SIMSBURY, Sept. 23 – Despite losing starting quarterback Stephen Steijn in the first game of the season, the Simsbury High football managed to earn a 14-7 victory over Newington. They couldn’t repeat that feat in game two.
Backup quarterback Brendan Conway hurt his shoulder in the second quarter of Friday night’s game against Conard and never returned. That effectively shutdown the offense in a 28-0 loss to the Chieftains in the rain at Simsbury High.
The Trojan defense played proudly but Conard was able to score on four big plays – a 32-yard touchdown throw late in the second quarter, a pair of third quarter touchdown runs and a 61-yard interception return.
Simsbury (1-1, 0-1 CCC Division I West) had a pair of sophomore quarterbacks from the junior varsity try to run the offense. But against an aggressive Conard defense, it was too much to ask.
Through the first quarter, there were just two first downs in the game, both from Simsbury. But when Conway hurt his shoulder on the first play of the second quarter, things changed.
A week ago, it was Conway coming in off the bench when Steijn was injured and racing for 117 yards and throwing a touchdown pass. This time, the Trojans went backwards. They had minus 17 yards in the second quarter, missed several snaps from center and fumbled the ball away twice.
The game was still scoreless when Conard’s Jason Diaz hit Simsbury quarterback Nicholas Wenos in the backfield causing a fumble that teammate Erza Holmes recovered with 3:02 left in the second quarter.
Conard’s Ricky Cotton gained one yard before Simsbury’s Karon Beckford sacked Conard QB Owen Synder for a two-yard loss. A third down pass was overthrown but on fourth and 16 yards to go from the Simsbury 32, Snyder lofted a ball to the end zone that got between two Simsbury defenders and teammate Anthony Lugo made a great catch falling backwards for a touchdown with 1:10 remaining.
Simsbury’s Brad Helmkamp recovered an onside kick to begin the third quarter when kicker Kyle Dougherty drilled the kickoff, which bounced off the leg of a Conard defender. But the Simsbury offense couldn’t find its traction, losing eight yards and punting.
Trojan punter Brian Poggio, who had punts of 56, 52 and 44 yards, dropped the snap and barely got it away. But the punt traveled just seven yards. After an offside call, Conard had first down and five yards from the Simsbury 44.
Again, the defense tried to rise to the occasion. Cotton lost a yard on the first down and gained two yards on second down. A sharp tackle by Beckford limited Cotton to two yards. On fourth down and two, Cotton drove up the middle and barely got the first down on the Simsbury 40-yard line.
On the next play, Cotton found a little open space inside, cut to the left and escaped down the left sideline for a 40-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead. Senior Matt Douglin added a 41-yard touchdown run on Conard’s next possession and when Simsbury got the ball back, it was Lugo who had a 61-yard interception return, jumping over Simsbury tacklers and just getting the ball over the goal line for the touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
“I thought our kids played hard and Simsbury player very hard as well,” longtime Conard coach Rob Cersosimo said. “We got a lot of breaks and we were fortunate to take advantage of those breaks.”
Cotton ran for a game-high 111 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries for Conard (2-0, 1-0 CCC Division I West). Lugo had a 61-yard interception return. The Chieftains limited Simsbury to 68 yards offense.
Simsbury kick returner Blair Zentek had some nice returns, including a 36-yard punt return to the Conard 20-yard line in the second quarter and kickoff returns of 34 and 25 yards.
Conard 28, Simsbury 0
Conard (2-0) 0 7 21 0 — 28
Simsbury (1-1) 0 0 0 0 — 0
C: Anthony Lugo 32 pass from Owen Snyder (Dominic Spaulding kick), 1:10
C: Ricky Cotton 40 run (Spaulding kick), 7:15
C: Matt Douglin 41 run (Spaulding kick), 3:54
C: Lugo 61 interception return (Spaulding kick), 1:49
RUSHING: Conard – Sean Carneiro 1-14, Ricky Cotton 24-111, Matt Douglin 1-14, Owen Snyder 2-4; Simsbury – Andrew Girard 14-44, Christian Martinez 1-14, Cormack Mulshine 5-0, James Hermsen 2-5, Brad Helmkamp 2-minus 1, Nick Albergo 2-1, Nicholas Wenos 6-minus 5, Stephon King 3-10, Brendan Conway 4-15, team 3-minus 14
PASSING: Conard – Snyder 1-5-0, 32; Simsbury – Christian Martinez 0-1, James Hermsen 0-1-1
RECEIVING: Conard – Anthony Lugo 1-32
Farmington 28, Maloney 6
FARMINGTON, Sept. 23 – Adam Buono ran for 103 yards and 3 TDs to lead the Indians to a 28-6 win over Maloney in its home opener. He scored on runs of 45, 17 and 1 yard. Jeremy Buck also added a 30-yard TD run with that capped off a five-play drive that gave Farmington (2-0) some breathing room after the Spartans cut the lead to eight with a touchdown of their own with 7:01 remaining.
Coventry/Windham Tech 26, Avon 21
COVENTRY, Sept. 23 — The Coventry/Windham Tech football team stopped Avon on the one-yard line as time expired to beat the Falcons for the first time since 2006 on Friday night under the lights, 26-21. Avon recovered a Coventry fumble with 2:24 remaining and was driving for the game-winning score. Avon’s Colin Moore (33-286, 3 TDs) was stopped on the 1-yard line as time expired.