By KEN MORSE
Lewis Mills began the game with a 60-yard kickoff return from Josh Martinotti to set up the Spartans with a first-and-goal at the 9-yard line, but the Plainville defense slammed the door shut. Lewis Mills clawed for only three yards and lost possession on downs at the six yard line.
That set the tone for the game as the Blue Devils defense repeatedly held the Spartans in check keeping them scoreless in the first half. Plainville went on to record a 20-6 win and are now 7-2 on the season.
“Defensively we did a great job,” said Plainville head coach Tim Shea. “Of course we would have rather not have them start all four drives in our territory especially with a first and goal on the kickoff.”
After holding the Spartans out of the end zone following the opening kickoff quarterback Christian Collin engineered an 11 play, 94 yard drive culminating with a five yard touchdown strike to Javan Paradis (6 catches, 67 yards) to open up a 6-0 advantage.
Lewis Mills began four possessions in the first half in Plainville territory, including once in the red zone (18 yard line) the goal-line stance on the opening drive. The Spartans came up empty each time with two losses on downs, one punt, and a Collin interception at the Plainville 1-yard line.
“The defense made the plays when they had to,” said Shea. “Collin is a work in progress at quarterback, but he’s a hard-nosed runner and is tough to bring down.”
Plainville was clinging to a 6-0 lead at the half but came out and went on a 10-play, 63 yard drive to start the second half, aided by a roughing the kicker call on a punt that generated a first down and kept the drive alive.
Collin busted the plane of the end zone on a three yard blast and then bolted in for the two-point conversion run to make it a 14-0 advantage with 6:48 to go in the third quarter.
Colby Nordstrom completed a Lewis Mills six play, 49 yard drive on the following series taking it the final three yards to cut the deficit at 14-6.
Before the Spartans could even think about getting back in the game Collin took off on a 38-yard touchdown scamper to open up a 20-6 lead with still 4:05 left in the third quarter.
Beau Lasher had 13 carries for 74 yards to keep the chains moving for the Blue Devils. Tanner Callahan had 4 carries for 55 yards. Collin rushed 21 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns and was 9 of 22 passing for 73 yards and one touchdown.
Lewis Mills couldn’t get within striking distance as the defense made sure that door remained shut when Hall came away with an interception and two possessions later Dom Chambrello recovered a fumble.
Plainville ran out the clock on Lewis Mills and improved to the 8th seed in Class S and need just one more win to secure a spot in the state playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“We kept giving them the short field but our defense got it done and kept closing the door on them,” said Shea. “They are a well-coached team. They are gritty, they play hardm and we knew we would be in for a battle. At the end of the day we made the plays we had to make to get the win.”