Newington Football Again Falls to Hall, 48-27
NEWINGTON - West Hartford public schools have not been kind to Newington’s football team. On the heels of a 20-13 loss at Conard, things got even worse last Friday night when the Indians welcomed Hall High. Coach Roy Roberts remains winless against the Warriors after the most recent defeat, by a score of 48-27.
Hall put the game away when senior running back Devon Hightower took a pitch around the corner and up the right sideline for a 55-yard rushing touchdown, his third of the game. The score came with 9:09 remaining and put Hall up 48-27, after the successful PAT. The touchdown put an end to the trading off of scores between the two teams that was previously occurring throughout the second half.
Just moments before, and six seconds into the fourth quarter, senior quarterback Jake Hedberg found Kyle Armour in the end zone for his fourth and final touchdown pass. The score cut the deficit to 41-27. However, Hall’s offensive attack was too much for the Indians. The Warriors gained 531 yards of total offense, averaging 9.5 yards per play. Newington’s last two possessions after that score ended with turnovers.
Hall won the coin toss, elected to take the ball first and never looked back. The Warriors scored on the opening drive, capped off by a 35-yard touchdown pass from Tom Honyotski to Rob Parra, and never relinquished the lead. While Hall had it working offensively both in the air and on the ground, their senior quarterback got them rolling with a big first quarter. Honyotski threw for 154 of his 230 passing yards in the first quarter on 7-12 passing. Hightower would later score from three yards out, giving Hall a 14-0 first quarter lead and foreshadowing the kind of night the senior running back would have for the Warriors.
Jake Hedberg did his part to keep up with the fast-paced Warrior offense, as the junior quarterback threw for 121 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Unfortunately, the closest the Indians got was a 14-6 deficit in the final minute of the first quarter after Hedbgerg connected with Armour in the end zone, for the first time, on a 37-yard pass play, the longest completion of the game for Newington. Newington trailed 34-13 at the half, as Honyotski and Hightower each added their second touchdowns in the second quarter.
The second half featured opposite performances from the two quarterbacks. Hedberg threw nearly as many interceptions as Honyotski did passes in the final 24 minutes. All three of Hedberg’s interceptions hit off the hands of Newington receivers before landing in the possession of the opposition. Junior Neil Kelley had two of the interceptions for Hall, who were unable to score after any of the three forced turnovers. Meanwhile, Honyotski was able to sit back and watch his tailbacks do the work, as he attempted four passes, completing one for 19 yards. Meanwhile, Hall ran for 196 yards, mostly out of their double-wing formation, with a four-man attack. Hall kept swapping out running backs between Hightower, Hunter Pond, Javone Bellamy and Jordon Bell. Bell led the way with 153 yards on 14 carries, including a 90-yard third quarter touchdown run.
For Newington’s defense, it was a case of pick your poison. Honyotski threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns, but Hall’s rushing attack also pounded out 301 yards and four scores. It was one big play after another for Hall, as nine of Honyotski’s 12 completions went for over 14 yards. Hall also had 10 runs of 10 or more yards, including touchdowns of 55 and 90.
Hedberg, playing from behind, threw 43 times for 278 yards, completing his first seven passes of the second half. Meanwhile, Newington gained 127 yards on the ground with 80 coming from senior tailback Isaiah Young.
Newington has not beaten Hall since a rare 3-2 win in October of 2009. Since then the Indians are 0-3 against the Warriors, being outscored by a combined 70 points in the three games. With a 1-11 September record since 2008, no one is happier than Newington to see the calendar flip to the 10th month of the year. As the weather cools down, the Indians usually heat up.
Newington heads to Manchester Friday, with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.