Torrington routs Watertown and clinches M-class spot

TORRINGTON – The Torrington football team won the helmet battle 39-7 against Watertown on Thursday morning at the Robert H. Frost Sports Complex.

But, for once, the battle for a trophy and a 29-25-1 lead in the 55-year-old series was overshadowed by a battle for the CIAC playoffs.

This year both teams came in at 6-3 with the grand prize an M-class tournament berth for the winner.

Torrington’s victory, plus a thwarted Gilbert / Northwestern / Housatonic victory over Granby / Canton on Thursday, resulted in an M-Class Thanksgiving feast from the Northwestern corner.

Unofficially, the Raiders are ranked sixth among eight qualified teams and a quarter-final game Tuesday night against the third Granby / Canton.


The G / N / H victory propels the Yellowjackets to 8th place in the unofficial standings and a Tuesday night game at 1st place at Killingly.

Add a historic 14-7 victory at Naugatuck over Ansonia and the turkeys in the area can fly.

Still, the picture started out blurry for the Raiders before Torrington took over behind three rushing touchdowns by Sean Clinkscales, two by Tyler Semonich and a scoring pass from Semonich to Exodus Rosado.

“(Watertown) started out very competitive,” said Torrington coach Gaitan Rodriguez.

“We were surprised by their looks,” Clinkscales said.

Watertown’s first surprise was their success on the ground as the Raiders expected an aerial assault.

Instead, running back John Kozar repeatedly swept Torrington’s ends for 27 of his 47 yards for the game in a 60-yard eight-game opener ending at Torrington’s 38-yard line with a Clinkscales salvage escape.

Clinkscales and the Raiders got to work for eight games against Watertown 33. That’s when Semonich turned the tide on Watertown, finding Rosado 33 yards away to put Torrington on the board.

Less than a minute later, with 42 seconds left in the period, Watertown quarterback Weidemier showed Torrington his passing game – a 55-yard strike to Cam Guerrera in the end zone.

It was a nice play, but Guerrera pushed the bear twice with a celebratory dance in the end zone for what turned into a 7-7 tie in the first quarter.

First off, his celebration cost 15 yards at Watertown’s kickoff, leaving Torrington with an excellent field position at their own 46.

Second, and much more costly, it helped wake up the Raiders.

“We made adjustments and started playing our game,” said coach Rodriguez.

“We just flew and hit them and we just got better and better,” Semonich said.

From there, Torrington was a rocky descent.

Their good position on the opening field late in the first quarter led to a 30-yard jaunt by Semonich and a final 7-yard dash from Semonich in the first minute of the second quarter.

Watertown didn’t go anywhere in six pieces. Clinkscales pierced the line for a 22-yard 20-7 lead at halftime.

Watertown recovered a free kick early in the second half, but play only delayed Torrington’s momentum. The Raiders picked up four games later, then staggered 10 games to take a 26-7 lead on Semonich’s 16-yard run.

Clinkscales wiped out all hopes for waning Watertown with a 10-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter and a 37-yard run to end it.

Clinkscales finished with 134 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Semonich was right behind him with two rushing touchdowns for 77 yards on 10 carries while going 2-for-2 for 68 passing yards.

Watertown’s Weidemier completed seven of 10 passes for 131 yards, including 86 to Guerrera.

Toby Koval joined Kozar in the lead of Watertown’s running game with 42 yards on 10 carries.

The Raiders won the NVL Iron Division Championship (4-0 in the division) with victory.

Game player

Sean Clinkscales, Torrington, Sr., RB: Clinkscales, following a one-year model, narrowly had senior quarterback Tyler Semonich for the pick. “Any of the four captains (Clinkscales, Semonitch, running back Exodus Rosado, lineman Mike Iszczak) would do the job,” said Raiders coach Gaitain Rodriguez. Clinkscales had 134 yards for three touchdowns in 16 carries, plus a fumble recovery from Watertown in defense.

Quotable

“They were a lot more physical than we thought, but we adjusted. We just flew and hit them and got better as the game went on. – Torrington quarterback Tyler Semonich

TORRINGTON 39, CITY OF WATER 7

CITY OF WATER 7 0 0 0 – 7

TORRINGTON 7 13 6 13 – 39

T – Tyler Semonich’s 33-yard Exodus Rosado pass (Sean Clinkscales kick)

F – Cam Guerrera’s 55-yard pass from Sam Weidemier (kick from Alex Daponte)

T – Semonich’s 7-yard run (Clinkscales kick)

T – Clinkscales 22-yard run (missed pass)

T – Semonich’s 16-yard run (missed run)

T – Clinkscales 10-yard run (missed pass)

T – Clinkscales 37 yard run (Clinkscales kick)

Records: Watertown 6-4. Torrington 7-3.


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