The Rams put up a valiant effort Tuesday night, but a victory just wasn't meant to be.
A third quarter penalty brought back a 60-yard run and proved costly as the Southington Blue Knights eventually used a late field goal to win 9-6 in a hard-fought contest between the rival schools in the 14th powder puff match-up between the two teams.
“We had a great team and it was fun the entire time,” said head coach George Gilhuly. “From the first day when some of the girls didn’t even know how to do calisthenics to this game after just 10 practices, I couldn’t be more proud of what these girls have accomplished. It was always fun.”
Southington pulled the win out behind a 25-yard field goal from senior Courtney Race in an exciting finish.
head coach George Gilhuly said he couldn’t have been more proud of the way his girls toughed it out, staying positive and shooting for a last score even after falling behind in the final minutes.
“It was an exciting play in an exciting game and I knew on fourth down, it was the right decision,” said Southington head coach Charlie Kemp. “We knew we had a kicker and looking at the drive, we had been halted (in the red zone). It wasn’t worth turning back on our game plan then.”
Southington and Cheshire both faced adversity, with the weather anything but cooperative in the 14th contest between the two teams. It was the first time they’d met in the powder puff contest since 2008 and neither team was willing to let chilly conditions, constant rain and a mud-filled field ruin their opportunity to compete for bragging rights.
From the very beginning, fans could see that the offenses for each team would be in for a long night. Race’s initial kick-off was dropped as two Cheshire players collided after slipping in the mud that had already developed around the 30-yard line.
Both teams exchanged quick offensive possessions in the first quarter before Southington took the lead on a 57-yard run by Blue Knights running back Edyta Tomaszewska with 2:28 on the clock.
Cheshire never quit, however, and responded in the second quarter with a score of its own. Led by quarterback Caroline Kushner, the offense pushed down the field using a combination of sweeps and reverse plays before a 25-yard run down the left side tied things up.
Southington appeared to take the lead as the first half came to a close as running back Alison Vachon broke out of the backfield and sprinted 65-yards to pay dirt, only to have it called back on a holding penalty.
It was the last time either team would see the end zone.
Cheshire started the second half with a flurry and had a 60-yard run of their own, which was also called back following a holding. The Rams sustained a drive into the Blue Knights’ red zone, but couldn’t finish and turned the ball back over to Southington.
“It’s tough to lose that way,” Gilhuly said. “One penalty in the third-quarter, that play would have put us inside the (5-yard line).”
Southington responded by sustaining a drive of their own, moving the ball slowly up the field and taking considerable time off the clock before finally adding points with Race’s field goal.
Kemp said it was a great way for his girls to win, especially after they received a crushing defeat at the hand of New Britain High School 40-7 the night before. The girls put the loss behind them and bounced back with “astounding resiliency” to get the win, Kemp said.
“This was what it was intended to be. It was a great table setter for the Thanksgiving Day game,” Kemp said.
Cheshire High School will play host to Southington on Thursday morning, with kick-off scheduled for 10 a.m. as the Rams and Blue Knights play the inaugural game on their new turf.