The Plainville football team saw its most successful run on the gridiron in recent memory come to an end last Monday in Bloomfield at the CIAC Class S semifinals. The defending state champion Warhawks moved on to the finals after a 35-7 win over the Blue Devils.
Bloomfield churned up the real estate with 311 yards rushing, 3 TDs and 153 yards passing for two more touchdowns, while Plainville struggled to move the ball on offense.
Christian Collin (14 rushes, 54 yards) scored the lone Blue Devil touchdown late in the game when it was already a 35-0 deficit, and Beau Lasher (14 rushes, 24 yards) accounted for all of the 78 yards of offense for Plainville.
No one wanted to see it come to an end especially in this fashion. What may have been lost in the moment was the fact that the boys in blue and white made school history this season and leave a legacy in a program that has spanned 94 years.
“We have five goals at the start of every season,” said Plainville head coach Tim Shea. “The first goal is to be one of the eight teams that qualify for states in Class S, compete for a division championship, have a winning record, have fun and beat Farmington.”
This wasn’t the first time that coach Shea has been to the playoffs. In six years as the head coach at Woodland, he took the Hawks to the state playoffs three times.
“We accomplished our goals,” added Shea. “Anytime you get to play Bloomfield twice in a season that’s a good thing. Does it mean we will do it next year? There are too many variables involved to say we will, we still need to come out and do the work.”
Plainville has put up some impressive teams on the gridiron in close to a century in the making. The 1937 team (7-0) was the first undefeated squad and outscored the opposition by a 90-0 margin on the season.
In 1947 the Blue Devils went undefeated again at 8-0, outscoring opponents by a 265-19 margin and allowing just three touchdowns on the season. The 1958 state champion Plainville team went 8-1 with a margin of victory being 278-12, a school record that still stands.
More recently the 1997 team (9-2) made the state playoffs for the first time since the CIAC formatted the playoff system in 1976. Plainville (8-3) qualified again in 2010 but for the second time fell in the quarterfinal round.
So what did this years team do that the other great teams did not? They won the very first state playoff game in school history, turning back Bullard Havens, 22-12, and advancing to the semifinals against Bloomfield.
For the 11 seniors that walked off the field for the final time in Bloomfield last Monday they had every reason to hold their heads high. Just four years ago this team didn’t win a game and here they were playing for the chance to reach the championship game.
After losing one of their senior captains Mason Sarra in week four to a season ending injury they continued to take the town of Plainville on a journey not seen in many years.
Sarra finished with 438 rushing yards, five touchdowns (All-CCC) along with senior lineman Logan Caswell (captain), (All-CCC) Ty Pales, Adam Buckley and Alex Wynkoop, wide receivers Fabi Laoz, Esteban Torres, Frank Rivera and Dylan McVicker along with running backs Chris Cox and Isaiah Diaz, this group will long be remembered as the team that won the first ever state playoff game in school history.
Once the sting wears off the Blue Devils will look back on a season that may not have rivaled the scoring disparity of the 1937, 1947 or even the 1958 squad but they did in fact go further than any team that ever put on the blue and white of Plainville.
“We have dealt with our fair share of injuries in the past few seasons,” said Shea. “But I like where we are with nine starters back on offense and 10 starters back on defense. That puts us in a real good way but you still need to go out there and do the work. No one is going to hand you anything. But we are excited for the future of this program.”
An encore may be in the making with juniors (All-CCC, All-State Class S) Adrien Marcos, (All-CCC) Dante Chambrello and Ryan Barker along with sophomore Alex Santini returning on the line of scrimmage.
Juniors (All-CCC, All-State Class S) Collins at quarterback threw for 912 yards on the season completing 65 of 151 passes and throwing five touchdowns and rushed for 1,129 yards and 15 touchdowns. Lasher rushed for 450 yards and five touchdowns with (All-CCC) Tanner Callahan adding 85 yards, scoring one touchdown rushing and four receptions for 53 yards.
On the receiving end juniors Dylan Hall 20 catches for 258 yards, one touchdown, Javan Paradis 19 catches, 320 yards, four touchdowns, and 9 rushes for 69 yards and (All-CCC) Dom Chambrello 9 catches for 150 yards.
Defensively juniors Dom Chambrello (2 fumble recoveries) and Callahan (3 interceptions) led the team with 62 tackles each. Dante Chambrello added six and half sacks to go with 56 tackles, Collin had four interceptions and 59 tackles with Santini (2 fumble recoveries) adding 53 tackles.
A trip back to the state playoffs next season would be another first for the Blue Devils becoming the first team in school history to pull off that feat.
Everything is in place for Plainville to continue this storybook turnaround, stay tuned for chapter two next season.