Heading into Tuesday night's regular season finale, Bloomfield football needed a win if it hoped to have any chance of reaching the Class S playoffs.
Behind the explosive running of Ky'Juon Butler and second-half heroics from quarterback Daron Bryden and wideout Anthony Simpson, the Warhawks overcome a scrappy Glastonbury squad 33-28 in a back-and-forth game at Phil Rubin Stadium at Bloomfield High.
"They wanted to win for us to [have a chance to] get in the playoffs," coach Ty Outlaw said. "It was senior night, and we know Glastonbury is not going to come in here and lay down."
Bryden, a freshman, and Simpson, a sophomore, took over in the fourth quarter. Down 28-21, the two connected on a 24-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to one (the kick fell short). And with 1:37 left in the game and facing a fourth-and-9, the two connected again on a 19-yard TD to give Bloomfield the lead.
"We've been trusting him all year," Outlaw said of Bryden. "He's been stepping up and has a lot of poise for a freshman. My young guys really stepped up, played as a team and got the job done."
Butler had tied the score at 21 in the third quarter on a 15-yard touchdown followed by a successful two-point conversion run. But Glastonbury wouldn't go away, as Drew Daniels connected with Ryan Molinari from 48 yards to take a 28-21 lead. It was the second touchdown connection of the night for the two.
"We had some glimpses," Glastonbury coach Scott Daniels said. "We couldn't run it against these guys because they're big up front. But we were throwing it around a bit. Drew had a good game, and Mol caught a couple touchdowns. There are some good things that came from it."
Glastonbury took control in the second quarter behind Drew Daniels, who was able to find receivers in tight coverage and lead his team down the field twice. He connected with Molinari on a 26-yard touchdown pass and again with Peter Morrisroe with 26 seconds left in the half to give the Tomahawks a 21-13 lead.
"It was a great high school football game tonight. It was exciting," Scott Daniels said. "You never want to come end up on the losing end, but you know what? They fought. They battled."
Bloomfield had struck first in the game, after both teams were forced to punt on their opening drives. Starting on the Glastonbury 44-yard line, the Warhawks got a big 39-yard pass from Bryden to Simpson and capped it with a 3-yard Butler touchdown run.
But the Tomahawks immediately answered, marching down the field and tying the score on an 11-yard Matthew Tenney run and Ryan Smith kick. Bloomfield responded on their next drive when Butler got free and raced 33 yards for the go-ahead score. The extra point kick was blocked, and Bloomfield led, 13-7.
The Warhawks made some key errors in the first half, including a pass interference penalty that set up Glastonbury's last score of the first half and a couple of drops that might have been touchdowns. But the defense came out fast in the second half, forcing Glastonbury to go three-and-out on its first four second-half drives.
"This is our first time playing them in a while, so we respect them, but they weren't doing anything that we couldn't handle," Outlaw said. "We just had to stop making the mental mistakes and stick to our technique, and they did that in the second half."
Around The Area
Simsbury 42, Avon 0: Jackson Masters threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns to help Simsbury (7-3) defeat Avon in a CCC interdivision game at Holden Field in Simsbury.
Masters threw two TD passes to Ralph Gilliard, who had 12 catches for 173 yards, and one to Jackson Butler, who had six catches for 102. Masters and Rafael Nieves also each had a rushing score.
Quandrell Stewart had 12 rushes for 60 yards for Avon (3-7), but the team was held to 98 yards of total offense.