ENFIELD — Good football teams don’t let down this time of year. They only get better.
And Southington showed why it’s among the state’s best Thursday night in Enfield.
After a top-10 showdown win last week in East Hartford, the Blue Knights had every reason to play a sub-par CCC Division I crossover game at Enfield. They didn’t.
Behind four more touchdown passes from Jacob Drena, who eclipsed 2,000 yards passing on the season, the Blue Knights rolled to a 51-19 victory to improve to 8-0. Enfield lost its fourth straight game to fall to 3-5.
Southington, which entered the game No. 3 in Class LL playoff points, led 44-13 by halftime. The Blue Knights dominated on both sides of the ball, rolling up nearly 400 yards of offense in the first half and holding Enfield to just over 100.
Drena threw for 206 of the Blue Knights’ 376 yards of total offense before halftime. He threw touchdown passes of 23, 11, 73 and 5 yards to four different receivers in the first half.
Drena, who finished 17-of-22 for 290 yards, now has 2,184 yards on the season with 26 touchdown passes.
“We got the job done and I think everyone came out and we knew what we had to do today, especially coming off a big win like last week,” Drena said. “We showed today that we are able to show up and beat the teams we are supposed to beat.”
In a game moved up 24 hours due to Friday’s impending storm, the Blue Knights built a lead of 21-7 after the first quarter and led 44-7 before Enfield scored on the half’s final play.
Enfield’s first touchdown came on a 92-yard kickoff return by Jaylen Brown in the first quarter. Wyatt Raymond’s juggling catch in the end zone made it 44-13 at halftime.
Southington’s junior running back Dillion Kohl ran for three scores — two in the first half — but it was senior Tanner LaRosa who did the most damage on the ground. LaRosa ran for 120 yards — again, all in the first half.
Kohl’s third touchdown run of the game with 5:45 to play in the third quarter gave Southington a 51-13 lead and prompted the CIAC’s continuous clock rule to kick in.
The term “letdown” was thrown around a lot this week after Southington defeated East Hartford 42-27 in a battle of CCC unbeatens. The Blue Knights all but assured themselves of a Class LL playoff bid with the victory, but only if they avoided a loss.
Losing Thursday night was taken out of the equation early.
“I think the guys came out and executed very well,” Southington head coach Mike Drury said. “We talked about how we wanted to make sure we took care of business.
“You can’t let down in games like this. You can only get better each week.”
Southington scored touchdowns on its first six possessions of the first half. Drena connected with Jamie Lamson (4 catches, 57 yards) from 23 yards out to cap the Blue Knights’ opening drive.
After Brown’s kickoff return tied the game 7-7, Southington marched 68 yards on nine plays to a 14-7 lead. Drena’s second TD toss — this one to Carter Uhlman (4-65) — capped the scoring drive. Kohl’s first of two first-half TD runs make it 21-7 after one quarter.
Southington ran 25 offensive plays in the first half to Enfield’s seven and outgained the Eagles 196 yards to 15.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter, which started with a 73-yard TD pass from Drena to a wide-open Will Downes streaking down the sidelines. Downes’ big catch led to another big night, as the senior hauled in four passes for 137 yards.
Drena hit Jacob Flynn (5-31) on a 5-yard TD pass for a 35-7 Southington lead with 7:25 left in the half. Kohl’s 3-yard TD run stretched Southington’s lead to 42-7.
Southington’s final points of the half came via a safety when Enfield snapped the ball over its punter’s head and through the end zone.
Leading 44-7, the Blue Knights’ only miscue on offense set up Enfield’s second touchdown.
Drena and LaRosa fumbled an exchange in the backfield and the Eagles recovered at the Southington 48. The turnover led to Raymond scoring on an untimed down from the Blue Knights’ 15.
Before the Eagles scored, however, the Blue Knights forced Enfield to punt three times and stopped the Eagles on fourth down. Enfield had just 118 yards of offense in the first half, 48 coming in the final two minutes of the half.