TORRINGTON – The Torrington High School defense stepped up to the challenge time after time during Friday’s first round win over the Evanston Red Devils.
The Blazers held the Red Devils to only seven points in a 34-7 win to advance to the semifinal round of the Class 3A football playoffs.
“To hold that team to seven points is a heck of an accomplishment,” THS coach Mark Lenhardt said. “They have some big, physical kids inside, and I thought our kids bent but didn’t break.”
The only score of the game for the visitors came on their opening possession.
Torrington’s defense looked to get a quick three-and-out but a roughing the punter penalty gave Evanston the ball back and first down.
“Josh Kingsley was going to make a play. If he blocks it, we are like ‘what a great play’,” Lenhardt said. “It happens sometimes in football, but I’m very, very pleased with the effort of our guys.”
Two minutes later, the Red Devils cracked the end zone, going up 7-0.
The rest of the game belonged to the Blazers.
On Torrington’s opening drive they faced a 4th-and-3 situation, but converted on a fake punt. A few plays later, senior quarterback Casey Britton powered his way through for a 1-yard score.
After holding Evanston to a quick three-and-out, senior running back Bryan Lemmon busted a run for 65-yards and a touchdown.
After the failed point-after touchdown, the Torrington defense answered with two more key stops.
The first coming on a goal-line stand, resulting in an interception by lineman Scotty Woodruff. The second coming on a failed fourth down conversion attempt by Evanston.
The score remained 13-7 until Lemmon broke free for a 32-yard run just before half.
“I think the big play was when we are up 13-7, and Bryan Lemmon breaks a long run,” Lenhardt said. “We’ve had a good ability this season to finish halves. When we have the ability to finish halves and make it a two-score game.”
In the second half, the Blazers’ lead continued to grow over the remainder of the game.
Lemmon added two more scores over the final 24 minutes to secure the victory.
Lemmon rushed for 190 yards on 21 attempts while catching three passes for 50 yards. Britton was 7-of-8 passing for 86 yards.
“We did a really good job of taking away what they do best. That was the difference in the ballgame,” Lenhardt said. “Hats off to the coaching staff. Our preparation was really good in terms of the assistant coaches being on point. I thought coach (Russell) Stienmetz called a heck of a ballgame.”
Defensively, the Blazers limited Evanston to 236 yards of offense. Kingsley recorded four unassisted tackles, including two for a loss and one pass breakup.
Now the Blazers turn their attention to the Jackson Broncs in the semifinal round on Friday evening. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Wiseman Field.
“They’ve done a great job with the turn around,” Lenhardt said. “Jeydon Cox is a tremendous back. They will run tempo, at like, Oregon speed. That is something we don’t see a lot. They are going to try to wear our bigs down. We are going to have to come out because it’s going to be a very, very tough ball game.”