Dissecting Class LL title game

MaxWell Trudeau (28) and Will Lasher (72) look to get a hold on Southington High quarterback Stephen Barmore, as the Blue Knights' Alex Jamele (9) doubles back to block. (Photos by David G. Whitham)

Fairfield Prep’s Maxwell Trudeau (28) and Will Lasher (72) look to get a hold on Southington High’s Kyle Borawski (7), as the Blue Knights’ Alex Jamele (9) doubles back to block.
(Photos by David G. Whitham)

It was time for Southington High head football coach Mike Drury and his staff to go back to the chalkboard, down by two scores at the half of the Class LL state championship game on Thursday night.
“Nick Crowle is a big monster,” Drury said of Fairfield Prep’s running back. “We couldn’t let him get a full head of steam so we had to change things up with our defensive front.
“We made a couple of adjusts offensively and defensively, like we always do.
“Defensively those ones really helped. We talked to the staff; defensive coordinator, Rob Thomson, made a little adjustment, and it was fantastic.”
Crowle had rushed for 127 of his final total of 178 yards on 13 carries to help the seventh-seeded Jesuits to a 28-14 halftime lead on the fourth-seeded Blue Knights.
Southington (12-1) responded by lowering their pads in the trenches, similar to a gap-closing goal line defense, and sending the weakside end straight down the line to complete the pile up between the tackles.

Nick Crowle (9) runs through Southington defenders.

Nick Crowle (9) runs through Southington defenders.

The Blue Knights’ stacked defense left their weakside linebacker free to take on Prep quarterback Colton Smith, if he chose to belly fake to Crowle and keep the ball.
The end result was Prep being limited to one score in the second half, and Southington being able to rally back for a 52-34 victory.
“It was more a case of just not getting the job done,” Shea said of the game of two dominating halfs. “They might’ve had some people hitting different gaps, but we didn’t block them. We didn’t block them.
“Every time it’s a bunch of one-on-one plays, and we didn’t win as many as we should’ve.”
Smith had rushed for 63 yards on nine carries through the first two quarters, and completed 4-of-9 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
John DelliSanti had caught three of those passes for 94 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown.
Hank Healy drilled all for of his PAT attempts.
Anthony Palazzolo, Will Lasher, A.J. Mansolillo, Connor Roche, Brendan Sullivan, Mike Ruther and Steve Korutik were the keys up front during the Jesuits scoring deluge.
“We had to play our game, which all season has been hard-nosed defense,” Drury said. “Prep is a physical team and we had to go punch for punch with them. It was no magic just hard work.
Offensively, the Blue Knights went Nascar.
“We had to up the tempo,” Drury said. “We gave Stephen (Barmore) time to throw and he had a great game.”
Barmore completed 22-of-33 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns, three to Alex Jamele, who caught 10 passes for 230 yards.
“He can run every route, he can catch every ball. After the catch, he’s dynamic,” Drury said of Jamele. “He’s not only quick and elusive, but he’s a very strong, physical kid.”
Shea said after Prep finished at 11-3:
“We were a step too late (on defense) and against a high caliber team that turns into six (points). Barmore and Jamele are tremendous ball players. At the end, we didn’t get enough pressure on the quarterback.”

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