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CT Varsity High School Football Game Of The Week: Southington And Simsbury Face Off In CCC Play

Hartford Courant 2018-09-12 17:30:00

Week 2 of the high school football season is upon us. The Courant’s game of the week features Southington and Simsbury in a CCC Division I East matchup.

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: at Simsbury

Last meeting: Southington 35, Simsbury 6 (2017)

Tale of the tape: Since Dave Masters took over Simsbury four years ago, the Trojans have been on the rise. But before they can improve on their 7-3 record from a year ago, they’ll need to face one of Class LL’s best in Southington.

Coming off of a 32-27 loss against Hall, the Trojans will look to get back on their feet. For the Blue Knights, they’ll need to see if their offensive firepower that showed up in 41-7 win over Glastonbury is for real.

There’s added motivation for the Trojans, who haven’t beaten Southington since 2009. The Blue Knights are widely viewed as one of the the gold standards of high school football programs in the area. A win over them would be memorable for coaches and players alike.

Week 1 of the high school football season is in the books. Both Darien and Hand won and stay atop The Courant’ state and area rankings.

St. Joseph shocked New Canaan 28-0 and rose to third in the state. East Hartford jumped from No. 8 to No. 7, while Southington rounds out the state rankings at...

“My goal has always been to beat Southington,” Simsbury senior running back Mark Bedson said. “It’s always been the challenge, to beat the best. We’ve kind of been under them — every team has been under them — for the past 4 or 5 years, probably longer. It’s just something that I want our team to be.”

Despite the praise from opponents, the Blue Knights aren’t resting on any laurels, especially against Simsbury. A rising contender in the CCC, other teams have taken notice.

“Simsbury is a good team,” Southington senior quarterback Jacob Drena said. “We watched the film on them, and they’re definitely an improving team.”

While historically different, both teams share a commonality this year, as both are trotting out first-year quarterbacks.

For Simsbury, senior Jackson Butler takes over under center after an All-Courant honorable mention campaign at wide receiver a season ago. With his first varsity game completed, he has a better idea of what to expect in his second against Southington.

“I was woken up a little Week 1,” he said. “It was definitely difficult, more difficult than I thought it would be. But it’s definitely good to get under your belt, because now you can come out and know what to expect.”

For the Blue Knights, Drena tossed for 356 yards and five touchdowns in his debut.

“I felt good being out there with all my guys,” Drena said. “It felt kind of like youth football back in the day.”

Difference maker for Simsbury: RB Mark Bedson

Bedson rushed for 158 yards and four touchdowns in Simsbury’s loss to Hall last week. That’s almost as many yards as he rushed for as a junior alone (he racked up 185 total in 2017).

His lack of reps as a junior weren’t necessarily his fault. He was behind All-Courant back Rafael Nieves, who rushed for 1,346 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Now, he’s the workhorse.

“I felt a lot better than I thought it would, honestly,” Bedson said of his first game as lead back. “As soon as I hit that first break for the 60-yarder, I knew that I had the confidence to keep going throughout the whole game.”

Difference maker for Southington: WR Jacob Flynn

It took Flynn just one game to eclipse his total yardage from last season (140 yards). He made a splash Week 1 against Glastonbury, and reeled in five passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

Alongside senior Will Downes, who also eclipsed 100 yards against Glastonbury, the Blue Knights have options on offense.

“We’re confident,” Flynn said. “We feel that if you’re going to double cover one of us, the other is going to be open.”