NEW BRITAIN - As Tebucky Jones walked away from his postgame huddle, the New Britain football head coach left his players with an important message: “Don’t forget this feeling.”
And the Hurricanes couldn’t contain their excitement. It had been a while since they were able to celebrate.
Behind the tandem of Tarik Hetmyer — 142 rushing yards and three touchdowns — and Omary Payne — 188 rushing yards and two scores — New Britain overcame a sluggish first half to beat Glastonbury 36-20 Friday night at Veterans Stadium for its first win in almost a month.
The last time the Hurricanes (2-4) left the field with a victory was Sept. 27 against Manchester. There were losses to South Windsor and Staples before that and defeats against Simsbury and Hall after.
“If feels amazing,” said Payne, who also intercepted a Greg Perry pass for one of the three turnovers New Britain forced on the night. “I don’t even know what to really say. Losing so much and finally being able to get a win… let’s go.”
Hetmyer and Payne did most of their damage in the second half with both players eclipsing the 100-yard mark. All of Payne’s rushing yards came after halftime, while Hetmyer ran for 134.
But perhaps none of their yards were as important or as impressive as they were on the Hurricanes’ final drive of the night that began at their own 8-yard line.
After Ethan Taylor’s 17-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter cut New Britain’s advantage to 28-20, the duo helped orchestrate a 14-run play, 92-yard drive that ate up 8 minutes and 49 seconds off the clock. The Hurricanes faced third down just three times during that stretch with their longest play being a 14-yard run by Hetmyer, who crossed the goal line from five yards out to put the game out of reach and send Glastonbury back home with a 3-3 record..
“We knew coming into those last few minutes we couldn’t mess up,” said Hetmyer, who also ran for a 2-yard touchdown and caught a 55-yard pass in the first half. “We had to execute every single play. We couldn’t give them the ball back.”
But that drive was just a microcosm of the final 24 minutes for New Britain. The Hurricanes didn’t throw the ball the entirety of the second half after attempting 12 throws over the first two quarters.
Down 13-6 at the start of the third quarter, it took four plays for New Britain to capitalize on its first second-half possession when Hetmyer juke and broke three would-be tacklers to race up the Glastonbury sideline for a 38-yard run. Jayden Scott then caught a 2-point conversion from Monte Dickson to make it 14-13 and give the Hurricanes their first lead of the game with 8:05 left in the quarter.
New Britain never looked back. It was the first of four straight drives for the Hurricanes that ended with trips to the end zone.
Four plays after Payne picked off Perry on the Tomahawks’ next possession, the senior tailback juked his way down the New Britain sideline for a 37-yard run. He followed it up with a 78-yard dash through the middle of the Glastonbury defense and ran in for the 2-point conversion to make it 28-13 in favor of the Hurricanes with 10:52 left in the fourth quarter.
“The offensive line and the defensive line have to win the game,” Jones said. “If they don’t play well, we don’t win. We came out in the second half and ran the ball well. The offensive line started to block well and the defensive line had been playing well all game. When you combine them both, it’s a good mixture.”
New Britain’s defensive front finished the game with three sacks, two of which came from Tyree Pinnock, and eight tackles for loss. The group was also constantly in the face of Perry and made it an uncomfortable night for the Tomahawks quarterback. Perry finished the game 15-of-33 for 188 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown to Ryan Smith in the second quarter, and two interceptions. Yoskar Rosas-Perez picked off Perry to officially end the game.
But the Hurricanes’ offense struggled to get things going. New Britain managed just 101 yards in the first half and had to play catch up after Taylor recovered a fumble in the end zone to make it 7-0 18 seconds into the game following a holding call on the Hurricanes.
“We messed up because lack of communication,” Payne said. “But in the second half, we got things together. We talked in the locker room, made adjustments, communicated, came back out and worked hard.”
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or email@example.com
NEW BRITAIN 36, GLASTONBURY 20
At New Britain
Glastonbury (3-2) 7 6 0 7 — 20
New Britain (1-4) 6 0 14 16 — 36
G—Ethan Taylor fumble recovery (Ryan Smith kick), 11:42
NB—Tarik Hetmyer 2 run (pass failed), 1:17
G—Smith 11 pass from Greg Perry (kick failed), 3:56
NB—Hetmyer 38 run (Jayden Scott pass from Monte Dickson), 8:05
NB—Omary Payne 37 run (run failed), 4:47
NB—Payne 78 run (Payne run), 10:52
G—Taylor 17 run (Smith kick), 10:38
NB—Hetmyer 5 run (Payne run), 1:49
Rushing—New Britain: Omary Payne 12-188-2TD, Tarik Hetmyer 21-142-3TD, Emanuelle Madera 3-13, Travon Santoro 1-3, Monte Dickson 1-(-3). Glastonbury: Ethan Taylor 9-46-TD, Brandon Myers 12-36, Greg Perry 3-(-13).
Passing—New Britain: Dickson 3-12-80-INT. Glastonbury: Perry 15-33-188-TD-2INT.
Receiving—New Britain: Hetmyer 1-55, Santoro 2-25. Glastonbury: Ryan Smith 6-69-TD, Matt Daniels 4-56, Brandon Valdes 3-45, Myers 1-5, Taylor 1-3.