Stephen Barmore completed 22 of 33 passes for 346 yards and four touchdowns and also scored on a 1-yard run and a 67-yard interception return as Southington rallied to beat Fairfield Prep on Thursday night, 52-34, to win the CIAC Class LL championship at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
It was the second state title for the fourth-seeded Blue Knights (12-1), who won their first in 1998.
Alex Jamele had 10 catches for 230 yards and three touchdowns for Southington. He finished with a state-record 29 touchdown catches.
The No. 7 Jesuits finished 11-3.
The Blue Knights were giving up considerable size to Prep and trailed, 28-14, at halftime.
Southington's defense toughened up in the second half.
The Blue Knights allowed 162 yards, but nearly half came on Colton Smith's 70-yard run. They also had four interceptions.
"We made a couple of adjustments defensively," Southington coach Mike Drury said. "We just told our guys, 'we're not going to stop. We have to be tenacious. We have to be ferocious. We have to get to the ball. We have to continue our pursuit,' all of that good stuff."
Junior lineman Matthew Koczera had a game-high 12 tackles (8 solo) for Southington. Linebacker Zak Jamele added 10 tackles and lineman Zach Maxwell had eight.
"They're big boys, and we knew coming in that they were huge," Barmore said. "(We had to) play our type of defense, which is fast, physical and swarm to the ball. And we did that in the second half."
Alex Jamele caught back-to-back touchdowns of 60 and 4 yards to tie the game, 28-28, with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left in the third quarter.
Kyle Smick's 21-yard field goal gave Southington its first lead, 31-28, with over 10 minutes left in the game.
Smith scampered 70 yards on Prep's next offensive play. It set up Nick Crowle's 7-yard touchdown run to put the Jesuits back ahead, 34-31. The extra point failed.
The Blue Knights regained the lead in a little over a minute as Barmore threw a 7-yard touchdown to Jasen Rose with 8:11 left in the game.
Matthew Thomson's interception set up Barmore's 20-yard touchdown to Alec Jamele and pushed Southington ahead, 45-34, with 3:46 remaining in the game.
Barmore added a 67-yard interception return for the game's final points.
"They stiffened their backs," Prep coach Tom Shea said of Southington's defense. "Hats off to them. They just kept pouring it on. It seemed like it was just one extra guy we couldn't block each time."
- Ned Griffen