Xavier routs NFA 48-14 to win Class LL state title

Sean D. Elliot/The Day NFA's Calvin Green (44) reacts on the sidelines as time winds-down on the Wildcats loss to Xavier in CIAC Class LL state title game action Friday night at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Xavier rolled to a 48-14 win.

East Hartford — DeAngelo Berry rushed for 260 yards and three touchdowns as third-seeded Xavier won its third straight Class LL state football championship Friday night with a 48-14 victory over No. 5 Norwich Free Academy before 4,576 at Rentschler Field.

The Falcons (12-1) dominated the second half, outscoring the Wildcats (12-1) 28-0.

Xavier, which outgained NFA 517-169, broke the game open in the third quarter by converting back-to-back turnovers into touchdowns to take a commanding 34-14 lead.

Kris Luster's 22-yard touchdown run with 41 seconds left in the quarter came on the very next play after a Ryer Caruso pass was picked off. Earlier in the quarter, NFA starting quarterback Joey Paparelli also was intercepted, leading to Berry's four-yard TD win with 5:38 left in the quarter.

Paparelli threw a pair of touchdown passes to Caruso in the final 1:56 of the first half as NFA, which trailed 20-0 early, pulled to within 20-14 at the break.

Paparelli's 49-yard TD strike to Caruso pulled the fifth-seeded Wildcats' to within 20-7, and after Airec Ricks recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Paparelli and Caruso hooked up again from six yards out with one second left in the half to make it 20-14.

NFA's Elisa Formiglio kicked both extra points, becoming the first female athlete in state history to score a point in a state championship football game.

Khaleed Exum-Strong rushed for 90 yards on 12 carries for the Wildcats, but star running back Marcus Outlow suffered a left leg injury on the first series of the game and never was a factor. He did return after missing most of the first half but finished with only 7 yards on six carries.

NFA players emerge from the locker room to take the field for pre-game warm-ups prior to playing Xavier in CIAC Class LL state title game action Friday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
Sean D. Elliot/The Day NFA players emerge from the locker room to take the field for pre-game warm-ups prior to playing Xavier in CIAC Class LL state title game action Friday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
NFA's Ryer Caruso catches a touchdown in the end-zone in front of Xavier's Edwin Luster (32) in CIAC Class LL state title game action Friday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
Sean D. Elliot/The Day NFA's Ryer Caruso catches a touchdown in the end-zone in front of Xavier's Edwin Luster (32) in CIAC Class LL state title game action Friday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
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