Weston handles top-seeded Rockville and the elements in Class M semifinals
SIMSBURY — Rockville had more to contend with than just James Goetz and Weston’s dynamic offense in the Class M semifinals.
Mother Nature posed a problem, too.
The top-seeded Rams were no match for either, as the fifth-seeded Trojans rolled to a 37-0 victory in a monsoon Monday night at Simsbury High School.
“We were harping all week, we knew it was going to be a sloppy one today,” Weston coach Daniel Hassett said. “We’ve been harping all week about ball security, and the kids did a very good job of it.”
Rockville, unbeaten and chasing its first state final since 1995, had no such luck. The Trojans forced five turnovers, including interceptions by Goetz and Nate Luchetta, to keep their dream season rolling. Weston will face third-seeded Killingly — a 35-7 winner over Waterford — Saturday at 11 a.m. at Veteran’s Stadium in New Britain in its first title game since 1989.
Goetz ran for one touchdown and threw for two more, including a 13-yarder to Jack Sawyer on the game’s first drive. Things quickly escalated from there for the Rams (11-1), who fell behind 14-0 when Tyler Bower hopped on an errant snap off a punt.
Rockville then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff. Goetz coughed up the ball on Weston’s next possession, but the Rams gave it right back for their third turnover of the first quarter. Phoenix Parker connected on a 30-yard kick to put Weston up 17-0 heading into the second.
“It was just a mess,” Rockville coach Erick Knickerbocker said. “The moment was just a little bit too big for us in that moment. We just came out really tired. We worked all weekend to get ready, and it almost looked like we were exhausted and a little overwhelmed in the beginning.”
Meanwhile, the Trojans appeared lively and fresh. Touchdowns by Bower, a 1-yard run, and Brendan Sawyer, a 10-yard pass from Goetz, made it 30-0 at halftime.
“Between James Goetz and the Sawyer boys, they’re fast,” Hassett said. “It’s one thing to see it on film, it’s another thing to see it on the field. They did a very nice job.”
Now, thanks in large part to that trio, Weston sits just one win from its first title in program history. The Trojans lost to Ansonia 44-0 in their only previous appearance in a state final.
“It means everything to us,” Goetz said of reaching a final. “This group of seniors has been dreaming about this since freshman year. We’ve had great leadership since freshman year. It didn’t really amount to anything, but they left the value of working hard for us.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
James Goetz, Weston: The senior did a little bit of everything, throwing for two touchdowns, running for another, and recording an interception. He played a huge role in the Trojans’ runaway win.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME — AGAIN
Rockville technically got to play two home games in the playoffs, but neither was actually on campus because of bad weather.
Rams coach Erick Knickerbocker doesn’t think it mattered.
“They could’ve played us anywhere and would’ve beat us,” Knickerbocker said.
“We’re not chasing an 80s team or a 90s team or the 2012 (Class M semifinals) team. We’re just trying to be ourselves. That means going 1-0 each week. We got that done this week. We’ve got one week left to go 1-0,” Weston coach Daniel Hassett said.
WESTON 37, ROCKVILLE 0
WESTON17 13 7 0 — 37
ROCKVILLE0 0 0 0 — 0
W — Jack Sawyer 13 pass James Goetz (Phoenix Parker kick)
W — Tyler Bower fumble recovery end zone (Parker kick)
W — Parker 30 field goal
W — Bower 1 run (Kick failed)
W — Brendan Sawyer 10 pass Goetz (Parker kick)
W — Goetz 8 run (Parker kick)
Records: Weston 11-1; Rockville 11-1