NEW CANAAN – Southington football dropped its Class LL state tournament quarterfinal matchup with New Canaan, 38-14, on Tuesday at Dunning Field.
The seventh-seeded Blue Knights led 14-0 early in the second quarter, but the No. 2 Rams scored 38 unanswered points to advance to the semifinals on Sunday.
“We were playing great, we were playing well, we were playing the way we want to play against them,” Southington coach Mike Drury said. “We knew that’s what we needed to do, was be able to play with tempo, run-game get the ball on the perimeter to our guys. Unfortunately, we just didn’t capitalize at the end of the second quarter.
“In that second half, they got up one, we turned the ball over twice, you can’t turn the ball over twice,” Drury said. “You can’t do that against a team like that. We got ourselves in horrific down and distance situations and those aren’t good against a team that is one of the top defenses in the state.”
The Blue Knights fumbled two kick returns following the midway point, with the second one leading to a New Canaan score, handing all the momentum to the hosts.
Southington’s Jack Barnum and Javon Thomas each ran in a touchdown in the red zone early on, while four of the Rams’ five scores occurred on the ground.
Quarterback Henry Cunney found Alex Benevento all alone for New Canaan’s first TD of the night on a 20-yard throw in the second frame and it never looked back with four more touchdowns and a 38-yard field goal mixed in late in the contest.
“Against a team like this, you can’t make the errors that we made,” Drury said. “We gave them extra possessions on their side of the field in the second half. Things that were going in the first half, we needed to get back in that rhythm and we just couldn’t find that rhythm again.”
Jackson Bench, Vincent Cognetta, Conor Bailey and Joe Whitcomb tallied the rest of the Rams’ rushing TDs.
The Blue Knights concluded the 2021 season with a 8-3 record following Tuesday’s defeat, while New Canaan moves to 10-1.
The Rams will host No. 3 Darien on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The Blue Wave beat No. 6 Hamden, 46-19, Tuesday.
New Canaan 38, Southington 14
At New Canaan
Southington 7 7 0 0 – 14
New Canaan 0 14 14 10 – 38
S – Jack Barnum 6 run, 2:07 (XP good)
S – Javon Thomas 5 run, 8:08 (XP good)
NC – Alex Benevento 20 catch from Henry Cunney, 6:21 (XP good)
NC – Jackson Bench 19 run, 3:36 (XP good)
NC – Vincent Cognetta 12 run, 8:38 (XP good)
NC – Conor Bailey 1 run, 3:20 (XP good)
NC – 38 yard field goal, 11:48
NC – Joe Whitcomb 2 run, 4:58 (XP good)