GLASTONBURY — Given Friday night’s frigid temperatures, it comes as no surprise that it took the Southington Blue Knights the first 12 minutes to warm up last night.
But once they did, the Blue Knights made quick work of Glastonbury, 20-0.
The CCC Division I crossover victory was Southington’s sixth straight win. It puts coach Mike Drury’s club, ranked No. 7 in the state polls and No. 3 in the Class LL playoff points, at 7-1.
Senior running back M.J. Bennett, filling in for the injured Dillon Kohl, showed the slashing and dashing Southington fans have seen from him all season, scoring twice and rushing 11 times for 69 yards as Southington did all of its scoring in the second quarter.
The defense took care of the rest.
In the first half, Southington allowed Glastonbury just one first down and 9 yards of total offense. The Blue Knights allowed just 100 yards total for the game.
The formula was familiar: pressure on the quarterback, ferocious tackling and shadow coverage.
By the time the Tomahwaks could get anything going in the second half, they were already down 20. And when they did get something going, it ended abruptly.
Late in the third quarter, as Glastonbury threatened, Angelo Plantamuro chased down charging runner Nazzim Bourgoin deep in Southington territory. Plantamuro took a wild, home run derby hack, the ball popped loose and Josh Vitti recovered.
The Tomahawks’ fate was sealed.
The most impressive play of the night was turned in by Vitti on the offensive side of the ball back in the second quarter. Avoiding tackles and picking up downfield blocking from his fellow receivers, Vitti took a short pass from Brady Lafferty and scampered 46 yards for a touchdown with 39 seconds until the halftime horn.
The score came on a drive that started with a minute and change left in the half.
Yes, Glastonbury is not the team we’ve seen in the past that contended for — and won — state championships. Still, the Tomahawks remain a difficult foe and Friday was a critical win for Southington in its quest to return to the Class LL state playoffs.
It was the first of three tests to end the regular season. Next up is a hot New Britain team, which visits Southington next Friday on Senior Night. Then comes the annual Apple Classic on Thanksgiving morning in Cheshire against a vastly improved Rams team in a game that could decide postseason fates for both teams.