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New London — It turned out that the entire story of the game Friday night was written on the back of New London High School junior Jose Garcia's shoes. Word written on the left shoe: "speed." Word written on the right shoe: "kills."
And in New London, this is a recording.
"The guy's name on the door might have changed," Montville coach Tanner Grove said, alluding to Duane Maranda, the new head coach across the field, "but they're still New London kids. Still an excellent football team."
The Whalers, who gave away size to Montville up and down the offensive and defensive lines, stayed true to Garcia's shoes and ran past the Indians all night, earning a 38-7 victory at Cannamela Field.
New London has arrived at its 2-0 record with big plays, stout defense and discipline. Among Maranda's first observations after the game: "We only had one penalty."
Montville (1-1) never had a chance. New London quarterback Ackee Barber hit Sammy Miranda with a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage.
"They were big, heavy-set boys," Miranda said of the Indians. "But you know what we say in New London. The bigger they are, the harder they fall."
Maranda said the plan was to make Montville's linemen run a lot early, hoping to, in his words, "shred" them late.
"On film, Montville poses a lot of challenges," Maranda said. "I woke up (Thursday) night in a cold sweat, imagining we were playing Ledyard 15 years ago. Three or four yards and a cloud. I even saw (former Ledyard coach) Bill Mignault tonight."
So it was clear that Montville's size had New London's attention.
"We knew we had to come off the ball fast," New London lineman Grant Pezzolesi said.
The Whalers made it 14-0 when Barber hit Garcia with a 55-yard touchdown pass late in the first period. Barber finished 10-for-13 for 241 yards and four touchdowns.
Caleb Camacho (52 yards), Orin Parke (55-yard run) and Miranda (7-yard reception) also scored for on offense for the Whalers.
But it was a defensive score that ended any drama.
New London fumbled with a 26-7 lead and 1:51 left in the first half. On 4th-and-1 from the New London 19, Joquin Riley scooped a loose ball and ran 70 yards for a score, giving his team a 32-7 lead at halftime.
"Maybe," Grove said in response to a question about whether the fumble turned the game around, "but what are you going to do?"
Jeremiah Crowley scored on a 12-yard run for the Indians in the second period.
"Our defense," Maranda said, "did one hell of a job."