SOUTHINGTON - After an ugly start, the Southington football team finished its season opener in dominating fashion.
After falling behind early, the Blue Knights scored the game’s final 41 points and walked off Fontana Field with a 41-7 win over Glastonbury.
The story of the game was the passing attack, led by senior quarterback Jacob Drena, who was making his first career start after spending the last three seasons behind former Blue Knights Will Barmore and Jasen Rose.
Drena started the game with an interception on his first pass, which led to the only Glastonbury score, a 6-yard rushing touchdown from Matthew Tenney.
“That’s definitely not the way I wanted to start the game - not what I envisioned,” Drena said. “I think it was jitters and hopping into it too quick. I didn’t go into my reads and didn’t do what the coaches have been coaching me up on.”
But Drena settled in after that and looked like a star quarterback, throwing for 356 yards on 16-of-24 passing and five touchdowns in the game - three to Jacob Flynn and two to Will Downes. Flynn had 170 yards receiving, all of which came in the first 24 minutes.
The bounceback from the quarterback came as no surprise to Southington head coach Mike Drury.
“His response was great,” Drury said. “I thought he did a great job burying that one. You got to bury it sometimes. He’s better at burying it than me. He did a great job at it. Ran our offense with efficiency - took what [Glastonbury] were giving us. He just did a really solid job in his first varsity start.”
Another spotlight was on Southington’s new-look defense. Despite having just three returning starters, the Blue Knights looked like a seasoned squad on defense. The Tomahawks were held to just 155 yards of total offense, 114 of which came in the second half.
Glastonbury did have some momentum on the ground, but needed 31 attempts to get 105 yards rushing. Tenney had 49 yards and the score, while quarterback Drew Daniels had 39 yards rushing and 50 yards passing.
“In the beginning of the game, we were kind of slow to get around,” junior linebacker Angelo Plantamuro said. “But we just needed to pick up the pace. Once we got our juice, you could see it was getting bad for their offense. So it was pretty tough for them to get around us.”
Plantamuro stepped up in a big way for Southington on the defensive side. He was involved in seemingly every play and solidified himself as a leader of the defensive unit.
“I think I had over 20 [tackles],” Plantamuro said. “But I haven’t been on the field for freshman year. I started varsity and then took a year off. It was kind of hard getting back into the groove of things. In the second half, I flipped that switch, and that’s when you saw me flying around everywhere. I’m happy that I was able to bring that to the defense.”
One aspect Southington will have to clean up is committing penalties. The Blue Knights had eight penalties for 67 yards in the game, and two of those games came on the last drive of the first half and cost the team two chances at scoring.
“Just fundamentals, absolutely,” Drury said of his focus going into practice next week. “We shot ourselves in the foot early on. Some penalties that hurt us. We had some of those holes because our fundamentals broke down. Defensively, we missed a couple tackles, but I know those guys are working at it.”
Up next, Southington hits the road for a matchup at Simsbury next week. The Blue Knights know they have things to work on before the game, but are feeling confident after the performance against Glastonbury.
“We know [Simsbury] is going to bring it,” Plantamuro said. “But that doesn’t mean we are going to hold back at all. We are going to come at them with full force every single play. They’d better be ready.”
Southington 41, Glastonbury 7
Glastonbury (0-1) 7 0 0 0 -- 7
Southington (1-0) 14 7 14 6 -- 41
G - Matthew Tenney 6 run (Ryan Smith kick), 8:54
S - Jacob Flynn 68 pass from Jacob Drena (Evan Johanns kick), 8:16
S - Flynn 41 pass from Drena (Johanns kick), 4:42
S - Flynn 19 pass from Drena (Johanns kick), 2:54
S - William Downes 77 pass from Drena (Johanns kick), 7:26
S - Downes 43 pass from Drena (Johanns kick), 4:00
S - Dillon Kohl 8 run (kick failed), 11:14
Rushing - Southington: Dillon Kohl 5-60-TD, Tanner LaRosa 8-21, Jacob Drena 2-(-3), Angelo Plantamuro 3-(-5). Glastonbury: Matthew Tenney 12-49-TD, Drew Daniels 9-39, Brandon Valdes 5-11, Andreis Ramires 1-7, Gregory Perry 1-0
Passing - Southington: 16-24-356-5TD. Glastonbury: Drew Daniels 8-16-50. Cameron Fox 0-2.
Receiving - Southington: Jacob Flynn 5-179-3TD, William Downes 4-136-2TD. Glastonbury: Andreis Ramires 2-19