For the hundredth time: Ledyard's season-opening win gives coach Buonocore a milestone

Ledyard High School's Jordan Kowalski breaks through a hole in the RHAM defense for a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter of Thursday night's high school football game in Ledyard, tying the game 6-6. Kowalski scored twice in the first half of Ledyard's 42-6 win over RHAM on opening night of football in the area, a victory which was the 100th of coach Jim Buonocore's career.
Ledyard High School's Jordan Kowalski breaks through a hole in the RHAM defense for a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter of Thursday night's high school football game in Ledyard, tying the game 6-6. Kowalski scored twice in the first half of Ledyard's 42-6 win over RHAM on opening night of football in the area, a victory which was the 100th of coach Jim Buonocore's career. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo

Ledyard - How fitting, really, that on such a historic night for Jim Buonocore, the 2013 season opener Thursday offered a glimpse into his coaching past ... and some of the old days that contributed to the 100th career win he earned.

Buonocore was awash in some happy memories following the Ledyard High School football team's 42-6 win over RHAM of Hebron. This was win No. 1 in the era of Ty Ebdon, the starting lefty quarterback who beckons the days of a Buonocore favorite, fellow lefty Colin Clancy, who was part of two playoff teams and plenty of laughs during Buonocore's time at Stonington.

Ebdon completed 7 of 13 passes for 134 yards and a notable 49-yard touchdown strike to River Thomas. And when he wasn't throwing, he was handing the ball to the fleet JoJo Shumaker, who ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

"I was talking to Colin this summer," Buonocore said of Clancy, who is an assistant coach at Temple. "I said that I have a kid now is a lot like you, the lefty gunslinger, only he doesn't give me as many headaches. If Ty can do some of the things that Colin did, we're going to be all right."

Ebdon was mostly responsible for Ledyard's victory at Fitch last Thanksgiving, an occasion that at least aided in lessening a few nerves Thursday.

"At first I was a little nervous," Ebdon said. "I felt more comfortable as the game went on. (Thanksgiving) helped a lot. I expected the big crowd and was ready for some yelling from the coach. I knew to keep my head straight."

Ebdon learned a new offense with new terminology over the summer. Turns out Clancy isn't the only ghost of Buonocore's past that figured into Thursday's victory. Ebdon said he spent the summer watching film with former Ledyard great J.J. Jablonski, who is playing at Southern Connecticut.

"J.J. had a big part," Ebdon said. "He texted me one night at midnight. It was during a thunderstorm, I remember. He asked if my parents would be mad if I came over to watch film. We watched a couple of hours and he brought me home at two in the morning."

Buonocore was given a plaque to commemorate his 100th win and issued the team some encouraging words after the game. But when asked if the milestone prompted him to be reflective, he launched into a state of the union about his offensive line. He is a football coach, remember.

"The story here is how a group of young kids for the most part, two sophomores, two juniors and a senior on the offensive line held their own," he said. "Our skill kids were what we thought they would be. But the line is really the key point for us. On offense and defense they did a nice job. They played with some maturity and the emotion you're looking for."

Ledyard actually fell behind 6-0 before the avalanche. Jordan Kowalski scored twice in the first half to give the Colonels a 14-6 lead before Ebdon's pass to Thomas made it 21-6 at the half. The second half was a Shumaker production until Khary Childs' 71-yard fumble recovery.

Ledyard plays at Bacon Academy next week.

m.dimauro@theday.com

Ledyard's Michael McDowell (21) peeks behind him to see RHAM's Adam Arnold, right, make a catch after McDowell narrowly missed sacking RHAM quarterback Ryan Kirkpatrick, back. Ledyard won its opening game Thursday 42-6.
Ledyard's Michael McDowell (21) peeks behind him to see RHAM's Adam Arnold, right, make a catch after McDowell narrowly missed sacking RHAM quarterback Ryan Kirkpatrick, back. Ledyard won its opening game Thursday 42-6. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
The Ledyard Colonel cheerleaders entertain the crowd Thursday night at Bill Mignault Field as Ledyard opens the local 2013 high school football season with a matchup against RHAM at Ledyard High. Ledyard won, 42-6.
The Ledyard Colonel cheerleaders entertain the crowd Thursday night at Bill Mignault Field as Ledyard opens the local 2013 high school football season with a matchup against RHAM at Ledyard High. Ledyard won, 42-6. Tim Cook/The Day Buy Photo
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