too quick on offense with a stellar passing attack and they made the big plays on defense.

Haddam-Killingworth, as they do, rumbled for 256 yards on the ground led by Dalton Modehn with 141 yards on 35 carries. But the Cougars coughed up the ball three times – twice leading to Bloomfield touchdowns.

And the Warhawks were quick on defense with nine tackles for losses and a sack.

The Cougars took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a two-yard run from James Murphy after they had recovered a Bloomfield fumble.

The Warhawks took the lead when Ky’Juon Butler, who ran for a game-high 149 yards on 23 carries, scored on a two-yard run with 8:42 left in the second quarter. The extra point failed and the Cougars held the lead at 7-6.

But on Haddam-Killingworth’s next possession, they coughed up the ball on their second play. On the next play, it was Anthony Simpson scoring on a 56-yard touchdown reception from Daron Bryden with 6:07 left in the second quarter for a 12-7 lead. Bloomfield’s two-point conversion failed.

On Bloomfield’s first drive of the third quarter, the Warhawks marched 91 yards on 12 plays with Michael Raiford scoring on a 30-yard pass from Bryden with 4:03 left in the quarter for an 18-7 advantage. The key play in the drive was Bryden’s 17-yard completion to David Robinson a third down and 16 play to keep the drive alive.

Bloomfield iced the game with a nine play, 50-yard drive in the fourth quarter that finished with Simpson scoring on a 17-yard touchdown reception from Bryden with 8:45 remaining to increase the lead to 25-7. The key play was an 11-yard run from Butler on a fourth down and six on the HK 29-yard line.

Bryden completed 15-of-20 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns. Simpson caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Class LL championship
Greenwich 34, New Canaan 0
At Stamford
New Canaan (10-3)         0    0  0  0  — 0
Greenwich (13-0)             7  20  0  7  — 34
First quarter
G: A.J. Barber 3 pass from Gain Muir (Toby Trumbull kick), 2:27
Second quarter
G: Barber 60 pass from Muir (kick fails), 10:43
G: Hunter Clark 28 pass from Barber (kick fails), 7:35
G: Muir 8 run (Lance Large pass from Muir), 0:17
Fourth quarter
G: Barber 10 pass from Muir (Ben Howarth kick), 5:11
Individual statistics
RUSHING: New Canaan — J.R. Moore 9-28; Zach LaPolice 1-3; C. Sweeney 1-minus 1; Drew Pyne 7-minus 5. Greenwich — Tysen Comizio 22-147; Lance Large 1-0; TEAM 2-minus 4; Gain Muir 4-minus 13.
PASSING: New Canaan — Drew Pyne 16-32-2-106. Greenwich — Gain Muir 24-33-0-252; AJ Barber 1-1-0-28; Garrett Murphy 1-1-0-33.
RECEIVING: New Canaan — Q. O’Connell 7-42; Wyatt Wilson 5-46; Luke Morton 2-14; Zach LaPolice 1-2; J.R. Moore 1-2. Greenwich — AJ Barber 10-157; Lance Large 8-83; Stephen Bennett 3-24; Tysen Comizio 2-7; Hunter Clark 1-28; William Montesi 1-9; Garrett Murphy 1-5.
INTERCEPTIONS: Greenwich-Hunter Cusimano 1-2; Ryan Raybuck 1-0. FUMBLES: New Canaan-Drew Guida 1-0. Greenwich-Gain Muir 1-0.

Class M championship
St. Joseph 70, Berlin 18
At Shelton
Berlin (11-2)                           0    0  12  6  – 18
St. Joseph (12-1)                28  21  14  7  — 70
First quarter
SJ: Brady Hutchison 7 yd pass from David Summers (Luke Kirby kick), 8:15
SJ: Jaden Shirden 60 yd run (Kirby kick), 3:45
SJ: Shirden 5 yd run (Kirby kick), 4:39
SJ: Jesse Bike 15 yd pass from Summers (Kirby kick), 0:22
Second quarter
SJ: Bike 90 pass from Summers (Kirby kick), 10:21
SJ: Will Diamantis 26 pass from Summers (Kirby Kick), 8:46
SJ: Summers 2 run (Kirby kick), 6:04
Third quarter
B: Alex Halkias 60 pass from Kevin Dunn (kick failed), 10:40
B: Dunn 18 run (pass failed), 8:07
SJ: Hutchison 13 pass from Summers (Kirby kick), 5:02
SJ: Diamantis 23 pass from Summers (Kirby kick), 3:12
Fourth quarter
SJ: Jarden Shirden 28 run (Kirby kick), 11:09
B: Halkias 62 run (kick failed), 4:55
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Berlin-Alex Halkias 11-89; Kevin Dunn 8-75; Zachary Hrubiec 7-18; Marco Scarano 4-2; Nick Melville 1-minus 11. St. Joseph-Jaden Shirden 10-167; Justin Williams 9-24; David Summers 4-4; Matt Morrissey 1-minus 8.
PASSING: Berlin-Kevin Dunn 16-32-5-151; Nick Melville 1-5-1-5; G. Tufano 1-1-0-23; Justin Skates 0-1-0-0. St. Joseph-David Summers 17-24-0-369.
RECEIVING: Berlin-G. Tufano 8-54; Alex Halkias 4-84; Zachary Hrubiec 3-22; Marco Scarano 2-14; Mark Addamo 1-5. St. Joseph-Brady Hutchison 7-63; Will Diamantis 5-146; Jesse Bike 4-162; Jaden Shirden 1-minus 2.
INTERCEPTIONS: Berlin-None. St. Joseph-Myles Hall 2-65; Jesse Lawson 2-7; Jack Wallace 1-14; TEAM 1-0. FUMBLES: Berlin-None. St. Joseph-Matt Morrissey 1-0; Justin Williams 1-0.

Class S championship
Bloomfield 25, Haddam-Killingworth 7
At New Britain
H-Killingworth (11-2)      7    0  0  0  — 7
Bloomfield (12-1)             0  12  6  7 – 25
First quarter
HK: James Murphy 2 run (Jordan Callahan kick), 8:44
Second quarter
B: Ky’Juon Butler 2 run (kick fails), 8:42
B: Anthony Simpson 56 pass from Daron Bryden (pass fails), 6:07
Third quarter
B: Michael Raiford 30 pass from Bryden (run fails), 4:03
Fourth quarter
B: Simpson 17 pass from Bryden (Sean Dixon-Brodie kick), 8:45
Individual statistics
RUSHING: HK – Dalton Modehn 35-141, Tobey Callender 15-69, Dalton Brown 4-32, Zach Kauffman 5-18, Trey Callender 2-12, James Murphy 2-minus 16; Bloomfield – Ky’Juon Butler 23-149, Anthony Simpson 3-2, Daron Bryden 1-minus 7
PASSING: HK – Trey Callender 0-1-0, Tobey Callender 1-1-0, 11; Bloomfield – Daron Bryden 15-20-2, 201
RECEIVING: HK – Murphy 1-11; Bloomfield – Anthony Simpson 5-92, David Robinson 4-30, Jayvon Massey 3-37; Michael Raiford 2-40, Butler 1-2
FUMBLE REC: Denzel Patrick (B), Butler (B); INTERCEPTONS: Zach Kauffman (H) 1-0, Dalton Modehn (H) 1-0

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. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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