Rocky Hill Falls from Ranks of the Unbeaten
ROCKY HILL - The Rocky Hill Terriers traveled to Meriden undefeated and left Falcon Field with a humbling 47-14 loss at the hands of the Platt Panthers Friday night. The game was touted as a battle between uber-talented running backs Chris Young (Rocky Hill) and Tyzhan Leatherwood (Platt), but it turned into a game of big plays by the home Panthers and missed opportunities from the Terriers.
Leatherwood shook off two fumbles (one lost) on Platt’s opening possession and wound up rushing for a school record 352 yards and four touchdowns. The electrifying running back opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 12-yard touchdown run when Platt’s overpowering offensive line opened a massive hole for Leatherwood to run through. The opening score was set up by a 41-yard punt return by Olajuwon McLeod, who would later add another long punt return and two touchdown receptions to his explosive night. The first of McLeod’s touchdowns occurred with Platt holding a 6-0 lead and facing a fourth and nine from the Rocky Hill 30-yard line. The Panthers decided to forgo a long field goal and left their offense on the field. The result was a spectacular 30-yard touchdown toss from Platt’s quarterback Andrew McBride to the speedy McLeod in the corner of the end zone. The Panthers added an insurance score late in the first half when McBride lofted a beautiful touch pass to Creme Watford in the back of the end zone that gave Platt an insurmountable 20-0 edge at the break.
Rocky Hill settled down in the second half, but they were unable to sustain any momentum due to costly turnovers and untimely penalties. The Terriers did have an opportunity to swing the momentum when Platt fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half. However, they were unable to capitalize off the great field position and turned it over on downs inside the Platt 10-yard line. Two plays later, Leatherwood ripped off a 93-yard touchdown on a perfectly executed draw play. Rocky Hill’s offense put together their best drive of the game on the ensuing possession, which ended with Young scoring his 11th touchdown of the season when he outran several Platt defenders to the right corner of the goal line for a one-yard score, narrowing the margin to 26-8. However, any chance of a Terriers’ comeback was thwarted on Platt’s next offensive play when Leatherwood burst up the middle, on another draw play, and scampered 80 yards for his third score, which put Platt up 33-8.
There was a lot that went wrong for Rocky Hill on Friday night, but one bright spot was Jamison O’Connell. The senior linebacker tallied several tackles, including a number of touchdown saving tackles, which kept the score from being more lopsided than it was. He is one of a number of Rocky Hill players who are looking to fill the void left by injured star Dave Sevigny, who was hurt last week in the victory over Bloomfield. Before the injury, Sevigny was second on the team in rushing yards and seventh in tackles.
The loss puts Rocky Hill (4-1) in a three-way tie, with Bloomfield and Northwest Catholic, in the Central Connecticut III West. However, the Terriers still have the tiebreaker advantage because they are the only team in the West without a conference loss. They will look to keep their perfect conference record intact this Saturday at Weaver High School in Hartford. The Weaver Beavers (1-4) have struggled this season and are coming off a 44-8 loss to Berlin. The Beavers are led by fourth-year head coach Kevin Quinn, who runs a pass-happy offense which features duel senior signal callers Mark Jennings and Nick Meadows. Kickoff for the conference clash will be at 1 p.m.