EHHS Hornets fall to Warhawks, 20-13, in football season opener
By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Mon., Sep. 16, 2013
Despite aggressive play calling and improvements on defense, East Hartford High School lost its football season opener against Bloomfield at home on Sept. 13 by a score of 20-13. “The kids fought to the end. They never gave up,” said Hornets head coach Rick Milton.
Bloomfield opened the scoring for the game at 6:20 in the first quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run by Thompson to give the Warhawks a 7-0 lead. Bloomfield scored their second rushing touchdown of the game to make the score 14-0 with 6:43 remaining in the first half. Mirajsh Barnes received the ensuing kick, eluded a couple of defenders, headed to the home sideline and straight to the end zone for a 70-yard touchdown to make the score 14-7.
Bloomfield then fumbled the following kick and East Hartford recovered to gain possession at midfield. Michalek connected with Kendrick Cruz for a 20-yard gain on the first play of the drive to advance to the Warhawks’ 30-yard line. Three plays later, Michalek found Byrd for a 24-yard reception to bring the Hornets to just a few yards shy of the end zone. Two plays later it was Byrd again on the receiving end, but this time Michalek pitched to Lawrence who threw the touchdown pass to Byrd. Bloomfield blocked the extra point to put the score at 14-13, and that’s how it stood heading into halftime.
The Warhawks had success on the ground in the first half, especially on the outside, led by Thompson. “Our game plan was we knew that two people touched the ball on their team and we were going to try to plug the holes,” said Milton. “We were going to keep them in the middle, so that’s what we wanted to do.”
The Hornets tightened up their defense in the second half and limited the Warhawks' big plays on the ground. “We were able to shut them down except for that last drive,” said Milton.
The Hornets were aggressive on fourth downs during a key drive in the third quarter where they went for it three times on fourth down, converting on two of those attempts.
“Probably up until a minute left in the game, this was only a one-point ballgame,” said Milton. East Hartford made it a one-point game following a Daquan Lawrence 2-yard touchdown pass to Cameron Byrd with just over four minutes left in the second quarter. The Warhawks blocked the extra point attempt to give them a one-point edge over the Hornets at 14-13. And that’s how the score remained until late in the fourth quarter.
With 5:39 remaining in regulation and holding onto a one-point lead, the Warhawks began their final scoring drive of the game at their own 10-yard line. Bloomfield kept the ball on the ground for the entire 10 plays of the drive, starting off with a 24-yard dash by senior running back Travis Thompson. Thompson, junior running back Emanuel Jones and senior quarterback Norvel Stewart each had multiple carries during the drive that lasted almost four and a half minutes. Stewart capped off the drive with a 12-yard run up the middle for a touchdown with 1:19 left on the clock.
The Hornets would block the extra point attempt to keep the score at 20-13.
On East Hartford’s final possession facing fourth and six at Bloomfield’s 46-yard line with just under :45 left in regulation, Griffin Michalek’s pass was intercepted by Branden Callender and the Warhawks then ran out the clock for the 20-13 win.
Michalek finished the game going 11-33 for 171 passing yards. Byrd led all receivers with 35 yards and one touchdown. Butler ended the night with 33 receiving yards. Deandre Weldon led the running game for the Hornets with 23 yards on seven carries.
The Hornets hit the road for a two-game swing at Simsbury, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m., and then Conard on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. The next home game is Friday, Oct. 4, against South Windsor at 7 p.m.