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Titans control Simsbury to earn second win of season, 31-3

Simsbury’s Jacon Isabel (5) Is surrounded by Hall defenders during Friday night’s CCC Tier 1 contest in Simsbury. Hall prevailed 31-3.

SIMSBURY, Oct. 28, 2022 – The Hall High football team drew a tough schedule in 2022 with two top 10 teams in the first four weeks. While the newly-christened Titans have been competitive, they dropped five of their first six games.

On Friday night, Hall didn’t give Simsbury a chance to steal another win for them. The Titans scored 17 points in the first quarter as Hall won their second game of the season with a 31-3 victory over the Trojans at Holden Field.

Hall (2-5, 2-2 CCC Tier 1) gave up just two first downs in the first half and both were thanks to penalties. Simsbury (3-4, 1-3 CCC Tier 1) gained their initial first down on their own midway through the third quarter.

The Titans were led by junior quarterback Bode Smith who threw a career-high three TD passes. Smith completed 16-of-23 passes for 219 yards. The Titans were also able to run the ball well with 139 yards – their second-best performance of the season – on 29 carries.

“We were able to run the ball which was nice and we hit a few fade (passes), which is always helpful,” Hall coach Frank Robinson III said.

Smith completed long passes for 28 yards (twice), 17 and 22 yards in the first half.

“We’ve had a really tough schedule and we have perserved through a lot of stuff,” Robinson said. “Hopefully, we can keep this going but the remaining teams (on our schedule) are just as good.”

Hall lost their opener to Fairfield Ludlowe, 34-21 before dropping a 49-21 decision to then-No. 7 Southington. After a tough 23-21 loss to Ridgefield, the Titans dropped a 41-14 decision to No.4 Maloney.

Hall struck quickly on Friday night. It took the Titans just five plays to score on their opening drive with junior Jordan Brice racing into the end on a 28-yard run with just 2:01 gone in the game. Griffin Cooper’s extra point made it 7-0.

Simsbury gained three yards on their first drive and punted. Hall responded by driving to the Trojan 14-yard line before Simsbury stiffened and forced Cooper to hit a 30-yard field to extend Hall’s lead to 10-0. A 28-yard pass from Smith to Brice was a key play on the drive.

On Hall’s next drive, Smith hit Angelo Culmo for a 22-yard reception to put Hall just outside the Simsbury red zone. Three plays later, Smith connected with Brice for a 21-yard TD reception with 32.7 seconds left in the first quarter and a 17-0 lead.

“That’s a good team over there,” Simsbury head coach Dave Masters said nodding toward the Hall sideline. “We had no illusions about them.

“We just didn’t rise up to the occasion,” he said. “We couldn’t figure out anything on offense and the defense didn’t play at the level we have been used to seeing. We didn’t have a lot of stopping power and we couldn’t generate anything on offense. We had spurts of excellence but (the trick) is putting them together.”

Hall was able to break through the lines and get several long runs Friday night in a 31-3 win over Simsbury at Holden Field.

Simsbury, which did force three turnovers, took advantage of their initial takeaway. Austin Coiro intercepted a Smith pass and returned it to the Hall 11-yard line in the second quarter. Simsbury advanced to the six-yard line when the Titans were penalized for unnecessary roughness for tackling QB Charlie Strayner for a loss. That hit knocked him out of the game with a suspected concussion.

Simsbury’s Daniel Sullivan hit a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-3.

The Trojans did force a fumble and a turnover on their own four-yard as Hall was looking to drive into the end zone late in the second quarter. They also recovered a second fumble in the third quarter on Hall’s 45-yard line.

That drive stalled on the 16-yard line and Sullivan’s 33-yard field goal attempt was just a yard or two too short.

Hall extended their lead to 23-3 when Colin McGann scored on a 20-yard TD reception from Smith with 8:46 left in the fourth quarter.

After an interception, the Titans scored on a 11-yard run from Brice with 3:28 left in the game for a 31-3 lead. Brice ran for all 55 yards on the scoring drive.

Travis Bologense led Simsbury on the ground, rushing for 26 yards on five carries. Jacob Isabel had 15 yards for five carries. Sophomore QB Patrick Matyczyk completed 7-of-17 passes for 30 yards and one interception. Hall limited Simsbury to 68 yards of offense (32 passing and 36 rushing).

Simsbury travels to Newington next week for a 6:30 p.m. start.

Hall 31, Simsbury 7
At Simsbury
Hall (2-5)               17  0  0  14  — 31
Simsbury (3-4)       0  3  0    0  — 3
First quarter
H: Jordan Brice 28 pass from Bode Smith (Griffin Cooper kick), 9:59
H: Cooper 30 FG, 4:10
H: Jack O’Neill 21 pass from Smith (Cooper kick), 0:32
Second quarter
S: Dan Sullivan 22 FG, 7:22
Fourth quarter
H: Colin McGann 20 pass from Smith (Cooper kick), 8:46
H: Brice 12 run (Cooper kick), 3:28
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Hall – Jordan Brice 6-54, Bode Smith 4-1, Declan Kerr 6-10, Jack O’Neill 1-4, Ryan Zydanowicz 10-53, Colin McGann; Simsbury – Noble Gongon 3-minus 3, Travis Bologense 5-26, Jacob Isabel 5-15, Charlie Strayer 3-minus 2, Patrick Matyczyk 3-minus 9
PASSING: Hall – Bode Smith 16-23-1, 219; Simsbury – Charlie Strayer 1-7-0, 2, Patrick Matyczyk 7-17-1, 30
RECEIVING: Hall – Cooper Griffin 3-40, Angelo Culmo 4-56, Jordan Brice 4-64, Jack O’Neill 1-21, Anthony Magini 1-11, Colin McGann 4-45; Noble Gongon 2-3, Zach Tartaglia 1-7, Austin Coiro 2-5, Daniel Sullivan 2-17, Travis Bologense 2-0
INTERCEPTION: Chris Ortiz (H) 1-10, Austin Coiro (S) 1-15; SACK: Jack O’Neill (H) 1-10

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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