SIMSBURY, October 4 – The Simsbury High football team faced adversity on Friday night against New Britain at Holden Field.
The visiting Hurricanes scored a pair of touchdowns in the first half on runs of 86 and 64 yards in the span of 90 seconds. Trailing by four points in the fourth quarter, New Britain had the ball on the Simsbury five-yard line threatening to take the lead for the first time.
But Simsbury played with poise and stood up to the Hurricanes to earn a 33-22 victory in CCC Division I West action. The Trojans remain undefeated at 4-0 – their best start since 2012.
Quarterback Aiden Boeshans rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries while Brendan Gaffney got it started for the Trojans with an 88-yard kickoff return on the first play of the game. Dan Sohn ran for a team-high 137 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
“We knew they would fly up the field but the coaches (prepared) a good game plan and the (Simsbury) offensive line came to play tonight,” Sohn said. “We knew this would be a fight.”
“We got tested tonight by a physical team, a powerful team, an aggressive team,” Simsbury coach Dave Masters said. “They really sent a lot of pressure all of the time. It was one of those games when we had to stand up and get it done and it felt good.”
Simsbury (4-0, 2-0 CCC Div. I West) led from the opening minutes of the game after Gaffney took the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. The Trojans led by 13 points early after scoring the first two touchdowns of the contest.
But New Britain is an explosive team as evidenced by Payne Omary, who scored on an 86-yard run in the second quarter and on a 64-yard run.
The Hurricanes were trailing by four points, 26-22, when they took over deep in their own territory with 2:55 left in the third quarter after forcing a Simsbury fumble on the New Britain 7-yard line.
New Britain (1-3, 0-1 CCC Div. I West) marched downfield. Quarterback Tarik Hetmyer completed a 30-yard pass to Jayden Scott into Simsbury territory. Two plays later, a pass interference and unsportsmanlike penalty on the Simsbury defense moved the ball to the Simsbury 19-yard line.
Three plays later, New Britain had first down and goal on the Simsbury 5-yard line. Hetmyer was stopped for a loss on first down but the Hurricanes were flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, moving them back 15 yards and giving Simsbury a bit of breathing room.
Travon Santoro gained eight yards to the Simsbury 13 but the Hurricanes had two incomplete passes and the drive stalled.
“They stepped up when they had to,” Masters said.
“We pushed through adversity tonight,” Sohn said.
Simsbury responded with a six-play, 87-yard march with Sohn scoring from the two-yard line with 6:43 remaining to extend the lead to 33-22. Virtually every play on the drive was a run to the left side of the line. Sohn had runs of 27 and 29 yards on the drive.
“They didn’t have an answer (for our runs),” Masters said. “They (New Britain defense) didn’t adjust to something we were doing. It wasn’t easy but they were giving it to us so we took it.”
Plenty of running action was opened up by Simsbury linemen Sam Scott and Tom Guilfoyle on the left side of the offensive line.
Gaffney opened the game with an 88-yard kickoff return and a 6-0 lead. Gaffney scored on a two-yard run with 11:23 left in the first half to cap off a 10-play, 71-yard drive. Caden Lill’s extra point gave Simsbury a 13-0 lead.
New Britain struck quickly with Omary showing great speed and quickness on an 86-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 13-8. It took Simsbury just three plays to extend the lead to 20-8 on a 16-yard run from Boeshans.
Again, New Britain responded quickly with a 64-yard touchdown run from Omary and a successful two-point conversion pass to cut the lead to 20-16. Omary had 168 yards on his first five carries of the game.
Simsbury didn’t flinch. They marched 80 yards on five plays, scoring on a nine-yard run from Boeshans for a 26-16 lead with 7:42 left in the first half. The big play on the drive was a 69-yard reception from Boeshans to Jeffrey Coleman to the New Britain 11-yard line.
The Hurricanes cut the lead to four points, 26-20 on a four-yard touchdown run from Omary with 6:50 gone in the third quarter.
Gaffney, who had 104 yards in kickoff returns, also had an interception. Junior Ryan Guilfoyle put the cap on the win with a five-yard sack in the final two minutes of the game.
It was the third win in four years over the Hurricanes for Simsbury, who will host Conard (1-2, 0-1) next Friday night at 7 p.m. at Holden Field.
“It (a 4-0 record) feels good tonight,” Masters said. “You have one night to enjoy it before you realize we’ve got another challenge (Conard) ahead of us.”
He paused and smiled. “It’s been good to win in a bunch of different ways as we have done so far,” he said.
Simsbury beat Hall in the season opener, 9-3 in overtime with a field goal at the end of regulation forcing OT. They pulled away from Amity in a 49-13 win in week two and dominated South Windsor, 39-0 a week ago.
NOTES: A week ago, we incorrectly reported that the Trojans’ 3-0 start was Simsbury’s best start since 2009. That was incorrect because the Trojans won their first four games in 2012. The last time that Simsbury began the season 5-0 was in 2009. … Simsbury has now won nine straight games since they captured the final five games of the 2018 campaign. … As always, the New Britain High marching band is a treat to watch. Few schools have marching bands that perform at halftime and it is rare to have the visiting band attend and perform. The Hurricane band patiently waited in formation for the Simsbury High cheerleaders and drill squad to perform before entertaining the crowd with a 10-minute show of their own.
Simsbury 33, New Britain 22
New Britain (1-3) 0 16 6 0 – 22
Simsbury (4-0) 6 20 0 7 — 33
S: Brendan Gaffney 88 kickoff return (kick fails), 11:46
S: Gaffney 4 run (Caden Lill kick), 11:23
NB: Payne Omary 86 run (Maurice Clark run), 10:55
S: Aiden Boeshans 16 run (Lill kick), 9:53
NB: Omary 64 run (Jayden Scott pass from Monte Dickson) 9:29
S: Boeshans 9 run (pass fails), 7:42
NB: Omary 4 run (run fails), 6:50
S: Dan Sohn 2 run (Lill kick), 6:38
RUSHING: Simsbury – Aiden Boeshans 15-117, Dan Sohn 14-137, Jeffrey Coleman 4-30, Brendan Gaffney 5-15; New Britain – Monte Dickson 1-minus 5, Omary Payne 11-187, Tarik Hetmyer 10-63, Travon Santoro 3-15, Cameron Bond 6-12
PASSING: Simsbury – Aiden Boeshans 6-11-1, 128; New Britain – Monte Dickson 2-9-0, 22, Tarik Heymyer 2-2-0, 41
RECEIVING: Simsbury – Brendan Gaffney 1-27, Zack Gilbert 2-32, Jeffrey Coleman 1-69, Michael Schulitz 1-1; New Britain — Cameron Bond 1-minus 3, Tarik Hetmyer 1-19, Jayden Scott 1-44, Orlando Perez 1-14
RETURNS: Simsbury – Gaffney 2-104 (kickoffs), Caden Mussier 1-9 (kickoffs); New Britain – Payne 2-24 (kickoffs), Heymyer 3-69 (kickoffs), Santoro 1-3 (kickoffs)
INTERCEPTIONS: Denzel Barnett (NB) 1-0, Brendan Gaffney (S) 1-0; SACKS: Ryan Guilfoyle (S) 1-5; FUMBLE REC: New Britain 1