Raiders show great improvement but fall to St Paul, 52-37.
BRISTOL: You would not think a game that featured a pair of offenses that racked up 1017 total yards would come down to a couple of key places by the other unit that was busy giving up chunks of grass to their opponent.
The St Paul Falcons used a key fourth down stop in the third quarter to turn the momentum back in their favor in an eventual 52-37 win over Torrington on Saturday afternoon in Bristol.
Logan Marchi, who is committed to play at UConn next year, threw for 400 yards and five touchdowns while Falcon running back Eli Parks rushed for 153 yards and three scores of his own.
Raider sophomore quarterback Connor Finn is becoming more and more comfortable finding the end zone himself of late, with his arm or with his legs.
Finn threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns, three to Desmond Langs who caught 13 balls good for 197 yards.
Parks started the stats party for the home team with a 6-yard run in the first quarter on a 12-play drive that took a little over three minutes. The two-point conversion failed.
The Raider needed just 71-seconds to take the lead after Finn connected with Langs on a 60 yard bomb down the right sideline. P.J. Kilmartin added the extra point to give the visitors a 7-6 lead.
By the way, it’s a pleasure to see a team that has a kicker like Kilmartin who not only makes the extra points, he booms them along with handling the kickoff duties and the field goals.
As the track meet started to heat up, the Falcons went back ahead but three plays later on a Marchi 37-yard connection to Reid Morin with a conversion that made the score, 14-7.
Torrington put together an impressive drive on their next possession but it stalled on the St Paul 38, forcing a punt.
Three plays into the Falcon drive, senior captain Ernie Tracy stunned Marchi by being in the backfield on an attempted run to the right side.
Tracy blew up the play, Marchi fumbled and the Raiders recovered on the Falcons 29-yard line.
Tyler Marens, who runs as about as hard as any back in the NVL from his 5’9”, 170 pound frame, scored on a four yard run for the equalizer.
Would this be one those, whoever has the ball last wins kind of game?
Had all the markings of it after one quarter.
Torrington pushed the falcons back on their next drive and after a holding penalty, the home team faced a third and 21 from their own 39.
No problem. Just have your cannon for an arm quarterback connect on a 61-yard touchdown strike to Austin Morin, who bounced off two Raiders defenders on the way to the end zone.
After a stop by the Falcons defense (yes they showed up at key times on Saturday), their offense struck again on another long pass to Morin, this time for 48 yards.
Down 28-14 the Raiders went on a sustained drive that covered 59-yards and ended with a 13-yard scoring toss from Finn to Nate Bresson, who dragged a pair of defenders into the end zone.
Now down just one score, Torrington went into the half feeling good about themselves and it paid off in the third when the Raider defense, thanks to a great punt by Nathan Manchester that pinned the home team at their own eight yard line.
Two plays later, Marchi was scrambling for his life in the back of the end zone and threw a ball into no-man’s land and was called for intentional grounding, a safety that made the score 28-23 with eight minutes left in the third.
Torrington was at a crucial point, about to get the ball back in good field position with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown.
The Raiders started at the St Paul 40 and looked to be in a good place after a 19-yard scamper by Marens to the Falcons 21.
They often look at turning points of a game and this drive was it.
The St Paul defense rose to the occasion and stopped Torrington on a fourth and needed just six plays to take a potential 30-28 deficit into a 36-23 lead.
The key play on the drive was a 59-yard strike to Morin,
From there, the Raiders tried to keep up in the Marchi arms race but Finn was picked off on the next drive, leading to another Falcons score.
The gap was too big, the hill too steep to climb.
With many positives to take away from this game, Torrington continues to form their own identity and it’s getting better each and every week.