Holy Cross faces Rockville with shot at first final since 2011

Copyright, Sports on CT-69

The Holy Cross football team is a win away from reaching the state championship game for the first time in 12 years.

Standing in the way is second-seeded Rockville (10-1), which avenged a 2022 semifinal loss to Berlin with a 14-13 win over the seventh-seeded Redcoats on Tuesday. Holy Cross and Rockville are scheduled to kick off their Class M semifinal on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. at Rockville High School. The Crusaders last played in a championship game in 2011, when they beat Cromwell for the Class SS title, 34-27, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The Rams made the 2021 Class M final, where they lost, 28-14, to Killingly.

There are a couple interesting tidbits in this Holy Cross-Rockville matchup:

  • The Crusaders reached the semifinal by beating the only team to defeat the Rams during the regular season, the SMSA Co-op, in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. SMSA beat Rockville, 30-7, but the Rams have won six straight since.
  • When Rockville made the 2021 Class M final, it did so by beating another NVL foe, Torrington.

This game may well turn out to be a battle of star running backs, especially if the weather forecast stays the same (high in upper 40s, 70% chance of rain, 6-10 MPH winds). Here they are:

  • Marques Campbell, Holy Cross: The senior tallied nearly 300 yards rushing and four touchdowns in the quarterfinal win over SMSA. On Thanksgiving morning, Campbell was the MVP of the Joseph Lynch Memorial Trophy game against Wolcott. For the season, Campbell has 842 yards and 14 touchdowns.
  • Amir Knighton, Rockville: The junior ran for 1,055 yards on 110 carries and 22 touchdowns. Knighton added another touchdown in the quarterfinal win over Berlin. During the regular season, Knighton also had five receiving touchdowns, two punt returns for touchdowns, and an interception return for another score.

The Crusaders also roll with freshman Nate Craft (442 yards, 6 TD) in the running game. If the teams can get their passing games going, Holy Cross junior Drew Caouette (1,793 yards, 22 TD) is likely to target Campbell (46-575, 6 TD) and junior Ronald Florian-Moreta (35-541, team-high 8 TD). Rockville junior Brady Ramsdell (1,737 yards, 19 TD regular season) is likely to throw to seniors Lexington Hunter (team-highs with 27 receptions, 624 yards, 8 touchdowns) and Carson Morgan (second with 22 catches and 402 yards, third with 3 touchdowns).

Holy Cross reached the Class S semifinal round last year, where it lost to runner-up Bloomfield, 45-21. Rockville is playing in its fourth straight semifinal, and fifth consecutive postseason overall.