Hall defeated Norwalk 37-0 in West Hartford on Saturday.
By Paul Palmer
The Hall Titans football team was firing on all cylinders and came away with a dominating 37-0 win over the Norwalk Bears Saturday night. Quarterback Bode Smith didn’t let a non-stop drizzle or the Norwalk defense slow him down as he orchestrated drives with both his arm and feet.
On their first possession it looked like Hall was going to go 3-and-out, but a penalty on fourth down gave the Titans new life and they took advantage. Smith found Tyler Redden on a completion for a first down and then running back Jackson Bracken went up the middle for the touchdown with 7:35 to go in the first.
After another 3-and-out for the Bears, and facing a fourth down of their own, Smith found Bracken for a first down completion. On second down it was Redden on the receiving end of the Smith scoring pass and with 2:40 left in the first Hall was up 14-0.
The Bears put together their own seven-play drive as the first was winding down, but an ill-advised pass from quarterback Mason Riina was intercepted by Jordan Brice as the first was ending.
The score remained the same until just under halfway through the second quarter when Smith once again found Redden for the score. The junior receiver laid out as the pass came from Smith and managed to haul it in at the back of the endzone. “He is a full effort guy,” said Hall head coach Frank Robinson of Redden who plays both offense and defense for the Titans.
After the Hall defense held the Bears one more time, Smith led the offense on another long drive that resulted in points. He and Bracken were the main cogs in the drive, with Smith running over a would-be tackler on a keeper and Bracken keeping the drive alive on third down with a big run to the Norwalk 38. With the clock winding down it looked like Smith and Redden had hooked up again for a pretty pass and run touchdown, but an illegal block in the back call took the points off the board. Hall had to settle for a Joseph Griffin 26-yard field goal and the 24-0 lead at the intermission.
Neither team was able to threaten the end zone for most of the third quarter, but that all changed when Brice got the ball in his hands on the right side, ran the reverse, and fought off tacklers to push his way into the end zone on the 49-yard play. “We all work so well together,” said Brice of his teammates. “We are all close and there is a real bond.”
Hall began its next possession at its own 24 after fair catching a punt that came out of the Bears end zone. Once again it was Brice, this time going off the left side and scoring with 1.6 seconds in the third and Hall had the commanding 37-0 lead.
“He runs really well and reads his blocks,” Robinson said of Brice.
With the large lead, Hall began substituting and kept the ball on the ground as the game was now being played under a running clock. The only thing left for Hall was to secure the shutout, but Norwalk made them earn it. Jayden Diaz busted off a big run, moving the ball across midfield as the clock wound down. After allowing one more first down on the drive, a Riina fourth down pass fell incomplete as time ran out and Hall had the victory.
“A lot of things went our way today,” said Robinson. “We had great energy and took advantage of the opportunities. I thought Bode (Smith) did a nice job of orchestrating the game plan.”
The win moves the Titans to 2-1 on the season and they will face a tough test next Friday when they host Southington at 7 p.m.
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