FOOTBALL: Kohl’s 246-yard night drives Southington past Manchester

SOUTHINGTON — The Southington football team made a switch behind center Friday night.

But as long as Dillon Kohl was in the Blue Knights’ backfield, it didn’t matter who started for Southington at quarterback. Kohl rushed for 246 yards and his two first-half touchdowns sparked Southington to a 44-6 CCC Division I crossover victory over Manchester.

Kohl ran for a third touchdown with 8:46 to play to give Southington its final points and kept the clock going the rest of the way under the CIAC mercy rule.

Kohl ran for 191 yards in the first half on just 16 carries. The senior ran over the Red Hawks all night and broke through Manchester’s defense for a 76-yard TD run in the second quarter. He later gave Southington a 17-0 lead with a 6-yard run with seconds to play in the half.

The victory improved Southington to 4-1 on the season. The Blue Knights’ lone loss was at Darien in Week 2. Southington entered the game No. 8 in Class LL playoff points.

Manchester fell to 2-3.

Shane LaPorte started his first game at quarterback for Southington, replacing fellow junior Brady Lafferty.

Lafferty, who started Southington’s first four games, started the second half at quarterback. His 10-yard TD pass to Carter Uhlman with 4:22 left in the third quarter gave the Blue Knights a 30-6 lead.

But it didn’t matter if LaPorte or Lafferty was running the offense. Southington’s game plan didn’t change. The Blue Knights had 411 total yards, with 294 coming on the ground.

Manchester scored its only points on its first possession of the second half to get within 17-6. It was all Southington other than that behind a defense that allowed just 111 yards overall.

The Red Hawks gained 54 of those yards on the TD to start the second half. Treyshawn West found Joey D’Amora on a long TD pass for Manchester’s only big play of the night.

Just when it looked like Manchester could get back in the game, Southington’s Jack McManus returned the ensuing kickoff 68 yards for a TD to put the Blue Knights back up 24-6.

Lafferty’s TD toss extended the Southington lead, which grew to 37-6 with 1:20 left in the third quarter on M.J. Bennett’s 16-yard TD run.

Uhlman led all recievers with eight catches for 59 yards. Lafferty was 4-of-6 for 47 yards.

Kohl broke the 200-yard barrier the first time he touched the ball in the second half. Kohl ripped off 31 yards on his first two carries of the third quarter to get Southington to the Manchester 14.

And after Lafferty missed on his first two passes, he found Uhlman in the end zone.

LaPorte moved to wide receiver in the second half. At quarterback, he finished the game 11-of-16 for 60 yards with an interception.

Southington never trailed, but didn’t dominate from the start. That is, until Kohl got the ball in his hands.

The senior extended Southington’s 3-0 lead after one quarter to 17-0 with a pair of touchdown runs in the second quarter.

The Blue Knights took the opening kickoff to the Manchester 6-yard line, but the drive stalled. Southington settled for 23-yard field goal by Jack Barnum.

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