Blazers fall to Lovell

TORRINGTON – Coming into Friday’s semifinal matchup, Torrington High School coach Russell Stienmetz knew execution was going to be of the upmost importance.

It proved be something which the Blazers struggled with throughout the 35-7 season-ending loss to the Lovell Bulldogs at Wiseman Field on Friday evening.

“Our execution on both sides of the field lacked at times,” Stienmetz said. “Offensively, it was tough to sustain drives, and defensively, the execution of getting to the ball and making a tackle, we struggled.”

The first quarter of Friday’s Torrington and Lovell football game went by in a blink of an eye.

Torrington’s opening drive lasted all of 56 seconds, while Lovell’s first drive lasted nine minutes, resulting in a 7-0 lead for the visiting Bulldogs.

“Even that first drive, we had something open on our draw, and we had one kid come off a block. We didn’t sustain that block, and it goes back to execution,” Stienmetz said. “They basically took the whole first quarter away from us.”

The Blazers played from behind from that moment on in the 28-point loss.

On the opening drive, Lovell converted four third downs and a fourth down to keep the drive alive.

Torrington was forced to punt again as time expired on the first quarter, but after forcing Lovell to punt on its first drive of the second quarter, the Blazers gave the ball right back to the Bulldogs with one of two interceptions on the day.

The turnover resulted in a Lovell extending its lead to 14-0.

However, the visitors weren’t done for the half. The Bulldogs capped off the half with one more score with under a minute to play in the half to go up three scores at the break.

The third quarter proved to be a defensive struggle.

Torrington managed to show some signs of life on offense midway through the quarter, driving into the red zone for the first time in the contest.

“We really needed to get a score in the third quarter, and we were never able to chip away at the lead of theirs,” Stienmetz said.

The Blazers turned the ball over on downs at the Lovell 19-yard line, ending the promising drive.

The defensive struggle continued until the 5:39 mark when Lovell’s lead reached 28-0.

A minute and 20 seconds later, Torrington got a big pass play from senior quarterback Beau Bivens to sophomore Bryce Hager. The play put the Blazers back in scoring position at the Lovell 20-yard line. A few seconds later, Bivens connected with senior receiver Kieser Wolfe on an 8-yard touchdown.

The ensuing onside kick was recovered by Lovell, and with the short field, the Bulldogs marched down, adding one more touchdown to the scoreboard with less than two minutes left in the Blazer season.

Bivens was 17-of-39 passing for 197 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Bivens also led the team in rushing with seven carries for 11 yards.

Hager led the team in receiving with 74 yards on four catches, while senior receiver Chase Miller added 52 yards on five receptions. Wolfe had 45 yards on four catches.

The Blazers ended the season with an 8-3 record, and it will mark the end of the football careers for nine seniors – Deagan Keith, Caden Engel, Wolfe, Bivens, Cole Parriott, Carson Schultz, Kyler Shields, Trevor Schaub and Chase Miller.

“I bet some of these kids are close to 30 starts. That’s phenomenal for a kid, and you see it, especially like last week against Cokeville, the maturity, the experience those kids have,” Stienmetz said. “Those kids are very special to me. Shoutout to the players. It was a great season.”


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