NEW BRITAIN - Throughout its week of preparation, the New Britain football team believed it was up to the task of beating No. 18 South Windsor Friday night.
The Hurricanes just had to stick to their game plan. But practice is one thing, the game is another.
New Britain failed to contain Julian Ibes and the Bobcats’ rushing attack and watched a tied game at the half turn into a one-sided affair, losing 34-21. The Hurricanes scored twice after halftime, the Bobcats four times.
The last time these two teams played back in 2014, New Britain won 49-14. This time around, South Windsor looked more than ready to return the favor. Ibes carried the ball 26 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns. New Britain (1-2) simply did not have an answer for any of the Bobcats (3-0) running backs.
“They ran exactly what we thought they were going to run,” Hurricanes head coach Tebucky Jones said. “A lot of times, [our] guys were right there and running right by it and not making a play. You have to get in position and make the play.”
The turning point of the game, however, happed with 3 minutes and 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
After Jimmy Tamburro scored a five-yard touchdown to put South Windsor up 13-7, following a failed extra point, the Bobcats recovered an onside kick at New Britain’s 48-yard line. It took just three plays for them to score - the first of Ibes’ two touchdowns - and push the lead to 21-7 with 2:53 left in the quarter.
It all but deflated the Hurricanes. After forcing New Britain into a turnover on downs, Ibes scored his second touchdown of the night at the 9:23 mark of the fourth.
“The thing we practice all the time in practice is if a short kick comes up to you, you fair catch the ball,” Jones said. “It happened and the kid looked right at the ball and didn’t do anything. You practice something and not do it in the game.”
The Hurricanes managed to respond with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Jahfari Newman to Tahje Yopp on the next possession to cut their deficit to 27-14. The clock at that point read 9:02, the only problem was they wouldn’t score again until 36 second left when Jayshawn Alexandre hauled in a tipped pass for a two-yard score.
A 12-touchdown pass from South Windsor quarterback Connor Kapisak to Quinn Hannagan, however, happed 30 seconds before Alexandre’s catch.
In many ways, the second half was completely the opposite of the first. The first 24 minutes were odd, filled with penalties, sacks and plenty of yardage, but little scoring.
After both teams punted to close out their first drives of the night, South Windsor struck first. Ronnie Pinkard punched the ball across the goal line from five yards out to make the game 7-0 after the PAT. But most of the work had been done by Ibes, who accounted for 60 yards of the 74-yard drive.
New Britain responded on its next drive with a one-yard run from Shawn Robinson.
But neither team was able to take advantage of any big plays, making the second half that much more important. The Hurricanes just couldn’t capitalize.
“Maybe at halftime we came out too confident,” Alexandre said. “We ended up letting up. They came out playing harder than us and we let the game slip away.”