Perhaps it was the constant injuries, or that he and his teammates toil away in relative anonymity of the Constitution State Conference. But make no mistake, Bullard-Havens back John Shannon is a good football player.
Fired up and anxious to return to the state playoffs for the first time since they were freshman in 2009, Shannon and the Tigers ran over Bassick 49-24 to kick off the 2012 Thanksgiving Day football week.
Shannon ripped through Bassick’s defense, hitting corners hard and turning on the jets to finish with 274 yards and five touchdowns.
“We were so pumped to play this game,” said Shannon, who missed the final three games of last year’s 7-3 season and now has 1,417 yards and 25 touchdowns in nine games. “The line made some great blocks and we came to play.”
Shannon’s chiseled, 5-10, 200-pound frame and his running ability raised a few eyebrows from the few area coaches who were present. Asked, Tech coach John Johnson didn’t hesitate. “Put him behind any line in this state and he’d be up there with the top running backs,” he said.
We’re inclined to agree. Now some lucky team will get to see what Shannon and his teammates can do beneath the playoff klieg lights.
The Tigers finished 8-2, good for a tie for second place in the CSC behind champion Capital Prep/Classical, which took out 8-2 Prince Tech on Tuesday night. Now they’ll practice, eat Turkey and just wait for some results to make sure they’ve qualified for states.
It’s not decided yet, but they’re close. Bullard-Havens needs Ellington/Somers to defeat Coventry, maybe get Barlow to defeat Weston and or just hope Montville loses enough bonus games to clinch a bid.
This would be Bullard-Havens’ third trip to the state playoffs since 2007. Their playoff games — like most schools from the CSC — typically hasn’t gone well. Bullard-Havens lost to Tolland 47-14 in 2007.
When these players were freshman, the traveled by coach to Montville and lost, 49-12.
Those were pretty good Bullard-Havens squads. How about this team? “Honestly, top-to-bottom, it’s the best team I’ve had,” Johnson said. “I think we’ve earned it.”
Just being on a state qualifier was an experience Shannon’s never forgotten.
“It was like going to Disney World,” he said. “Ever since then we’ve worked hard and dreamed of getting back to states.”
We’re just getting started.
A bunch of local and state-wide games will be played tonight, including the SWC Championship between Masuk and Newtown.
Team Hearst has been hard at work getting previews and stories together. Check them all on the HS Football Page.
And be sure to peruse our team-by-team previews:
The points are taken from Matt Fischer’s H.A.L. Playoff Supercomputer, which will update in real time for the remainder of the year.