Bloomfield defense holds strong in the end against New Fairfield, Warhawks heading to the Class S football championship game once again

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Bloomfield’s running backs Conellius Patrick and Dallas Rose have combined for almost 2,400 yards rushing this season.

But against New Fairfield’s defense Sunday afternoon in the Class S football semifinals, the Warhawks’ dual threats struggled to gain yardage on the ground.

So top-seeded Bloomfield turned to the air, and its defense held strong against New Fairfield as the Warhawks (12-0) rallied from a first-half deficit to win 22-14 and return to the Class S championship game Saturday at Trumbull High at 11 a.m.

The game will be a battle of unbeatens as Bloomfield will face No. 3 Cromwell/Portland, also 12-0, which was a 46-7 winner over third-seeded Ansonia in the other semifinal Sunday.

Bloomfield, playing for the program’s 10th title, last won a Class S title in 2018 but lost to Sheehan in the 2019 championship game, 64-33.

“That hurt a little bit and then we go into the COVID year [and didn’t play], so it lasted a little longer than usual,” said Bloomfield coach Ty Outlaw, who picked up his 100th career victory. “What we’re trying to do is get that monkey off our back.”

Bloomfield’s freshman quarterback Darrien Foster threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter, one to Davien Kerr and the other to his twin brother Davion. Fourteen seconds after the second touchdown pass, which put Bloomfield up 15-14, Howard Simpson picked up a fumble on New Fairfield’s next play and brought it into the end zone for another Bloomfield touchdown.

Bloomfield’s defense also came up big in the second half with New Fairfield on the Bloomfield 2-yard-line with 10 minutes left in the game. On third-and-goal, Jakar Jenkins sacked New Fairfield quarterback Justin McCormack and on the next play, Patrick did the same thing and the ball was turned over on downs. On the next New Fairfield series, there was another fumble and Bloomfield recovered the ball and with New Fairfield driving again late in the game, Davion Kerr had an interception with 3:06 left.

“It was shaky in the first quarter and the second, but we turned it around in the second half,” Davion Kerr said. “We started playing aggressive. We stayed together as a team.”

Patrick and Rose combined for 42 yards in the first half, and the Warhawks struggled to get their offense going against New Fairfield’s defense.

“That’s a real tough team,” Outlaw said. “They stacked that box, and they played hard. We were trying not to make any major mistakes and they were, too. They took away our run game, kinda sorta, and we had to do something else. They made it hard on us, but I felt like we did the same thing to them.”

New Fairfield led 7-2 at halftime after a 54-yard touchdown pass from McCormack to Ryan Fata, and Bloomfield scored on a safety.

Bloomfield came out charged up in the second half, with Davion Kerr returning the kickoff 40 yards. Rose had a 32-yard run in the series, capped by Foster’s touchdown pass, which gave Bloomfield a 9-7 lead. McCormack came right back and scored on a 7-yard keeper, but Foster countered with a 10-yard pass to Davion Kerr to put Bloomfield back up again, 15-14. The fumble recovery gave the Warhawks a solid lead, but they had to hold off New Fairfield throughout the fourth quarter.

“They played great,” Outlaw said of his defense. “They’ve been playing great all season. We depend on them.”

Lori Riley can be reached at lriley@courant.com.

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