NEWINGTON - Just two minutes in to Friday nightâ€™s football game, Newingtonâ€™s quarterback Robert Sanchez rushed 61 yards into the end zone to stun No. 14 East Hartford.
But while the Indians managed to contain East Hartfordâ€™s top two playmakers, quarterback Raquan Thompkins and running back Kevon Jones, for much of the first half of the game, they werenâ€™t able to stop them.
Newington extended its losing streak to seven after a 27-7 loss to the Hornets Friday evening.
â€śWe had a game plan to keep their offense off the field, and I think we were able to do that early on,â€ť Newington head coach Jason Pace said. â€śWe came out in a different formation, one no one has seen, we havenâ€™t shown it all year, and we were able to have a big run.â€ť
East Hartford quickly responded to Newingtonâ€™s opening score when Thompkins connected with Jones for a 43-yard passing touchdown to tie the score at seven.
â€śWe came out strong, itâ€™s honestly the first time we were playing tight,â€ť Newington guard Damon Stewart said. â€śOur defense was clicking, our offense was clicking, everyone was playing together. It felt really good, but then you could tell people started getting tired. Thatâ€™s when the mental mistakes start happening, people start missing catches, people start missing tackles.â€ť
With just 10 seconds left in the first half, Tompkins connected with Israel Colon for another 5-yard passing touchdown, and the Hornets led 13-7.
â€śWe worked as a team and tried our best but we couldnâ€™t pull off the win,â€ť Newingtonrunning back Dylan Nees-Fair said. â€śOur strategy was to run the ball at first, but then we noticed it wasnâ€™t working. We tried passing the ball but that wasnâ€™t working the best either.â€ť
East Hartfordâ€™s offense continued to propel through the second half, as Jones rushed 1-yard for another touchdown and capped off the drive by scoring the two-point conversion, pushing the Hornets lead to 21-7.
â€śWe need to come out positive, hyped up. We canâ€™t get down,â€ť Newingtonâ€™s A.J. Ferreira said.
The Indians have been known to lose momentum in the second half of the game, and it was evident Friday night.
With 8:22 left, Tompkins rushed 44 yards for the final touchdown of the game.
â€śIt seems like when we need to make a big play we come up a bit short,â€ť Pace said. â€śItâ€™s happened all year. I donâ€™t think our guys quit, I donâ€™t think they gave up, they fought to the end, but that being said we still came up short.â€ť