The first round of the NCFL playoffs for the HK B squad featured a week seven rematch against the Colchester Cougars. In week seven, Colchester broke open a close game with a pair of late touchdowns to take the 46-26 win. B squad coaches and players worked hard at practice all week to prepare for the game with the season on the line for both teams.
After Justice Mangiagli recovered a fumble on a bad snap by Colchester, Tate Callender stunned the crowd on HK’s first play from scrimmage with a short catch and 78 yard run up the sidelines for the 6-0 lead as HK was unsuccessful on the two point conversion. Colchester would strike back with a pair of touchdowns but the HK defense held strong to deny Colchester the two point conversion on their second score with great pass defense by Jacob Meier and the host team settled for a 14-6 lead at the break. During the first half the HK defense played inspired ball with John Bruder and Ben Cozean recording tackles for a loss and Bruder forcing a fumble that was recovered by the offense.
Callender would strike again, much like he did in the first half, outrunning a host of Colchester defenders on HK’s first play of the second half for a 59 yard touchdown and with an Ethan Coady two point conversion run up the middle the game was tied 14-14. Colchester would counter with a touchdown to take six point lead but Chaz Cosenza stopped the host team’s two point conversion hopes with a great tackle at the line. Twice in the closing minutes of the game HK had the ball with a chance to tie the score but a pair of turnovers ended the post season hopes for the Cougars. Although not the result the team had prepared for, the team left all they had on the field in a very hard fought game.
The defensive unit, who were on the field for 57 plays on the day, were led by Callender, Kevin Gamache, Cavin Napoletano, Mangiagli, Cosenza and Bruder who all recorded multiple tackles on the day. Ethan Coady had 30 yards rushing from the quarterback position and Corey Phipps had a spectacular 20 yard reception to help extend one of HK’s late drives in the second half.
In another week seven rematch, the C squad traveled to RHAM to take on Colchester in the first round of the playoffs. HK shutout Colchester 8-0 in week 7 in an exciting defensive battle.
In the game, the C squad posted the first score of the game when Zenon Kolcio scored and added the two point conversion. Colchester would score a touchdown to cut the lead to two points but outstanding defensive pressure from Hunter Roth and Cooper Savoy stopped Colchester short on the two point conversion. That play would prove decisive, as the NCFL C division’s lead leading defense protected the slim lead by shutting out Colchester for the remainder of the game to take the 8-6 win. With a 6-3 overall record, the team advances to the 2nd round of the playoffs where they will play Cromwell at Colchester on Sunday, November 15th at 10am. Cromwell beat HK 14-6 in week 6 of the season.
The HK D-squad journeyed north to Ellington this past Saturday to wrap up a terrific season of football. The D-Squad “Jamboree” allowed each team the opportunity to play 5 opponents on a short-field with 10 offensive plays and 10 defensive plays for each squad in each ‘game’. While several of the HK opponents were familiar rivals (Colchester, Ellington and Cromwell), the team was the provided the opportunity to square-off against Tolland and Stafford for the first time this season. The Cougars were able to show off the progress they have made as an Offensive unit – mixing in running plays around the end, up the middle as well as a few misdirection plays – piling up 180 yards on the rushing game. Additionally, the team broke out their “air attack”, completing 4-of-5 pass attempts for 58 yards and a touchdown. Standouts on offense included Axel Kolcio (14 rushes for 70 yards and 2 TDs; 2 catches for 40 yards and 1 TD), Josh Frith (15-85 and 2 TDs); Spencer Savoy (5-29) and Jay Moyher (2 catches for 18 yards). Line play was solid as Anthony Parillo, Noah Soucie, Tyler Napierkowski, Nate Mularski, Michael Johnson, and Alex Karber created running lanes. Lead-blocks from FB Jaden Fazzone and WR Marcel Inkel were critical to the success of the running game. QB Owen Jones played a smart game, not just in managing the passing game, but also executing all 52 plays without a turnover.
On defense, the Cougar squad began the day very strong, with 10 of the first 26 snaps going for negative yards. As the day continued, the 13-man squad grew tired, but still fought hard. Anthony Parillo anchored the defensive-line with several tackles for losses and a fumble strip-and-recovery. Spencer Savoy and Jay Moyher provided pressure from the DE spot and Tyler Napierkowski and Jaden Fazzone bottled up opponents running between the tackles. Linebackers Axel Kolcio, Noah Soucie and Josh Frith did a terrific job finishing off tackles and bringing down ball carriers who were able to get through the Cougar line. Safety Owen Jones made several tackles to prevent long runs from becoming touchdowns and also tackled receivers after successful pass plays. CBs Michael Johnson, Nate Mularski, Marcel Inkel and Alex Karber did a good job of containing the running game by making tackles on the outside running lanes.
The HK coaching staff thanks the players and the parents for a terrific year of football. The kids all grew in their understanding of the game and worked hard to be the best teammates they could be.
Up next for HKYFA Cheerleading: Cheer teams are busy preparing for the NCFL cheer competition on Saturday, November 14th in Tolland and the state cheer competition on Saturday, November 21st at Bloomfield High School.