SOUTHINGTON - It was a huge game for the Southington football team and after the first half, the Blue Knights were in position to get a big road victory and solidify a firm grasp on a playoff spot in Class LL with a 21-7 lead over South Windsor.
It didn’t work out that way.
Southington played strong first half defense against the Bobcats, especially through the air against South Windsor quarterback Connor Kapisak.
In the first half, Kapisak was held to 5-for-7 passing with 39 yards and no touchdowns.
That all changed in the second half, though, as Kapisak’s success through the air had a big role in the 30-27 overtime loss, as Southington’s playoff hopes became more complicated.
While the Blue Knights are still currently ranked eighth in Class LL, with the top eight teams making the state playoffs, they are now in a position where they need a victory over Cheshire on Thanksgiving Day to earn a playoff spot - and even with a win, there is a very remote possibility they could still miss out on a postseason berth.
The first two drives were big for the Bobcats after their slow first half on offense.
Kapisak came out in command against the Southington pass defense and was 7-for-10 with 121 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns on those possessions.
On the third drive of the half for South Windsor it looked as if the Blue Knights defense was starting to find its groove with a pair of pass breakups - and then Joe Koczera intercepted Kapisak on a good read in the secondary.
The Southington momentum didn’t hold up, as on the fourth drive of the second half for the Bobcats it was Kapisak that found Collin Ryan for the second touchdown hookup between the two, both for more than 50 yards.
“I think they played tough,” Southington head coach Mike Drury said. “I think they tackled well and played really well against the run. Unfortunately, they gave up a couple big plays, but that’s gonna happen.”
Nothing was there for Kapisak on the fifth drive of the game and the Bobcats took a knee to go into overtime with the offense playing well.
Kapisak finished the second half 8-for-17 with 177 yards and three touchdowns to go with the interception.
With his second half success, it became clear that stopping the pass must be a focus if the Blue Knights get into the playoffs.
The Thanksgiving game against Cheshire should work to the Blue Knights’ strengths, as their defensive line looked strong and the Rams are more of a run-heavy team with 242 rushing attempts compared to 176 passing attempts.
“Cheshire is going to be ready,” coach Drury said. “It’s always a big rivalry game for us and we got to just take care of our business and let things fall into place.”
“We just got to refocus again,” Southington lineman Jimmy Starr said. “Everyone’s mind is on Cheshire right now. We got to beat Cheshire and get into the playoffs.”
Dan Orencole can be reached at 860-973-1811, or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter: @OrencoleDan