By KEN MORSE
The Plainville Blue Devils went into the Thanksgiving Day rivalry with the Farmington Indians red hot riding its longest winning streak in three years. The Alumni Field fans at Tinty Stadium grew quiet last Thursday as the Indians stopped the Blue Devils cold turkey in a 21-7 loss snapping a four game winning streak.
Farmington came in with a little momentum themselves after demolishing CREC co-op 43-6 on Nov. 17 for its second win of the season. The Indians were by no means a team that appeared to be playing out the string at 3-7.
After all with the Olde Canal Cup at stake and Farmington owning a 5-1 mark in this young holiday rivalry, the Indians hit the ground running. Farmington racked up 204 yards rushing led by Jack Beisel with 100 yards on 21 carries and quarterback Zac Conrad 12 of 24 passing for 115 yards.
Plainville struggled to maintain the line of scrimmage coming up with only 79 total yards on the ground led by EJ Wynkoop (84 yards on 9 carries) and quarterback Frank Griffin threw for 91 yards on 19 of 27 passing and two interceptions.
“We knew going into the game that it would be a challenge,” said Plainville head coach Tim Shea. “We didn’t play well on offense but it wasn’t from a lack of effort on our part. They just took it to us up front.”
Excellent field position opened the door for the Indians when Aidan Sposato recovered a fumble at the Plainville 25 yard line with 4:55 left in the opening quarter.
Riding the wave of emotions Sposato then took off on a 23 yard blast to bring it to the Blue Devils doorstep. Beisel barreled into the end zone from two yards out and the extra point kick from Vin Munshi put the Indians out in front 7-0.
The Blue Devils had trouble finding room to run getting stopped five times for minus yards. When Griffin set up in the pocket looking down field to his receivers he was sacked seven times and three turnovers were out of desperation.
“Our 12 seniors played very hard and left it all out there,” said Shea. “I wish we could have sent them out a little better. This is going to sting for a while but we made a lot of progress this season and the good news is we have a lot of them back next year.”
Farmington closed out the first quarter when Conrad mixed it up using multiple weapons putting together an eight play 82 yard drive. A 10 yard pass to Dante Colagiovanni and 12 yard run by Sposato began to move the chains for the Indians.
Conrad hooked up with Beisel around midfield to complete a 15 yard pass play and finished it off hitting Colagiovanni on a 29 yard scoring pass to up the margin at 14-0 with 1:09 left in the quarter.
What has turned the Blue Devils around this season is a defense whose mantra is bend but don’t break and the Plainville “D” stepped up and slammed the door on the Indians.
Play after play Sam Lestini, Alex Hernandez, Brady Callahan, and Ben Root along with Denzyl Rosado came up with the stops that put a spark of hope along the Plainville sidelines.
With 3:24 left in the first half, the Blue Devils began to hold their own in the trenches. Griffin found Jailen Lindsey (8 catches, 67 yards) on an 18 yard pass. On a third and one at the Plainville 48 yard line Nick Cianchetti and Jason Mills created a seam.
When the Indians tried to close the gap, Alec Karal and Mike McGinley stood their ground. Wynkoop heading to the outside saw the opening and slammed on the brakes and went straight up the gut going 52 yards to the end zone.
The Blue and White faithful was whooping it up in the stands and when Mason Sarra split the uprights on the extra point Plainville was very much in the game trailing 14-7.
“We managed to turn this around,” said Shea. “I know we wanted to go out at 6-4 but going 5-5 after not winning a game last season is certainly something to build on. We just have to keep on climbing, we are right there.”
Justin Ciotto, Jerimiah Miller, and Kanyon Adams applied the pressure up front and Farmington went three and out to start the second half. Cody Marquis and Callahan had blanket coverage on the Indians receivers leading to a Callahan interception in the end zone.
But Plainville made one mistake too many and when an errant snap on a punt attempt from Christian Collin sailed over his head at the end of the third quarter that was the beginning of the end for the Blue and White.
Farmington took over at the Blue Devils 37 yard line and six plays later Conrad took it in from five yards out for the 21-7 final margin.