NEW BRITAIN - While the Killingly football team brought the top running back in the state, Spencer Lockwood, with it to the Class M football state championship against Joel Barlow, it was a team effort from the Redmen that led to a 41-14 victory over the Falcons on Monday night.
The victory caps a 13-0 unbeaten season for Killingly, the first undefeated year since 1953 for the program.
With Lockwood hampered with a tweaked ankle injury that he suffered early on, Zach Caffrey handled most of the workload in the backfield, rushing for just under 200 yards and capping off the game for Killingly with a long 88-yard touchdown run.
The Redmen had five different players score touchdowns in the game.
“It was great,” Caffrey said. “Tonight we really showed our team diversity. Every single player on our team contributed. I don’t care who you are, everybody out there did something to get us to the state championship tonight.”
Lockwood scored two touchdowns, but served as a decoy for much of the game after tweaking the ankle.
“It felt fine,” Lockwood said. “It felt awesome to see everybody else have success out there. It was phenomenal. It shows all of the hard work that we put in during the offseason the past four years.”
The game started out as planned for Killingly with a pair of runs by Lockwood in the first quarter, one for a short 3-yard gain and the second a 63-yard touchdown run as Lockwood broke free from a group of Joel Barlow tacklers.
With the touchdown, the Redmen took the early 7-0 lead just 1:21 into the game.
While Lockwood came in as the top back, the Falcons showcased their own dynamic duo running the ball with Alex Stillman and Calvin Peterson.
Stillman started the drive for Joel Barlow with a 29-yard run, then Peterson finished it with a-4 yard run followed by a 43-yard touchdown run with 9:21 left in the first quarter.
With two quick offensive drives from each side, the first stop of the game came with a strong stand by the Joel Barlow defense, forcing a punt as the Falcons took over at their own 16-yard line.
The long field didn’t matter, as Joel Barlow quarterback Trevor Furrer had eight rushing yards to start the drive and Stillman delivered a huge 76-yard touchdown run with 2:26 left in the first quarter to put the Falcons up 14-7.
Joel Barlow middle linebacker Will Cusick made a big open field tackle on Lockwood, then blocked a punt to set the Falcons up on the Redmen 26-yard line.
Joel Barlow couldn’t capitalize and turned the ball over on downs, entering the second quarter with a 14-7 lead.
The Redmen continued to struggle offensively at the start of the second quarter with a punt on their first possession. But the second possession of the second quarter was when Killingly started to roll and look like the unbeaten team they are.
With a punt blocked by Nsaiah Harriet, the Redmen took over on the Falcons’ 16-yard line.
Caffrey ripped off a couple of nice runs before Lockwood delivered from 2 yards out, his second rushing score of the game.
After the Falcons’ struggles continued, the Redmen took over on their own side of the field and Caffrey started the drive off with a big 52-yard run, just getting caught by a Falcons defensive back.
Killingly made sure to finish the drive off with a score as quarterback Luke Desaulnier ran it in behind the center for a 2-yard touchdown run.
With two scores in the second quarter already on the board, Killingly wasn’t done yet.
Desaulnier faked the handoff and rolled out of the pocket to find his target, Vasileios Politis, wide open and he put the Redmen up 27-14 going into the half.
“That’s what we try to do every game,” Lockwood said. “We try to end the half with momentum and start the [second half] with momentum. We did that today.”
The Falcons got the ball to begin the second half.
Down 27-14 facing a fourth-and-4 from within its own 20-yard line, Joel Barlow went for it and Peterson delivered with a huge first down run. Even with the big run, the Falcons couldn’t finish off the drive and punted as their post-first quarter offensive struggles continued.
The Redmen took over at the 50-yard line.
Zack Burgess continued the offensive onslaught Killingly was on with a 26-yard touchdown run, giving the Redmen a 34-14 lead with 5:25 to go in the third quarter.
With the big lead, the Killingly defense again made a big stop on fourth-and-2 with Joel Barlow in the red zone.
With the ball back and up 34-14, Caffrey put the exclamation point on the 13-0 Class M state championship-winning season for Killingly.
“Story book night, story book program,” Killingly head coach Chad Neal said. “I can’t ask for a better group of kids. They are so unselfish and they do everything you could possibly want in a group of kids. I’m so proud to be their football coach.”
St. Joseph 43, Ansonia 36: The 20-time state championship Ansonia football team was looking another title in its eyes with a 22-7 halftime lead.
Coming into the game two star players were featured, Chargers running back Markell Dobbs and St. Joseph quarterback David Summers.
It was Summers that outlasted Dobbs, as he combined for five of the six Cadets touchdowns leading to the 42-36 win for St. Joseph on Monday.
Both teams went on 28-point runs, but it was the Cadets that timed their run at the right time, in the second half with the Class S championship title on the line.
The last time Ansonia allowed 35 points in a game was to St. Paul on October 10, 2014, in a 61-35 win for the Chargers.
Daniel Hand 35, Masuk 21: Daniel Hand played strong defense and got out to an early lead, resulting in the win for the Tigers in the Class L state championship game on Monday.
Masuk took the early 7-0 lead with a pick six by Michael Zuk.
Though, not much else went in the favor of the Panthers as Daniel Hand ran away.
Tigers quarterback Phoenix Billings found Matt Maxwell for a 6-yard touchdown pass to tie the game up 7-7.
Once again a Masuk turnover resulted in a touchdown as Ryan Coady returned a fumble for a Tigers touchdown.
Turnovers continued to be an issue for the Panthers as quarterback Matt Hersch was intercepted and the Tigers Chris Iannuzzi got a 21 yard touchdown following the turnover.
With the score, Daniel Hand was up 21-7 early in the second quarter.
The Tigers took a 35-14 lead into the half.
The Panthers would get one more score in the third quarter on a 2 yard touchdown run by Jack Roberge but the turnovers and strong defense from the Tigers were too much to overcome.