No such thing as trap game for Hawks
BRISTOL — Woodland quarterback Tanner Kingsley and his St. Paul counterpart Logan Marchi entered last Saturday’s game in Bristol having combined for the most career passing yards (13,737) between two opponents in state history. But Hawks coach Tim Shea wanted to make sure Kingsley didn’t make it a game between the two signal callers.
“We talked about that with him,” Shea said. “The last thing I said to him on the bus was, ‘It’s not about you and him; it’s about us.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I got you.’ We dapped and got ready to go. He’s a great competitor.”
Kingsley outshined the UConn-bound Marchi, completing 12 of 14 passes for 272 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions as Woodland destroyed St. Paul, 59-14, to remain perfect in the Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division.
“The only thing I really wanted to do was win,” Kingsley said. “I’ve never lost to St. Paul in my career and that was the first thing on my mind.”
Some thought Woodland (5-0, 3-0 NVL Copper) was in for a trap game against St. Paul after the emotional Week 4 win over Naugatuck.
“(Offensive coordinator Tim) Phipps said, ‘Everyone is coming up to me and telling me this is a trap game, and it’s making me pretty mad,’” Woodland senior Jack Pinho said. “We wanted to score a lot of points early.”
The Hawks finished eight of their first nine drives with touchdowns and grew their lead by stopping the Falcons on eight of their first nine series. Woodland held Marchi to 12-of-35 passing for 189 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in the first half.
“I knew our defense was going to step up today and make plays,” Kingsley said.
“Our defensive backs have played out of their minds the last two weeks and they stepped up today to make a few interceptions.”
Zack DeBrizzi, Taylor Tucciarone and Pinho all picked off Marchi, and all three interceptions led to Woodland touchdowns.
All four of Kingsley’s touchdown passes came in the first half, as the Hawks’ starting offense ended its shift with a 53-8 halftime lead. He connected on a 17-yard pass to Jack Pinho on the Hawks’ first drive and second-quarter hookups with Mike Kenney (26 yards) and Tucciarone (24 and 61 yards).
“He’s just a confidence booster,” Pinho said of Kingsley. “When you have Tanner Kingsley on your team, you already know. You don’t have to explain anything.”
Woodland also scored five rushing touchdowns, including an incredible performance by sophomore Sean McAllen. On only nine carries — all in the first half — he racked up a school-record 274 yards and three touchdowns. Those scores came on runs of 61, 80 and 99 yards, the latter of which tied NVL and state records.
“He’s working hard,” Shea said of McAllen. “He’s one of those kids who work hard in the weight room and hard at practice. He slowly worked his way up the ladder. He makes the most out of all his reps in practices and games.”
Kingsley said his good day and McAllen’s big runs were due in large part to the solid play of the offensive line, which has been excellent through the first half of the season after returning only two starters from last season.
“The linemen blocked unbelievably today,” Kingsley said. “I really didn’t have much pressure on me. They gave me great protection and they opened up big holes for Sean. He only had to beat one guy on most of his runs, and most of the time he did.”
Coby Vaccarelli and Pat Hale also scored touchdowns for Woodland, which racked up a school-record 668 total yards — 563 of which came in the first half.
The Hawks will visit the South-West Conference’s Pomperaug Panthers Friday night as part of the NVL-SWC Challenge.