TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School football team will be making a return trip to the state championship on Saturday after knocking off Mountain View 31-20 at Wiseman Field on Friday.
It will be the third time in four years in which the Blazers have had an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been in Torrington since 1990 – end the season on a winning note.
A 42-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Beau Bivens to junior receiver Keiser Wolfe, and a 38-yard field goal by junior Chase Miller gave the Blazers an early 10-0 lead after 12 minutes of play.
Mountain View wasn’t going to go away quietly, punching in its first score of the game with 9:01 left in the second quarter.
That was the start of the teams trading scores into the third quarter.
“It was a game of answers tonight,” THS coach Russell Stinemetz said. “We even answered the penalties. We’d get a 10- or 15-yard penalty and turn around overcome those. Hopefully we can do that for one more week.”
Torrington answered less than four minutes later with a 3-yard run by Carson Schultz pushed the Blazer lead back to double-digits.
“One thing I was really impressed with was with our o-line,” Stienmetz said. “We got great push, great surge from those kids. It was definitely something we can build off of for Lyman.”
Once again, the Buffalos marched right now the field, and on a 4th-and-5, Mountain View quarterback connected Ashton Schofield in stride on a 35-yard touchdown to close the gap back to 17-13 with three minutes left in the quarter.
The offensive surge continued as the clocked ticked closer to halftime.
Torrington drove down to the Mountain View 28 when Bivens hit Miller in the end zone for a touchdown with 17 seconds left. Miller completed the two-point conversion to make the score 25-13 at the break.
“Once again, such a weapon in Chase Miller,” Stienmetz said. “It was a pretty long pass from Bivens. We saw they were going to give up the post on the back side. We knew it was going to be there. We called it early and completed it.”
Mountain View received the kick to start the second half, taking it the distance, making it a game a one-score game yet again.
“We were just talking about it was a game of answers,” THS coach Russell Stienmetz said. “In the second half, they came out and took the kickoff return for a touchdown, but we drove down and scored a touchdown.”
The teams traded possessions over the next six minutes with each team punting, but with 5:12 left in the game, Bivens passed for his third touchdown of the game, hitting Wolfe in stride over the middle of the field on a 46-yard touchdown.
The score proved to be the final touchdown of the game, but the game was far from over.
With 2:58 left in the third quarter, Bivens went down with an ankle injury on a drive when Torrington was once again moving the ball. The injury resulted in Bivens being taken off the field in the back of a cart with a dislocated and broken ankle.
Once play resumed, Torrington fumbled on the very next play as the game shifted to a defensive struggle for the remainder of the game.
The fumble was the first of two Mountain View recovered over the final 12 minutes, but the Blazers also hauled in interceptions by senior Aiden Hull and junior Trace Floyd.
The Torrington defense also held on a Mountain View on a fourth down to force a turnover on downs with under two minutes to go, allowing the Blazers to run out the clock.
“We got a few of those turnovers to go our way which is really exciting,” Stienmetz said. “We’ll build off those and hopefully take it to Lyman next week.”
Bivens was 17-of-23 passing for 272 yards and three touchdowns and will not be available for the state championship game.
“Coach (Robb) Nicolay and I will meet (Friday night) and figure out who we are going to have and go from there,” Stienmetz said. “It will completely change the whole offense for sure.”
Wolfe led the team in receiving with 121 yards and two scores on five receptions. Junior Deagan Keith also hauled in five receptions for 78 yards.
Floyd led the Blazers in rushing with 41 yards on 10 carries, and Pierce added 39 yards on 12 attempts.
Torrington will host Lyman, who defeated Upton-Sundance 37-15, at 1 p.m. Saturday at Wiseman Field.
“They are a tough team with the way they beat Upton the way they did. They are on a roll. They are a heck of a team,” Stienmetz said. “A lot of running, and they will spread us out and throw the ball. We’ll have to be ready for everything.”
State championship tickets
Tickets will be $8 for adults and $5 for students. In an email from THS athletic director Dave Plendl, everyone must purchase a ticket and have a mask or face covering with them to attend the game.
Pre-sale of tickets will be at the high school on Tuesday and Wednesday from 4-5:30 p.m. in the main entrance to the school.
Gates will open at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.