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Torrington drops a 42-27 decision to Sacred Heart

POSTED November 05, 2010
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

MUNICIPAL STADIUM, WATERBURY - Don’t let the score of this one fool you, defense did play a major role in shaping this win for the home team.

Behind almost 500 total yards of offense from senior quarterback, Rohan Ifill, Sacred Heart (5-3) outlasted the Torrington Red Raiders (5-3) by a 42-27 score.

It had been thought going in that the last team with ball or the team that managed to make a stop, would prevail and such was the case.

Torrington’s All-World running back, Brenden Lytton, rushed for his usual 246 yards on 39 bruising carries but it was the Hearts defense that set the tone in this one early.

Torrington won the toss and elected to receive, looking to get on the board first, but Lytton was stopped just short on a fourth and one from the Hearts 44.

“We knew how good Lytton was coming in,” Ifill said. “We just had to come out and play tough on defense and our line came up big.”

It took Ifill and company just six plays to go 55 yards, the final 17 came on the first of four touchdown throws by Ifill, this one went to Dwayne Ellis on a fade pattern in the corner of the end zone, a play that would work throughout the game.

In a game that featured two big playmakers, Ifill had made his initial mark, on the ensuing possession, the other made his presence known.

After being bottled up on the sweeps to the left by the Hearts defense, Lytton and company tried the right side.

Two long runs, one for 27 that went right at Ifill on the right side, was followed up by a 22-yard scoring run, also through Ifill.

Neither team converted on the conversion tries, leaving them tied at 6-6.

Punch thrown, counterpunch, effective.

One thing became evident quickly; this was one special quarterback who was as effective on the ground as in the air.

Ifill is elusive, Raiders players had to try not to over pursue or Ifill would use his speed to get through the line and deep into the secondary.

Ifill would finish the game with 163 yards rushing on 17 carries.

This actually turned into a defensive struggle over the next four possessions, two by each team that didn’t amount to any points.

With 10:09 left in the second quarter, the Hearts defense made a stop that would unlock the floodgates for the offense.

On fourth and four from their own 36, Lytton and Torrington was stopped a yard short.

Over the next 8:24, Sacred Heart would score 22 points.

The first came on a Ifill one-yard run, the next was set up by an Ifill hit on Lytton, that caused a fumble which was recovered by the Hearts.

Eight plays later, Ifill would hook up with David Plaza on another fade pattern in the corner of the end zone for a 20-6 lead.

Things looked even bleaker for the visitors when sophomore quarterback, Jason Abbott was picked off by linebacker, Paul Woodruff.

The Raiders, however, bounced back and made a stop that gave their playmaker a chance to do what he does best.

On a second and four from his own 33, Lytton broke free down the right sideline and was gone on a 67-yard touchdown run.

Lytton ran in the conversion and with just 46.5 seconds left in the half, the Raiders where right back in the game.

That is, until Ifill and the Raiders themselves, moved the ball down the field in a big hurry.

Ifill took off from his own 35 and scrambled 42 yards, into Raiders territory with 26.5 left in the half.

After two incomplete passes brought up a third and 10 from the Torrington 27, an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Raiders put the ball at the 13.

Ifill went to, you guessed it, the fade pattern in the corner of the endzone and found Denzel Washington for a 28-14 halftime lead.

Torrington came out in the second half and stopped the Hearts when Lytton picked off an errant Ifill pass.

Seven plays later, Lytton pounded it in from a yard out and again, the Raiders were back to down just one score at 28-20.

It took Sacred Heart and that combination, Ifill and David Coggins, just one play to make it a two-score game again.

Coggins, who as a sophomore, ranks up there with any receiver in the Naugatuck Valley League, had nine catches, good for 162 yards and a the 57-yard touchdown that put the Hearts up by two scores again at 34-20.

You will not find a receiver who runs crisper or more precise routes than this tenth grader.

Ifill would score again on a seven yard run late in the third to put the Hearts up by a 40-20 score and even though Abott would find Will Quarles open over the middle for a 52-yard scoring pass, it was too much Ifill on this night in the Copper.

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