BRISTOL - Newington couldnâ€™t muster up any big plays against Bristol Eastern in its 9-7 loss Friday night.
The Lancers started the game making it known that Ariza Kolloverja was going to play a crucial role if Bristol Eastern was going to get a win and the Indians couldnâ€™t stop him.
â€śWe just got to make sure we eliminate the big plays especially when thereâ€™s a change of momentum,â€ť Newington head coach Jason Pace said.
With 172 rushing yards on 30 carries, Kolloverja and the Lancers offensive line owned the line of scrimmage.
â€śAriza told me last week that he wanted to touch the ball more and I told him to put his money where his mouth is and he certainly did that,â€ť Bristol Eastern head coach Anthony Julius said.
Laprise had three catches for 85 yards and the only Bristol Eastern touchdown.
Defensively, Bristol Eastern owned the line of scrimmage and had a big half from its secondary making sure the Indians couldnâ€™t get the big plays that have been important for them.
â€śI thought the defense was great we had huge third and fourth down stops,â€ť Julius said. â€śGetting off the field was something that we struggled with in the first three games.â€ť
Kolloverja controlled the first half on the ground. After seeing limited touches thus far, he carried the ball 15 times for 49 yards in the half.
It was Justin Marshall and Jaden Laprise hooking up for a 52-yard pass that set up the Lancers with a first and goal with the clock winding down in the first half.
McPhee kicked the field goal through the uprights as Bristol Eastern entered the half with points as the Lancers would get the ball in the second half.
In the second half, Bristol Eastern got the ball from its own 37 yard line and drove 63 yards down the field capped off by a 27-yard touchdown pass from Justin Marshall to Laprise.
Following the Lancers touchdown, Newington got the ball back and on the first pass attempt, Kolloverja picked off Indians quarterback Robert Sanchez.
â€śAriza proved what he can do on offense and defense and he proved how good he is today,â€ť Laprise said.
Newington couldnâ€™t get any offense going in the entire second half as the Lancers defense continued to dominate in all phases.
With a second down and 10 yards to go, Aveontae Frazier got the ball for a loss of four yards on the ground and Edward Santiago led the Lancers as his teammates joined in on the gang tackle.
Newington couldnâ€™t get past that those lost yards Sanchez threw an incomplete pass followed up by a five yard run on fourth down that didnâ€™t net nearly enough yards, giving the ball back to the Lancers to waste clock and walk away with the win.
For Newington, bouncing back and forgetting about this one is crucial.
â€śThe most important thing is for us to stay together and love each other,â€ť Pace said.
â€śOur coaches will be there for one another and we will figure this thing out and get back on the right path.â€ť