SOUTHINGTON - For the first time all season, the Southington football team found itself tested throughout the entire game.
But in the end, the Blue Knights showed why they came in ranked as the No. 2 ranked team in the state and maintained their grip on the Southington-New Britain rivalry.
Ryan Montalvo and Joe Kozcera scored three time each to help lead the Blue Knights to a 42-20 win over the Hurricanes Friday night. Southington has now won the last eight meetings between the two.
Separated by just eight points at the half, the Blue Knights used a pair of rushing touchdowns to put the game away. Koczera scored from a yard out in the third quarter with Montalvo crossing the goal line from the same distance in with 8:55 in the fourth.
But as much as Southington was able to be Southington and put the game away, it was a night in which New Britain had its own chances to win the game. The Hurricanes just squandered them.
New Britain picked off three Will Bamore passes and scored on just one. The Hurricanes also muffed a kickoff that led to one of Kozcera’s touchdowns and committed 14 penalties.
In the end, that turned out to be the biggest difference. The Blue Knights took advantage of their chances when they had them and New Britain could not, leaving the team with another week of disappointment.
As quiet as the game was in the second half, the two teams went after one another over the first 24 minutes of play. When Southington scored, the Hurricanes answered back and vice versa.
After the two team traded punts to open the game, Montalvo put the Blue Knights on the board first with a 5-yard touchdown run. It was his first of the season and first since he tore his ACL during the fifth week of last year.
But six minutes later, New Britain drove 72 yards behind running backs Shawn Robinson and Muhammed Codjoe with quarterback Jahfari Newman scoring from two yards out. For Newman, it was the first of two rushing scores on the night. The senior signal added a 9-yard run with 1:02 left in the first half to bring the score to 28-20 heading into the locker room.
The drive started on a Barmore interception.
Montalvo then broke free for a 48-yard run as time expired on the first quarter. New Britain’s Tahje Yopp provided a 1-yard touchdown run and threw for the 2-point conversion on the Hurricanes next drive to even up the score at 14-14.
Koczera then scored on back-to-back drives on a pair of receptions from Barmore. The first was from two yards out, while the second was from three, sprung by a muffed kickoff return from New Britain.
It turned out to be the deciding touchdown in what was a difficult loss for the Hurricanes and another win for Southington.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach