TRUMBULL — The Sheehan football offense has been a virtual cannonade all season. On Saturday afternoon, on the biggest stage of them all, the Titans showcased that firepower in a 64-33 win over previously unbeaten Bloomfield in the Class S state championship at McDougall Field.
The state title was only the second in football for Sheehan and the school’s first since 1985.
The stars were plenty for the fourth-seeded Titans (11-2). Jordan Davis had four touchdowns, Terrence Bogan added two and QB Kyle Simmons threw three touchdowns and ran for three more against the defending Class S champs. The third-seeded Warhawks (12-1) came in unbeaten and had surrendered only 29 points all season in their 12 conquests.
“It’s surreal; it’s special,” Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi said. “We have a lot of former players here that played here over the years and helped us build this thing. Each year, each group of kids kept building the program. But it was this senior class that really got us over the top.
“I couldn’t be more prouder of these guys the way they worked, persevered and handled adversity. They’ve known how to win every since they got here.”
The Titans spotted the Warhawks a 14-0 lead in the first six minutes, then rallied to take a 28-27 advantage at the half. They out-scored Bloomfield 36-6 in the second half and then celebrated the title.
Those six Bloomfield points were the first scored in the second half, coming with 4:21 left in the third quarter, and they gave the Warhawks a 33-28 lead.
On the next play of scrimmage, all of 11 seconds later, Simmons went up top with a fade ball and Davis turned it into an 80-yard touchdown that put the Titans up to stay.
In all, Davis had four catches for 186 yards. His three first-half touchdowns, combined with a keeper by Simmons, had the Titans up 28-27 at the break.
Bloomfield quarterback Daron Bryden (22-for-48, 313 yards) had all four of his touchdown passes in the opening half. Three of his TD strikes went to Anthony Simpson. The other went to Michael Raiford.
Bryden and the Warhawks started out hot, scoring on each of the first two possessions.
Brandon Bish set the tone with runs of 17 and 16 yards on the first drive, and Simpson followed with an 18-yard run around right end. After an incompletion, Bryden rifled a 22-yard scoring pass down the middle to Simpson.
Just 1:18 into the game, Bloomfield led 7-0.
Sheehan, meanwhile, went backwards and even fumbled on its first possession. The Titans recovered. Also on that play, Bish suffered an injury and did not return.
Bloomfield scored seven plays later. Shakur Hill started the drive with a 56-yard run and Bryden finished it with a 6-yard TD pass to Raiford.
With 6:03 still to play in the first quarter, Bloomfield led 14-0.
It got darker before the dawn for Sheehan. The Titans were stopped on a fourth-and-1 at the Bloomfield 26 on their second possession. Worse, Bogan temporarily left the game with in injury, though he returned before halftime and finished the game with 23 carries for 193 yards.
Following Bloomfield’s first punt of the day, the Titans got going on offense. Simmons connected with Riley Bjornberg for 38 yards on a third-and-20. On the very next play, Simmons found Davis wide open behind the defense for 37 yards as Sheehan got on the board to cut the gap to 14-7 with 41 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“We’ve faced adversity all year, so two touchdowns isn’t much,” Davis said. “We knew we could get into our groove and we did. I mean, 64 points was it?
“We expected to put up points, but not at that caliber; 64 points is a lot against anyone, forget against a team that gave up 29 all year.”
Bloomfield scored on the first play of the second quarter on a 49-yard connection from Bryden to Simpson, who finished with 10 catches for 174 yards). The senior caught a short pass and slipped out of a tackle and sprinted to the end zone.
The Warhawks were penalized twice on the point-after attempt and eventually the try was missed, leaving Bloomfield ahead 20-6.
Bogan was back on the field for Sheehan’s next possession, but Davis was the focal point. He and Simmons connected for a 53-yard passing play and Davis ultimately finished the drive taking a direct snap in the Wildcat formation from seven yards out.
The second Davis touchdown closed the Titans to within 20-14 with 10:36 left in the first half.
A Thomas DiPasquale sack backed up Bloomfield on its next drive. After the punt, Sheehan took its first lead.
Davis came up huge on the nine-play, 65-yard drive. The senior first kept it alive with a three-yard carry on a fourth-and-1 from the Sheehan 47.
Davis took a big hit on the play and was shaken up. He returned a few plays later to catch a 16-yard TD pass that, following the extra point from Garrett Molampy, had the Titans in the lead for the first time, 21-20.
There was still 5:13 to play in the first half and Bloomfield quickly responded with Simpson’s third touchdown catch of the day, this one was from 27 yards in the left corner of the end zone. Bloomfield went back up 27-21 with 4:08 on the clock.
Simmons put Sheehan back on top 28-27 with a 4-yard TD run with 27 seconds left in the first half. He went to the right on a keeper.
Russell Rutkowski sacked Bryden in the closing seconds to end the first half.
The defenses dictated to start the second half. So did special teams. Sheehan punter Tre Childers boomed and rolled a punt 75 yards down field. Bjornberg downed it at the 1.
Stymied on that possession, Bloomfield regained the lead on the next, driving 85 yards in 10 plays. Hill (14-126) scored on a 15-yard run with 4:21 left in the third quarter.
The Warhawks went for a two-point conversion, but the pass was broken up by Sheehan defensive back Riley Bjornberg to keep the gap at 33-28.
That would be Bloomfield’s final lead of the contest and the final time it scored. Simmons found Davis for the 80-yard bomb 11 seconds later to put Sheehan back on top. Davis then caught a lofted pass from Simmons in the right corner of the end zone for a successful two-point conversion to make it 36-33.
The TD was the first of five straight touchdown drives for Sheehan. Simmons made it 43-33 with a keeper from three yards with 14 seconds left in the third quarter.
“We knew we had to weather the storm,” Ferrazzi said. “That’s the thing. If adversity strikes, don’t panic and just ride it out. We will get that momentum again and ride it. That’s why I think we had the edge coming in because we had been tested. Our kids handled it so well and didn’t panic.”
The Sheehan defense set up the next two scores. The first was a Bloomfield turnover on downs at its own 31 that set up a Bogan 3-yard TD run. Then a Michael Lemay pick and a 63-yard return set up a 1-yard plunge by Bogan.
That score sealed it. Sheehan led 57-33 with 8:15 left to play.
“It’s surreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It may some time tomorrow. It’s a cool feeling,” Bogan said. “It was a hard road getting bumped down to Class S and up a Tier in our conference. We had those two obstacles and we didn’t give up, and it showed.”
Simmons capped the scoring with an 18-yard TD run to put the Titans up 64-33 with 4:18 left.
Simmons finished the day carrying 15 times for 48 yards and three touchdowns.
“I’m usually not a runner,” Simmons said. “That’s definitely a career high for me and it feels really good.”
Simmons was also 9-for-20 for 291 yards throwing the ball.
“It’s no mistake who our playmakers are,” Ferrazzi said. “We find different ways to get them the ball. This is a complete team and the things that don’t show up on the stat line for some guys just make us who we are. We are unselfish and team-first guys.”
And now, beyond dispute, they are first in Class S.