GREENWICH – The No. 1 Greenwich Cardinals and No. 6 Southington Blue Knights proved why they are two of the top two teams in the state Saturday afternoon. Despite the tough competition, Southington pulled out a late game victory beating Greenwich 29-28.
Southington’s Lincoln Cardillo said there are no words to describe the feeling of pulling off this upset. He said for those who believed that they were the underdogs coming into the game, “keep thinking that.”
“We loved being the underdog,” Cardillo said. “We loved coming here in an atmosphere that none of us had played in before and having that underdog statement and coming in and beating them. It's such a feeling of joy and a sense of accomplishment after how hard we work all week.”
The Greenwich Cardinals took control early in the first quarter as Cardinals quarterback Jack Wilson was able to put Greenwich on the board quickly. Wilson threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to James Wailgum on their first drive before their running attack would dish out their talent on the following drive.
The Cardinals running game struck gold as George Vomvolakis broke off a 67-yard run to set up Greenwich in the red zone. To cap off the drive, Wilson found Charlie Dixon on a 4-yard touchdown pass.
Before Southington could get out of the first quarter, Greenwich reached the end zone once more on a short touchdown run by Jack Konigsberg. However, despite being down 21-0, Southington battled back, winning the second quarter.
Blue Knights’ Nick Bertola intercepted Wilson early in the quarter, setting Southington up on the 21-yard line and taking the momentum from the Cardinals. A couple plays later, Lincoln Cardillo punched it in for the Blue Knights giving them their first score of the day.
Southington would go on and score again in the second quarter after quarterback C.J. Dibenedetto found Even Anderson on a deep 54-yard touchdown pass with 25 seconds left in the half.
Cardillo said the team showed a lot of fight throughout the game.
“It took teamwork and for everybody to pick each other up,” Cardillo said. “When we needed it, everyone held the rope. That’s our saying if the defense holds their side and the offense holds their side that’s a W right in the middle.”
Defensively, Southington held its own in the second half. The Cardinals offense was unable to generate points like they had in the first quarter outside of a muffed punt that allowed Greenwich to set up on the 21-yard line.
A 19-yard pass to Dominic DeLuca gave the Cardinals a two-score lead, but it wouldn’t last long. Lincoln Cardillo would get into the end zone again in the fourth quarter to make the score 28-21.
For much of the second half, both teams were ripe for the taking but both teams struggled to truly take control of the game. Penalties, interceptions and failing to score while in the red zone plagued both teams and made the game much closer than it could’ve been.
Southington specifically, failed to score twice in the red zone and threw a costly interception on a game-tying drive. However, the team would eventually take the lead on a trick-play with Evan Anderson throwing a 24-yard touchdown pass to John Flynn.
Anderson followed up the pass by running in the 2-point conversion to take the lead 29-28.
The decision to go for two came with more than 3:30 minutes left in the fourth quarter, enough time to give Greenwich a chance to score. However, Southington’s defense made a crucial stop on fourth down to get the ball back and run out the clock.
Southington coach Mike Drury said the decision to go for two came after one of his assistant coaches put it in his ear. He said at some point Southington had to play defense and get a stop.
“We couldn’t have started worse, and we should’ve been in a better position than we were, but the defense showed up,” he said.
Southington will take on Simsbury on Friday at home at 7 p.m.