Submitted by Eric Anderson.
HKYFA hosted first round playoff games in the 2018 CTYFL Championship on Sunday, Nov. 4, with the A and B squads picking up victories and advancing to the semi-finals while the C squad’s season came to a close with a loss to New Hartford.
The #2 seed HK A squad hosted the #7 seed Thunderbirds of North Branford and prevailed in a 36-0 shutout. It was the first time the teams had played this season and the Thunderbirds, despite being the lower seed, showed no lack of intensity in the opening quarter of play by forcing the Cougars to punt on their first 2 possessions of the game. Alex Phipps broke the stalemate with a keeper up the middle and once the Cougars regained confidence on the offensive line, the lanes opened for Tate Callender who scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. The relentless HK defense, who recorded 4 tackles for a loss and 2 sacks in the first half, added to the point total with a safety by Jayden Fulton and a 65 yard interception for a touchdown by Orion Inkel. A pair of Cavin Napoletano extra-point kicks accounted for the 30-0 half time advantage.
In the first possession of the second half Phipps found Bryce Anderson over the middle for the 37 yard touchdown for the final scoring play of the day for the Cougars. Napolentano and Nick Fox took over the running game as the Cougars looked to run down the clock and record the win.
Phipps ended the day with a pair of completions, both to Anderson, for 67 yards. Callender rushed for a team high 105 yards with Napoletano (34 yds), Inkel (18yds) and Fox (6 yds) contributing. The defense was solid all game, with 13 players recording tackles and holding the visiting Thunderbirds to under 100 yards of total offense. Tackle leaders were Fulton (3.5, .5 sack), Inkel (3), Carey Harwood (2.5), Lee Harwood (3, 1 sack), Callender (3), Ben Cozean (2), Napoletano (2), Fox (2), Vincent Scileppi (1.5, 1.5 sacks) with Anthony Maio, Ryan Wiese, Anderson and Jacob Maier each recording one tackle.
The team will face #6 seed Cromwell in the Championship semi-finals at Pierson Park in Cromwell on Sunday, November 11th at 2:00pm. The team beat Cromwell 32-7 in week 7 of the season.
Michael Seward scored 5 touchdowns for the #1 seed B squad, including scoring runs of 65 and 77 yards, to propel the Cougars to a convincing 34-7 win over the visiting and 8th seeded Cromwell Lions. The HK defense forced 4 fumbles and held the Lion offense to single digit scoring for only the second time in their 9 games this season.
The team will face #4 seed Bloomfield, a 13-0 winner over #5 seed East Hartford, in the Championship semi-finals on Sunday, November 11th at 11:30am at Pierson Park in Cromwell. HK beat Bloomfield on the road in week 4 by a 30-12 margin.
C-Squad Season Ends With Playoff Loss to New Hartford 20-7
After earning the 4-seed for the playoff tournament, the H-K Cougars C-squad could not advance past a very good New Hartford Wolverine squad. The game was close and hard-fought. Both teams traded turns stopping each other in the first half – the Cougar defense was anchored by Tim Hickman, Garrett Whitmer and Jack O’Brien. On their second possession, the Wolverines broke through with a TD run. That was followed by a defensive stop by each team. HK began moving the ball well, but ran out of time in the first half, entering halftime down 7-0.
The Cougars took the late first half momentum and used it to start the 3rd quarter. QB Owen Jones hit Josiah Bourne and Axel Kolcio on consecutive passes to loosen up the Wolverine defense. Long runs by Josh Frith and Axel Kolcio moved the ball deep into New Hartford territory. Jones completed another pass to Kolcio down to the Wolverine 1-yard line, then Bourne rushed in for the touchdown on the next play. With a strike from Jones to Frith, the Cougars tied the game at 7-7.
Unfazed by the Cougars offensive success, New Hartford went to work with the ball and methodically drove down the field behind tremendous blocking and hard running. The Wolverines completed the drive with a TD and went back ahead 14-7. The Cougars responded quickly with long runs from Axel Kolcio and Josh Frith. However, the Wolverine defense made a huge play getting pressure on Jones, hitting him as he threw to Kolcio, resulting in an interception. New Hartford’s offense sealed the game by driving for their final score.
Despite the loss, the Cougar C-Squad has reason to be very proud of their accomplishments this year. This amazing group of boys worked hard and supported each other for the past 3 months. The effort and joy this group played with earned them a special place in the hearts of the coaches and parents who got to watch them all season! Thank you boys!
Photos by Eric Anderson.