Photo: Morgan and quarterback Drew Nye face a formidable challenge Tuesday night in undefeated, top-seeded Bloomfield in the Class S playoffs. (Photo by Kim Inglis)

By Paul Augeri

No. 8 seed Morgan will have its hands full when the Huskies meet top-seeded Bloomfield in the CIAC Class S quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

The undefeated Warhawks have two 1,000-yard rushers in their backfield, a 1,000-yard passer in sophomore quarterback Darrien Foster, a defense that has allowed just 44 points in 10 games, and the benefit of big-stage experience. Bloomfield has won two state championships since Morgan’s last playoff appearance six years ago and is bidding to make a third straight Class S final.

It’s not just one thing with this Bloomfield team. The Huskies are trying to prepare for all of the above.

Class S Quarterfinal

  • Who: No. 8 Morgan at No. 1 Bloomfield
  • When: Tuesday, 6:30pm
  • Where: Phil Rubin Stadium at Bloomfield High School
  • Records: Morgan 8-2; Bloomfield 10-0.
  • Recent Playoff Appearances: Morgan — 2015 (Class S quarterfinal loss); 2013 (Class S quarterfinal loss). Bloomfield — 2019 (Class S finalist, lost to Sheehan; 2018 (Class S champion); 2016 (Class S quarterfinal loss); 2015 (Class S champion).
  • Bloomfield top players (stats from 9 games): Soph. QB Darrien Foster (1,160 yards, 69.0 Cmp%, 17 TDs, 4 INTs); Sr. RB Dallas Rose (1,102 yards on 98 carries, 18 TDs); Jr. RB Conellius Patrick (1,112 yards, 14 TDs); Jr. WR Trevon Ortiz (team-best 309 yards, 4 TDs).
  • Morgan top players: Sr. QB Drew Nye (3,168 yards, 68.5 Cmp%, 44 TDs, 9 INTs); Sr. WR Alex Fratamico (74 catches, 1,012 yards); Sr. WR Garret Garbinski (69 for 1,123); Soph. RB Casey Corrigan (team-best 392 rushing yards).

“It is a challenge, but we’re up for it and we’re going to go out there and compete,” said Morgan coach Kevin Sullivan, who led the Huskies to their first winning season since 2016. “We’ll do the best we can. Bloomfield has been a great football program for as long as I can remember. They’re used to competing in the spotlight. We’re looking to compete and hopefully do what we have to do and be in the ballgame and maybe come out on top.”

Sullivan’s takeaway after seeing the Warhawks on film: “They’re easily the most complete team offensively that we have played all year.”

“They have two great running backs (senior Dallas Rose and junior Conellius Patrick) who make you miss in space,” he said. “They have speed for days. Let’s just say that. They run the ball fantastic. They’re going to do what they do — punch you in the mouth. And if they get to the corner and you miss, say good night to it.”

After losing their season opener to No. 2 Class S seed Cromwell/Portland, the Huskies ran off seven straight wins to cement themselves as a playoff contender. Had they not lost to Ellington 28-26, the Huskies could have been looking at the 5 or 6 seed. Morgan routed Old Saybrook/Westbrook the night before Thanksgiving to secure a spot as the last of eight qualifiers.

The 8-2 season has been beyond special — Morgan won just 10 games combined over its previous four seasons.

“It’s fantastic for the town and all the (credit) is on the kids,” Sullivan said. “They are the ones who worked their butts off and did everything to get us here. Our coaching staff has done a fantastic job of putting our kids in a position to succeed and they’ve done the rest. They’ve gone out and performed on Friday nights and answer that challenge.”

The Huskies have rocked opponents with their strength, the passing game. Despite not having a junior season, gunslinging senior Drew Nye has compiled some of the best numbers in the state: 3,168 yards, 44 touchdowns and a QB rating of 126.8. Seniors Alex Fratamico (74 catches, 1,012 yards) and Garret Garbinski (69 for 1,123) have been his top targets.

The Huskies will have to protect Nye on Tuesday. Bloomfield’s defense has registered 30 sacks in 10 games.

“Drew has guided us in the right direction all year,” Sullivan said. “Not having a junior year really hurt him (in terms of exposure). He played as a sophomore but not the whole year. His numbers speak for themselves. You don’t accidentally throw for 3,000 yards, 44 touchdowns and nine picks.”

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