TORRINGTON – Torrington High School’s bid to end a state championship drought dating back to 1990 came up short Saturday afternoon at Wiseman Field.
On a windy afternoon, where the teams’ passing game was virtually non-existent, THS coach Russell Stienmetz knew the line of scrimmage was going to a major key to the outcome of the game.
In the end, the visiting Lyman Eagles controlled the line of scrimmage in the latter moments of the game to get out of town with a 14-3 win. The state championship was the first for Lyman since the 2012 season.
Through the first half, both teams did not get much done offensively.
“It was a battle. We talked about how the line of scrimmage was critical. We had the line of scrimmage at times. Then they would have it. It was back-and-forth,” Stienmetz said. “In crunch time, they owned the line of scrimmage. It was tough way to lose in the trenches.”
It wasn’t until the closing seconds of the second quarter when a team even sniffed the end zone.
On that drive, a defensive pass interference in the end zone, followed by an offsides call put the Blazers down to the Eagle 12-yard line with under a minute to play in the half.
Lyman’s defense stood firm, holding Torrington out of the end zone, but with no time left on the clock, junior kicker Chase Miller booted a 29-yard kick through the uprights, giving the Blazers a 3-0 lead heading into the locker room.
The defensive struggle continued through the third quarter and into the final 12 minutes.
“Both sides of the ball, their defense was stout. Our defense was stout outside of two series,” Stienmetz said.
Momentum shifted in Lyman’s favor early in the fourth quarter.
With 11:25 left in the game, Torrington was unable to convert on a 4th-and-1 play, giving the Eagles the ball at the Lyman 36-yard line.
Two minutes later, Lyman running back Preston Brewer squeezed his way through the Torrington defense for a 35-yard run for the game’s first touchdown.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, the Blazers fumbled the back to Lyman, and less than three minutes later, the Eagles were back in the end zone, ultimately putting the game out of reach.
“Not having Beau for this game was very tough. Then we had another injury that happened in the first quarter to Trace Floyd,” Stienmetz said. “We had kids step up and fill in as we needed this week.”
Senior running back Cody Pierce led the Blazers with 49 rushing yards on 13 attempts, while junior Deagan Keith added 42 yards rushing on 13 carries. Keith was also 5-of-15 passing for 31 yards, and Pierce was the top receiver with 16 yards on two catches.
The loss marked the end of the careers of nine Blazer seniors.
“These seniors are dedicated to this program,” Stienmetz said. “A couple of them came back to the program for their senior seasons. We were fortunate to have them in our program. I had so much fun coaching these seniors and everybody.”
Torrington finished the season with a 7-3 record.
“We were fortunate to get this entire season in,” Stienmetz said. “Hopefully not rebuilding but reloading for next season and be back here next November.”