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Manchester, Devalve too quick for Trojans

SIMSBURY, Oct. 8 – The Simsbury High football had no business staying close to Manchester High in Friday night’s CCC Division I contest in Simsbury. Indian QB Seth Devalve frustrated the Simsbury defense in the first half by rushing for 70 yards on nine carries and completing 13-of-18 passes for 137 yards.

Yet, the visiting Indians led by just seven points at the half, 13-7 and Simsbury was just one big play away from tying the game or moving into the lead.

Simsbury was able to come up with a few big plays but Manchester had more in 27-18 victory. Simsbury QB Kyle Decker rushed for a game-high 158 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries and threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Blair Zenteck in the fourth quarter.

But Devalve led Manchester on a pair of quick touchdown drives (five and seven plays, respectively) in the second half to put Manchester (3-1, 3-1 CCC Division I) in control for good.

“If you’re going to play in our league (CCC Division I), there will be some fast, big kids that we have play,” Simsbury coach Jeff Osborne said. “We were a half second behind on everything – missing some tackles, missing some blocks”

Mistakes haunted Simsbury (1-3, 1-2). They missed three extra points. One snap was bobbled by the holder, one kick sailed under the crossbar and a two-point conversion was rushed when a player was late getting on the field.

A bad snap on the first punt of the game gave Manchester the ball on the Simsbury 22-yard line. The Indians scored two plays later to take a 7-0 lead. Manchester took a 13-0 lead on its second drive, marching 66 yards on 12 plays. Devalve completed 4-of-6 passes for 34 yards and rushed for 34 yards on the drive. Chris Turner capped the drive by scoring from the 1-yard line with 3:35 left.

“It looked like initially that he could almost do what he wanted at times, throwing off his back foot and making things happen,” Manchester coach Marco Pizzoferrato said.

With some quick throws, Devalve was able to move the Indians up the field quickly. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns, nine to teammate Carlos Deleon for 103 yards.

Simsbury remained in the game thanks to its relentless veer offense that ate up time, moved the ball and keep Devalve on the sidelines. A 13-play drive to the Manchester 10 yard line stalled due to a pair of penalties but ate up nearly six minutes.

Simsbury trimmed the lead to 13-6 on a 99-yard drive with Decker rushing for 47 yards on five carries including runs of 27, 16 and 12 yards. Andrew Girard rambled for 26 yards on the drive. Decker scored from the one with 2:15 left in the half. The extra point failed when the snapped dropped the ball.

Manchester took a 19-6 lead on its first drive of the second half on a 43-yard touchdown pass from Devalve to Deleon. The conversion run failed.

Simsbury responded with a methodical 16 play, 69-yard march that ate up 8:22. Decker carried the ball nine times for 43 yards with Gowdy rushing for 19 yards on five carries. Decker scored from the one to cut the lead to 19-12 with a minute left in the third quarter. The extra point kick went under the crossbar.

However, Manchester was able to easily respond. Turner had a big 28-yard run and Devalve scrambled away from two Simsbury defenders and hit Matthew Webber for a 33-yard touchdown pass with 10:01 left in the game and a 27-12 lead.

“We’re a very young team,” Osborne said. “We start only four seniors. The defensive line got a decent rush and we’re getting better. We see the progress. We see it in practice. We’re just going to be a menace to the teams we play. We’re going to out there and do the things we can do.”

Girard finished with 71 yards rushing on the ground for Simsbury.

Coginchaug 41, Lewis Mills 12
BRISTOL, Oct. 8 – Hosting its first-ever night game, Lewis Mills QB Zane Milbourn completed 10-of-20 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns but it wasn’t enough to defeat first-year team Coginchaug at Muzzy Field on Friday night, 41-12. Alec Corazzini rushed for four TDs and 104 yards for the undefeated Blue Devils (3-0) in a Pequot Conference Sassacus Division contest while QB Ryan Scherer completed 7-of-10 passes for 128 yards and 1 TD. For Mills, Devan Pease caught a 5-yard TD pass in the second quarter and teammate Nicholas Gnitzcavich caught a 65-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.

Farmington 21, Bristol Central 12
FARMINGTON, Oct. 8 – Jordan Parkinson rushed for 125 yards and 2 TDs to lead Farmington (3-1) to a victory. QB Colan Callahan completed 7-of-12 passes for 69 yards and scored on a 48 yard run.

Enfield 47, Canton 13

ENFIELD, Oct. 8 – Canton’s Sam Hartzell rushed for a career-high 168 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 74 and 20 yards but it wasn’t enough as the Raiders dominated Canton. Andrew Buanno ran for 155 yards and scored three TDs in the first quarter for Enfield while Kevin Merker scored twice in the second quarter. Enfield led 47-7 at halftime.

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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