Collinsville Press recognized with Excellence in Journalism awards

Danny Deitz, center, celebrates after Simsbury’s win with Riley Shanley (1) after catching a touchdown pass in a win over Enfield in November 2016. It was a little over a year after receiving a heart transplant.

NEW HAVEN, May 25 — The Collinsville Press was recognized with three Excellence in Journalism awards from the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at their annual awards banquet. More than 350 awards were presented to journalists across the state.

Editor Gerry deSImas, Jr., received two first place awards in the sports column and sports news categories in the hyperlocal competition. His story on an Avon mother and daughter sharing the school record in the 100 meters for a few weeks was recognized with a first place award in the sports column competition.

His story on Simsbury senior wide receiver Danny Deitz catching a touchdown pass in a football game against Enfield High a little over one year after receiving a heart transplant was recognized with a first place award in the sports news competition.Continue Reading

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.Continue Reading

Hauser helps Granby finish on high note and win the milk jug by beating Canton

Granby's Jack Hauser ran for a game-high 238 yards and 3 TDs in Thursday morning's 43-20 win over Canton.

Granby’s Jack Hauser ran for a game-high 238 yards and scored 3 TDs in Thursday morning’s 43-20 win over Canton.

CANTON, Nov. 24 – There were two young football teams with one victory between them.

The Canton High and Granby High football teams met on Thanksgiving morning and played with passion and enthusiasm that young teams can bring to the field. They also made plenty of mistakes, which made for an entertaining ballgame.

Granby fumbled the ball six times Thursday and lost four of them. Canton turned the ball over three times with interceptions. In the end, Granby Jacob Hauser settled this.

The senior running back ran for a career-high 238 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Bears to a 43-20 victory over Canton to win the old red milk jug and end the season with a victory. The Bears had lost eight straight games after winning on opening day back in September.Continue Reading

With 3 TDs, Penney helps Simsbury hold off upset-minded Avon in season finale

Simsbury High players celebrate with the Valley Gridiron Trophy after beating Avon, 26-13 on Tuesday night at Holdem Field.

Simsbury High players celebrate with the Valley Gridiron Trophy after beating Avon, 26-13 on Tuesday night at Holdem Field.

SIMSBURY, Nov. 22 – In the final game of the year, two high school football teams that have grown significantly throughout the season traded blows in Tuesday night’s Valley Gridiron Classic at Simsbury High School.

It took an inexperienced Avon squad time to learn to play at the varsity level. But they’ve been playing well in the final three weeks of the season and took a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter over a favored Simsbury High squad.

Coming off a 1-9 campaign, Simsbury lost their first four games of the season. But they refused to wilt and won five of their final six contests including a 26-13 win over Avon to capture the Valley Gridiron Classic trophy for the first time.

The difference was Simsbury senior Sean Penney. He scored three of Simsbury’s four touchdowns and each time the Trojans needed a big play, there was Penney breaking tackles downfield and running for big yards.Continue Reading

Season concludes this week for six Valley teams on Thanksgiving week

football graphicThe high school football season comes to end this week for the six teams in the Farmington Valley. When the campaign began in the heat of August, there was plenty of hope and optimism. But 10 weeks later, victories have been hard to find.

A year ago, Granby won 10 games and earned their first CIAC Class S tournament berth. This year, the Bears have won once. Avon won eight games and topped Simsbury for the first time since 1968 at the inaugural Valley Gridiron Classic. This year, a young Falcons team has struggled with just one victory last week at Plainville.

Farmington had hoped to contend in the CCC Division II but has managed just two wins. Lewis Mills had hoped to be in contention for a Class S playoff berth but they’ve won just three games. Canton is still looking for their first win in two years. Simsbury has shown growth. They won just once a year ago but this year, but coach Dave Masters’ squad has won four of nine games with a few close losses.

Here is a little primer for this year’s Turkey Day action. Avon is hosting Simsbury at Holden Field for the second Valley Gridiron Classic on Tuesday evening. Canton and Granby, Farmington and Plainville and Lewis Mills and Nonnewaug square off on Thursday morning. Continue Reading

Canton can’t maintain lead in loss to CREC co-op

Canton freshman Carter Gavin is tackled by two CREC defenders in Saturday's game in Enfield. The Warriors fell, 50-14. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

Canton freshman Carter Gavin is tackled by two CREC defenders in Saturday’s game in Enfield. The Warriors fell, 50-14. (Photo courtesy Bill Brewster)

ENFIELD, Nov. 19 – The Canton High football continues to take steps forward.

The Warriors took a 14-point lead in the first quarter, recovered two fumbles in the game and saw running back Braedon Bean rush for 100 years for the second time this season. Quarterback Alex Higley returned to the starting lineup after missing five games due to ankle injury suffered against Lewis Mills in late September.

But it wasn’t enough as the CREC co-op football team scored 50 unanswered points to win their second game of the season with a 50-14 decision at Public Safety Academy in Enfield. CREC junior Manny Sanchez ran for 194 yards and five touchdowns on 20 carries to lead the Eagles.Continue Reading

Valley Regional/Old Lyme clinches playoff berth with big win over Canton

Canton's Donovan Macklin (22) is stopped by Valley Regional/Old Lyme's Jacob Kruszewski in Saturday's game in Canton. VR/OL won, 41-0.

Canton’s Donovan Macklin (22) is stopped by Valley Regional/Old Lyme’s Jacob Kruszewski in Saturday’s game in Canton. VR/OL won, 41-0.

CANTON, Nov. 12 – Valley Regional/Old Lyme unofficially clinched a CIAC playoff berth for the fifth time in seven years Saturday with a dominating 41-0 Pequot Conference victory over Canton.

Valley Regional/OL scored six touchdowns in the first half, improving to 8-1 on the season and securing an invitation to the Class S tournament. Valley last played in the postseason in 2014 and rallied to beat Ansonia, 21-20 to win the Class S Large Division title.

Ian Humphreys caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Sapere and also scored on a 35-yard interception return. Sapere completed 6-of-8 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns to lead Valley.Continue Reading

Asberry helps Avon earn first victory in 27-6 victory over winless Plainville

Avon senior Leon Asberry ran for a career-high 162 yards and two TDs as the Falcons won for the first time this year with a 27-6 win over Plainville.

Avon senior Leon Asberry (32) ran for a career-high 162 yards and two TDs as the Falcons won for the first time this year with a 27-6 win over Plainville.

PLAINVILLE, Nov. 11 – It’s been a challenging year for the Avon High football team. The Falcons dropped the first eight games of the season for just the second time in the program’s history.

With a young and inexperienced team, they were blown out of some games. But in others, they made just enough mistakes to lose. A week ago, Avon more than 400 yards of offense but they made seven turnovers (four interceptions, three fumbles) in a 22-point loss to Rockville. In a 10-point loss at RHAM, the Falcons made crucial mistakes that ended potential scoring drives.

On Friday night, the Falcons made enough plays to earn their first victory of the season – a 27-6 victory over Plainville in a Central Connecticut Conference Division III contest. Senior Leon Asberry ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries to carry the Falcon offense. QB Dylan Burgos scrambled for 70 yards on six carries.Continue Reading

Canton freshman Carter Gavin runs for school record 235 yards in loss to Morgan

Canton freshman Carter Gavin (21) set a school record with 235 yards rushing Friday night against Morgan School.

Canton freshman Carter Gavin (21) set a school record with 235 yards rushing Friday night against Morgan School.

CLINTON, Nov. 4 – The Canton High football team continues to make progress. On Friday night, the Warriors had a season-high 416 yards on offense and scored a pair of touchdowns in a 48-14 Pequot Conference loss to Morgan School in Clinton. In their previous six games, Canton had scored just 12 points.

Sophomore quarterback Dugan Lloyd had a career-high 10 completions for a career-high 124 yards and a touchdown. However, freshman running back Carter Gavin had the best day. He set a new single game school record with 235 yards rushing and a touchdown on 23 carriers.

Gavin is just the fourth Canton runner to rush for more than 200 yards in a single game. Gavin’s longest run was for 60 yards and his last four rushes went for 17, 16, 22 and 44 yards, respectively. Gavin broke the record of 226 yards set by Sebby Gumbs against Hyde-New Haven in 2014.Continue Reading

Seven turnovers handcuff Avon in loss to Rockville

Avon QB Dylan Burgos ran for a career-high 200 yards Friday in a loss to Rockville as the Falcons had more than 400 yards of offense.

Avon QB Dylan Burgos ran for a career-high 200 yards Friday in a loss to Rockville as the Falcons had more than 400 yards of offense.

VERNON, Nov. 4 – The Avon High football team scored a season-high 26 points Friday night against Rockville and the Falcons piled up more than 400 yard of offense. Quarterback Dylan Burgos ran for a career-high 200 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

But Avon made far too many mistakes. They turned the ball over seven times – four interceptions and three lost fumbles – in a 48-26 loss to Rockville in a CCC Division III East contest.

Rockville’s Mark Henry ran for 159 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Rams (3-5, 2-1 CCC Div. III East). Rockville’s Tyler Allen had three interceptions and returned a fumble 63 yards for a touchdown. Malik Tate had a 29-yard interception return and recovered a fumble.Continue Reading

Deitz, who received a heart transplant, scores TD in Simsbury’s win over Enfield

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Simsbury receiver Danny Deitz scores a touchdown on a 7-yard reception in Friday night’s 52-21 victory over Enfield.

ENFIELD, Nov. 4 – A little over a year ago, Simsbury senior Danny Deitz was in a Boston hospital fighting to live. He was on an operating table at Boston Children’s Hospital getting a heart transplant.

He had hoped to be playing football with his friends on the Simsbury High football team as they had dreamed of since they were youngsters playing Pop Warner football. Deitz needed a new heart because his heart was damaged by cardiomyopathy. His heart was enlarged and unable to pump blood properly.

On Friday night, Deitz brought tears to the eyes of the fans of the Trojans. He filled his teammates and his coach David Masters with great joy, catching a pair of passes including a seven-yard touchdown in the third quarter as Simsbury won their fourth straight game with a 52-14 win over Enfield.

Deitz underwent successful heart transplant surgery last September. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver got the clearance to play football earlier this year. He caught his first pass a week ago in a win over Bulkeley/Weaver/HMTCA.

Simsbury's Danny Deitz, left, and Sean Penney celebrate after Simsbury's 52-21 win over Enfield on Friday night.

Simsbury’s Danny Deitz, left, and Sean Penney celebrate after Simsbury’s 52-21 win over Enfield on Friday night.

Continue Reading

Council moves project to install two turf fields at Avon High to BOE for review

The Town Council has endorsed a proposal to upgrade two fields at Avon High. Above is the proposed main field and track and field complex.

The Town Council has endorsed a proposal to upgrade two fields at Avon High. Above is the proposed main field and track and field complex.

AVON, Nov. 3 – The town of Avon continues to move forward with a proposal to install a synthetic turf field at Avon High School.

The Avon Town Council endorsed a $4.6 million proposal to upgrade athletic facilities at Avon High School Thursday night and will forward the initiative to the Board of Education for their comment and approval.

The proposal includes a synthetic turf field on the site of the current football field, a new eight-lane track and field facility, new bleachers that seat 1,000 fans, a press box, plant buffers for neighbors on West Avon Road and Sudbury Way and a synthetic turf field on the current field hockey field.

The initiative does not include lights around the main field. But it will include conduit so that lights could be installed at the future date.Continue Reading

P&Z in Canton continues hearing on lights at high school field until Nov. 16

The public hearing about the installation of lights around Canton High's field has been extended to Nov. 16.

The public hearing about the installation of lights around Canton High’s field has been extended to Nov. 16.

CANTON, Nov. 2 – The Canton Planning and Zoning Commission heard public comments Wednesday night about a proposal to install permanent lights surrounding the synthetic turf field at Canton High School and voted to continue the public hearing until Wednesday, Nov. 16, according to a story in Canton Compass. The Compass reports that it would cost an estimated $230,000 to install four 80-foot towers and lights. Read more from our friends at the Canton Compass.

Canton drops contest to elusive Kristian Sapp and Cromwell/Portland

Cromwell/Portland's Kristian Sapp (33) scored 5 TDs Saturday but also played stellar defense. He bats away a pass from Canton receiver Ta'ki Blizzard in the end zone.

Cromwell/Portland’s Kristian Sapp (33) scored 5 TDs Saturday but also played stellar defense. He bats away a pass from Canton receiver Ta’ki Blizzard in the end zone.

CANTON, Oct. 29 – The Canton High football team had five first downs on a first quarter scoring drive as they found the end zone for the first time in three games Saturday against undefeated Cromwell/Portland.

But it wasn’t enough as Cromwell’s Kristian Sapp scored five touchdowns to lead the undefeated Panthers to a dominating 53-6 decision in Pequot Conference action. Sapp ran for a game-high 211 yards and four touchdowns on eight carries. He also scored on a 42-yard punt return.

Sapp also had four touchdowns called back due to penalties. A 51-yard punt return and a 60-yard interception return were called back due to penalties along with a 39-yard run and a five-yard run. The Panthers (6-0) were called for 13 penalties in the game.Continue Reading

Quinion and his Northwest Catholic grid team run over Avon in 13-0 victory

Leon Asberry cuts through the middle of the Northwest Catholic defensive line in Friday night's CCC contest in Avon.

Leon Asberry cuts through the middle of the Northwest Catholic defensive line in Friday night’s CCC contest in Avon.

AVON, October 28 – As the head coach of the Avon High football team for 10 years from 2003 through 2012, Brett Quinion wasn’t shy about running the football. Ross McDonald and John Rowley each ran for over 1,000 yards in multiple seasons while Colin Moore twice ran over 2,000 yards in a season.

Quinion still loves to run the ball.

His Northwest Catholic football team rushed for 222 yards and a pair of touchdowns Friday night under the lights against Avon and held the ball for 9:08 in the second quarter to help the Lions to a 13-0 victory over the Falcons under temporary lighting at the high school as part of the Spirit Week celebration.

Avon, which drops to 0-7 with a seventh straight loss, has scored just two touchdowns and 14 points in the last three games.Continue Reading