NEW BRITAIN, Dec. 13 – The No. 1 team in the state and the defending Class LL champion Southington High football team was on a mission Saturday night at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
The Blue Knights wanted to leave no doubt of who is the No. 1 team in the state. Southington completed a second straight undefeated season and won a second consecutive state championship with a dominating 49-0 victory over Norwich Free Academy in the Class LL Large Division championship game.
Junior quarterback Jasen Rose put on a show, completing 24-of-31 passes for 348 yards and five touchdowns. Included in that performance was a spectacular 64-yard completion to senior Alexander Jamele in the first quarter on a third down and 31 yards play that went 45 yards through the air.
Jamele caught seven passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns while senior Matthew Maxwell pulled in eight receptions for 127 yards and three touchdowns. They helped Southington gain 495 total yards in the game while the limiting the Wildcats to just 98 total yards. Jamele broke the state record for most career TDs. He now has 50.
“It’s not about one guy and that what this team is about,” Southington head coach Mike Drury said. “It’s about a bunch of individuals coming together to be a great team. They played with energy.”
Southington (12-0) dominated on both sides of the ball. Rose and his receivers had a ball. “They run great routes, they have tremendous speed and great hands,” Drury said. “Jay has a tremendous gift with his touch (on the ball).”
Vance Upham ran for 102 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries for the Knights. Defensively, Daniel Williams led the way with 14 tackles while Matt Thompson had 10.
This was over early. It took Southington just 1:55 to march 78 yards in eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Rose to Maxwell. On the second series for Southington, the Knights were facing third down and 31 yards from their own 20. But Rose lofted a beautiful pass down the right sideline and Jamele made a move to shake his defender and catch the ball on the run. He ran for about 15 yards on a 64-yard completion.
Two plays later, Jamele caught a short two-yard pass from Rose to extend the lead to 14-0.
Maxwell caught a 49-yard pass from Rose to give Southington a 20-0 lead with 3:24 left in the second quarter. The Knights forced NFA to punt with about two minutes remaining and Jamele picked up the ball on a bounce, slipped past two defenders and scooted downfield for a 62-yard punt return for a 27-0 lead with 1:58 to go in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Southington took a knee instead of trying for an extra point after two touchdowns in an effort not to extend its lead past 50 points. Coaches – even in the championship game – can face a one-game suspension in their next contest if they win by over 50 points.
And what about being voted No. 1 in the final state sportswriters and state coaches polls? “The guys played a great game today,” Drury said. “I think they’ll be in the conversation.” The 49-point victory was the most lopsided ever in a Class LL championship game, eclipsing the 34-point win by Xavier over NFA two years ago in 2012, 48-14.
NFA was led by Khaleed Exum-Strong, who ran for 55 yards on 12 carries. Jawaun Johnson ran for 22 yards on 22 carries. Johnson completed 1-of-8 passes for eight yards.
Southington 49, NFA 0
At New Britain
NFA (8-3) 0 0 0 0 — 0
Southington (12-0) 14 16 19 0 – 49
S: Matthew Maxwell 16 pass from Jasen Rose (Dan Parzych kick), 10:05
S: Alex Jamele 2 pass from Rose (Parzych kick), 4:03
S: Maxwell 49 pass from Rose (kick failed), 3:24
S: Jamele 62 punt return (Parzych kick), 1:58
S: Parzych 18 FG, 0:00
S: Jamele 23 pass from Rose (Parzych kick), 8:02
S: Maxwell 16 pass from Rose (Southington took a knee on conversion run), 4:11
S: Vance Upham 40 run (Southington takes a knee on conversion run), 0:52