MERIDEN — For such a serene morning, Thanksgiving Day football 2022 was pretty wild on area gridirons.
Southington held on for a 21-14 victory over host Cheshire in the Apple Valley Classic, its 10th win in a row over the Rams, but not before host Cheshire nearly pulled off a dramatic fourth-quarter comeback.
In Wallingford, in the 50th anniversary of the Carini Bowl, the Sheehan Titans were able to execute a late rally on their home field. Down 27-17 entering the fourth quarter, the Titans stormed to their 10th straight victory over Lyman Hall, 38-27, behind three straight touchdowns from freshman Brady Rossacci, who rushed for over 300 yards.
And in Meriden, Maloney opened up a four-point game early in the third quarter with four unanswered touchdowns to pull away from Platt, 44-21, at Falcon Field in the 64th Stoddard Bowl.
Once all the scores statewide were in the books, the state playoff picture was clear for Tuesday’s quarterfinals (though pairings won’t be made official until Friday morning):
*Southington, at 9-1, is the top seed in Class LL and will host No. 8 Trumbull (7-3).
*Maloney, also 9-1, is the No. 3 seed in Class L and will host No. 6 New Milford (6-3) at Falcon Field.
*Cheshire, despite losing to Southington, qualified as the No. 8 seed in Class L when another contending team, Darien, lost 13-10 to New Canaan. Cheshire (6-4) faces No. 1 St. Joseph (9-1) on Tuesday.
Platt (6-4) was in contention for one of the final spots in Class MM, but fell out of the top eight with the loss to Maloney.
Initially, things were within reach for Platt on Thursday. The Panthers were within 17-13 early in the third quarter before the Spartans punched in two scores to extend the lead to 31-13 by the end of the period. Then the Spartans scored twice more to open the final frame.
Maloney quarterback Kyle Valentine threw for three touchdowns and Maloney running back Josh Boganski ran for three. Platt QB Avery Robinson scored twice for the Panthers.
In the Apple Valley Classic, victory seemed to be coming relatively easy for the Blue Knights, and then it suddenly wasn’t.
The Blue Knights led 21-0 heading into the fourth quarter only to see Cheshire close to 21-14 with a pair of touchdown runs by Matt Jeffery. Cheshire executed a successful onside kick in between the two scores.
Later, after forcing the Blue Knights to punt, Cheshire had the ball with four mintues to play before Southington defensive back Rashard Williams picked off a pass and returned it to the Cheshire 2-yard line to seal the victory.
In Wallingford, the Carini Bowl was back and forth from the get-go. There were three lead changes in the first half, including one on a 78-yard kickoff return by Gavin Janowski.
Then came the surges of the second half. Lyman Hall took a 28-17 lead into the fourth quarter behind the aerial connections of quarterback Tyler Casey and wide receiver Cam Pragano. They produced three touchdowns before Rossacci and the Titans stole the final scene.
Sheehan finished at 5-5, Lyman Hall at 4-6.
Here are today’s boxscores.
APPLE VALLEY CLASSIC
SHS--Lincoln Cardillo 4 run (kick failed)
SHS--Rashard Williams 25 pass from C.J. DiBenedetto (Cardillo pass from DiBenedetto) 0:36
SHS—Cardillo 28 pass from DiBenedetto (Cardillo kick) 3:30
CHS—Matt Jeffery 4 run (Micah Galloza kick) 7:02
CHS—Jeffery 1 run (Galloza kick) 4:12
P—Kevin Acosta 30 pass from Vito Church (Trevor Cannata kick) 3:24
M—Josh Boganski 8 run (Josh Scaramuzzo kick) 0:25
M--Scaramuzzo 32 FG 10:09
M—Amir Phillips 30 pass from Kyle Valentine (Scaramuzzo kick) 1:19
P—Avery Robinson 4 run (kick blocked) 7:06
M—Donte Kelly 9 pass from Valentine (Scaramuzzo kick) 3:57
M—Boganski 2 run (Scaramuzzo kick) 0:39
M—Joziah Gonzalez 32 pass from Valentine (Scaramuzzo kick) 7:51
M—Boganski 6 run (Scaramuzzo kick) 5:07
P—Avery Robinson 2 run (Robinson run) 1:16
S— Austin Eccles 33 FG
LH—Cam Pragano 6 pass from Tyler Casey (kick good)
S—John Gogliettino 39 pass from Paul Gorry (Eccles kick) 2:07
LH—Gavin Janowski 78 yard kickoff return (kick good) 1:54
LH—Pragano 49 pass from Casey (kick good) 9:30
S— Brady Rossacci 8 run (Eccles kick) 5:00
LH—Pragano 18 pass from Casey (kick good) 3:11
S—Rossacci 8 run (pass failed) 11:50
S—Rossacci 15 run (Rossacci run) 6:59
S—Rossacci 50 run (kick blocked) 4:12