New Britain Herald Athletes of the Week are Southington's Billy Carr and Berlin's Lea Cabral

Published on Monday, 16 December 2019 16:54


With fall sports officially at an end, individual athletes are beginning to be recognized at both a conference and state level.

Numerous area athletes have been included in all-conference and All-State announcements this past week, after leading their respective teams to state tournament berths and successful regular seasons.

Southington’s Billy Carr and Berlin’s Lea Cabral are this week’s Athletes of the Week for being recognized as some of the best talents in the area in their respective sports.

The Southington football team’s season may have ended in disappointing fashion, in the form of a 21-12 loss at the hands of third-seeded Darien, but it was still yet another strong performance from the Blue Knights defensive unit, which was led all season by Carr.

The senior linebacker appeared in all 12 games for Southington in 2019, and led the team with 121 total tackles, and averaged 10.1 tackles per game to finish as the program’s second all-time leading tackler. His memorable overall effort in his final high school season landed him on the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s All-State Team, which was released last week.

Carr wasn’t just an All-State selection this year. He was among the Top 26 list, which compiles student-athletes from all over the state regardless of class, and picks the 26 best overall players in Connecticut. It was a fitting end to a strong season for Carr, who finished the year with 23.0 tackles for loss, more than double anyone else on the Blue Knights defense.

Carr was more than a menace in the backfield on designed runs. He consistently decimated opponents in the passing game, recording 11.0 sacks on the year, totaling 87 yards lost and just under a sack per game. With Carr leading the charge, Southington’s defense allowed just 11.8 points per game on the season, including two shutouts over the final three games of the season to lock up the second seed in the Class LL state tournament.

The Blue Knights’ run in the tournament ended against the Blue Wave, but Carr was still all over the field in the losing effort. With Southington trailing by two in the second half, and Darien driving into Blue Knights territory, Carr and the Southington defense forced Darien into a fourth-and-long, where Carr burst into the backfield untouched and recorded a sack to force a turnover on downs, giving the Blue Knights another chance at a comeback.

Carr’s departure will leave a lot of production to be replaced when Southington gets ready for the 2020 season next summer.

The all-conference teams were released by the CCC last week, and there were a load of area talents that made the list, including Cabral, who helped lead the Berlin girls soccer team to an improbable state tournament berth this fall. Despite losing a number of key players to injury, including All-State selection Ashley Wenzel, Cabral helped fill the void in her senior season en route to the second all-conference selection of her high school career.

Without Wenzel, who finished last year second in the state in goals scored, the Redcoats needed a strong defense to make up for the loss of scoring, and Cabral anchored the defense to eight shutouts through the season, and allowed more than one goal just four times all year. While the injuries mounted, Berlin’s defense only got stronger with Cabral at center defense, helping the Redcoats to hold opponents to just two goals over their last seven games (all of which resulted in wins), to help lock up a state tournament berth.

Cabral’s high school career didn’t end as she or Berlin would have hoped, as a disqualification nullified a first-round win over Joel Barlow in the state tournament, but it was still the end of a successful tenure, where she was a four-year varsity contributor, and was named to the all-academic team all four years of her high school career. Cabral’s career was acknowledged along with the rest of the seniors on Senior Night earlier this season, and made it a memorable one with a goal in an 8-0 win over Platt. Cabral was part of a scoring barrage that saw every senior find the back of the net in the shutout victory.

Cabral’s soccer future has still yet to be determined, but with Lasell University and Regis College both recruiting her, it is likely not the end of her career in the sport.

Ryan Chichester can be reached at (860) 801-5094 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Athletes of the Week on Monday, 16 December 2019 16:54. Updated: Monday, 16 December 2019 16:57.