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Rockville hands Granby/Canton first loss in double overtime

Granby/Canton QB Jackson Rome ran for a season-high 179 yards in Friday night’s double OT loss to Rockville in Canton. See additional game photos

CANTON, Sept. 27 – Two undefeated teams that will be contending for the Pequot Conference football championship went toe-to-toe Friday night. Both made big plays. Both had touchdowns erased by penalties.

But Rockville made one more big play in overtime than Granby/Canton and came away with a 14-7 victory over the Bears in double overtime.

Granby/Canton’s defense made a big play in the first overtime. After the Rams had stopped the Bears, they got the ball with a chance to win. Quarterback Jonathan O’Coin was on his way to the end zone with the game-winning touchdown when the ball squirted free near the two-yard line and right into the hands of Granby/Canton defender Sam Schock.

In the second overtime, Rockville got the ball first and took the lead when Chris Mierez scored from 12 yards away. Mierez fumbled the ball on the three-yard line after a hit from Granby/Canton’s Simon Matthews but Mierez was able to grab the ball on a hop in the end zone for the score.

On Granby/Canton’s first play of the second OT, Schock had the ball popped out of his arms after a gain of five yards and a hit from Rockville’s Avery Wilson and O’Coin recovered to give the Rams the victory.

“There were a lot of mistakes out there but both teams left it all on the field,” Rockville head coach Erick Knickerbocker said. “Both teams wouldn’t back down. This was a huge game for us and both teams were ready to go.”

The Bears, who beat Stafford/East Windsor/Somers in overtime in week one, were stunned by the loss.

Granby/Canton’s Dylan Disabella tries to push a Rockville defender away in Friday night’s Pequot Conference game in Canton. Disabella gained 38 yards on 15 carries. See additional game photos

“Losing hurts. But we will learn from this,” Granby/Canton head coach Erik Shortell said. “This will be one of the best learning experience you can get. It’s not a good feeling but it will make us a better team later this year.”

Granby/Canton QB Jackson Rome had an outstanding day running the ball, rambling for a game-high 179 yards on 21 carries. Sam Attianese ran for 73 yards on 15 carries. But the Bears could only get into the end zone once.

“We were our own worst enemy,” Shortell said referring to penalties and mistakes that included a few bad snaps from center. “Without those plays, the score would have been different. We hurt ourselves but we will learn from this.”

Leading 7-0, Granby/Canton (2-1) was threatening to extend the lead late in the second quarter. The Bears had driven down to the Rockville 13-yard line with 53 seconds left in the half. Rome scrambled away from pressure and found Matthews in the end zone for a touchdown.

But the scoring play was erased due to a 15-yard block in the back penalty take put the ball back on the Rockville 36-yard line. And a 10-yard sack on fourth down ended the drive.

After a hit from Granby/Canton’s Simon Matthews, Rockville QB Jonathan O’Coin (7) sees the ball pop out of his hands in overtime at the three-yard line. Granby/Canton’s Sam Schock (31) recovered the fumble. See additional game photos

In the third quarter, Rockville tied the game with an eight-play, 63-yard drive. On the Granby/Canton one-yard line, O’Coin fumbled the snap but Mierez scooped up the ball and found his way into the end zone with 2:44 left in the third quarter.

The big play on the drive was a 34-yard completion from O’Coin to DeShaun Perry that got the ball deep into Granby/Canton territory.

Granby/Canton responded by driving deep into Rockville territory thanks a 49-yard run from Rome to the Rockville 15-yard line. But a fumble on a pitch to Attianese on second down lost six yards and the drive stalled on the Rams 7-yard line.

Rockville looked like they would take the lead when they marched from their own seven to the Granby five-yard line. O’Coin ran into the end zone from the five but that scoring play with 6:59 remaining was negated by a holding call.

And the Bear defense rose to the occasion. On second down, O’Coin gained five yards to the 10 but fumbled on the next play for no gain. On fourth down, O’Coin’s pass was incomplete and Granby/Canton took over with 5:34 remaining.

The Bears converted on a crucial fourth down and three play on their own 35 yard line with 2:54 remaining. Rome scrambled for a three-yard run and the Bears got a first down because the nose of the football was just over the line.

A 15-yard run from Rome got the Bears into Rockville territory with 1:02 to go. A 19-yard run from Rome put the ball on the Rockville 19-yard line with 29 seconds remaining. The Bears drove to the Rockville 16-yard line but Attianese’s 31-yard field goal attempt with 2.9 seconds left was short.

It was the first field goal attempt of his career for Attianese, who began kicking just a few weeks ago.

Granby/Canton took a 7-0 lead, scoring on their first possession of the game. The Bears marched 75 yards on 10 plays with Attianese scoring from 15-yard away with 3:57 left in the first quarter.

Rockville High celebrates after their double overtime win over Granby/Canton in Canton on Friday night. See additional game photos

NOTES: The game was played in Canton as part of the co-op agreement between the two schools. It is the first year for the co-op program with Granby and Canton. Four of the team’s five home games are in Granby this fall … Rockville went to the Class M playoffs a year ago. … The Bears recovered two fumbles and had three sacks. … Could the two teams see each other again this season? Perhaps. Both are in Class M and the top eight teams earn berths in the CIAC state tournament. … It was the second straight win for Rockville over the Bears. … It was the first double OT contest for the Bears in their program’s history. The Bears are now 1-3 in overtime contests. … The game was scheduled to be a night game with a 6:30 p.m. start but the start time was moved up to 4:30 p.m. due to the concern of mosquitos carrying the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus in Connecticut. State officials are advising people to minimize activities at dusk and dawn when the mosquitos are most active.

Rockville 14, Granby/Canton 7, 2 OT
At Canton
Rockville (3-0)                      0  0  7  0  0  7  — 14
Granby/Canton (2-1)        7  0  0  0  0  0  — 7
First quarter
G/C: Sam Attianese 15 run (Attianese kick), 3:57
Third quarter
R: Chris Mierez 1 run (Deshaun Perry kick), 2:44
Second OT
R: Mierez 12 run (Perry kick)
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Rockville – Chris Mierez 7-73, Jason Clarke 3-17, Jonathan O’Coin 6-minus 15, Kevin Foley 7-19, Deshaun Perry 2-13; Granby/Canton – Jackson Rome 21-179, Sam Attianese 15-73, Sam Schock 3-11, Dylan Disabella 15-38, Carter Gavin 4-12
PASSING: Rockville – Jonathan O’Coin 6-15-0, 114; Jackson Rome 5-10-1, 26; Granby/Canton team 0-1-0
RECEIVING: Rockville – Jaquan Dufour 3-33, Deshaun Perry 3-81; Granby/Canton – Simon Matthews 1-5, Sam Attianese 3-12, Colin Makin 1-9
INTERCEPTION: Alex Deane (Ro) 1-10; FUMBLE RECOVERY: Malique Thompson (G), Sam Schock (G)
SACKS: Nasir Knighton (Ro) 1-10, Donte Williams (G) 1-6, Malique Thompson (G) ½-8, Devin Flagg ½-8, Carter Gavin (G) ½-7, Daniel Litin (G) ½-7

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

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