Killingly ends New Fairfield’s win streak, season in Class M quarterfinals
KILLINGLY — As physically imposing as a team can possibly be, Killingly knows exactly what it takes to succeed at this point in the season.
A pulverizing rushing attack paved by a wall of massive linemen is a staple within the program, and it once against bulldozed through the opposition when it mattered most.
The No. 3 Red Hawks booked their place in the Class M semifinals for a remarkable fifth straight year, this time at the expense of sixth-seeded New Fairfield on their own version of a frozen tundra Wednesday night. Killingly grounded out a 28-0 win to advance to Monday’s semis as Jack Sharpe carried 32 times for 167 yards, all in the first three quarters.
“We’re a physical football team and we wanted to come out and show them how physical we were,” Killingly coach Chad Neal said. “Our offensive line was great, they just blew people off the ball. Yes, our backs ran great, but those five guys, the receivers and tight end blocked their tails off tonight.”
The Red Hawks will travel to Waterford in the semifinals. Quarterback Jacob Nurse had a pair of short touchdowns for Killingly and Jackson Lopes added a score. Killingly had six offensive drives — not counting one at the end of the first half — and scored touchdowns on four, with one ending on fourth down and another that ended on the New Fairfield doorstep before time expired.
“We’re having six and seven minute drives, and their defense is getting worn down.” Lopes said. “That definitely takes a toll.”
The Red Hawks dominated on the opposite side of the ball, too. Killingly recorded four sacks and forced three turnovers, two of which came in the red zone. Prior to the game New Fairfield’s lowest point output was 12 in a season-opening game against Masuk.
“We were in the red zone two or three times and every game it turned into a score,” New Fairfield coach Anthony Fata. “Today it didn’t and that’s just football; I’m proud of my team for what they accomplished.”
The lead was just 7-0 at the break, but Killingly received the ball to start the second half and orchestrated a pair of their patented drives that effectively ended the game. Sharpe and Nurse capped them with scores between a New Fairfield three-and-out.
“That’s what we talked about at halftime,” Neal said. “You come out here, establish that and score and that puts a lot of pressure on the other team.”
The bus ride to the quiet corner took longer than the game played there for New Fairfield, which scrimmaged Killingly before the season. The Rebels won eight in a row to qualify for the postseason and earn a chance of advancing.
“We didn’t play our best football tonight,” Fata said. “We weren’t as explosive as we could have been and we hurt ourselves. But they did a nice job of keeping us off the field and not giving us a chance to get into a rhythm.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jack Sharpe, Killingly: The sophomore carried the load before exiting with cramp.
“It’s old-school football,” Fata said. “They come right at you and do a great job milking the clock, keeping our offense off the field. It was a perfect storm and we couldn’t get anything going offensively; our defense did the best they could to hang in there.”
NEW FAIRFIELD 0
NEW FAIRFIELD0 0 0 0 — 0
KILLINGLY7 0 14 7 — 28
K—Jacob Nurse 3 run (Chris Jax kick)
K—Jack Sharpe 4 run (Jax kick)
K—Nurse 1 run (Jax kick)
K—Jackson Lopes 2 run (Jax kick)
Records: New Fairfield 8-3, Killingly 10-1.