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Whalers learn hard way Trailblazers aren't very cooperative

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published September 22. 2013 4:00AM

Hartford — The New London football team was walking to the visitor's locker room after warming up for Saturday's game when a fan cheerfully bellowed, "welcome to Dillon Stadium, New London!"

It was the last pleasant thing that happened to the Whalers the rest of the night.

New London was stricken by a combination of bad mistakes, bad fortune, and a very good Hartford Capital Prep/Classical/Achievement co-op team. It resulted in the Trailblazers bludgeoning the Whalers, 53-14, in a non-conference game.

"It's one of those nights," New London coach Duane Maranda said. "Take nothing away from Capital Prep. They're a great football season. They have size. They've got quick backs.

"I don't think we could've possibly had one more things go wrong for us."

It was the first time New London allowed 50-or-more points since Griswold beat it, 52-0, on Nov. 3, 2000.

New London (1-1) had a chance to score early in the game with a econd-and-goal at the Trailblazers' 6-yard line, but Davonne Massey intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown.

Capital's Alyn Strums blocked a New London punt to start the second quarter, giving his team the ball at the Whalers 3. Bennie Fulse III ran for a touchdown on the next play.

The Trailblazers had minus-3 yards of offense - and a 12-0 lead.

"Very early in the game, Jelani Lucas goes down," Maranda said. "He's our punter. That's huge. We're just not that deep at that position. We end up having a punt blocked later on.

"We had some personnel issues, guys not being on the same page on offense. … It just seemed like every time that we could make something happen, something happened that made it impossible."

Fulse, a blur of a tailback, ran 16 times for 215 yards and three touchdowns for Capital (2-0).

The program has qualified for the CIAC Class S playoffs the past two years and has a Division I prospect in fullback-linebacker-terror Mike Jones.

"In terms of the program, this is a signature win," Trailblazers coach Chris Fulton said. "I don't think anybody gave us a chance to win this game. I think everybody looked at it as New London is a perennial power, and you have Capital Prep, who people say doesn't play in a very strong league (the Constitution State Conference) and don't play anyone.

"We have some quality players. We feel like we can play with anyone."

New London's Orrin Parke had 31 carries for 164 yards. Danny Maranda completed 9 of 29 passes for 156 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

Tre Scott (9 yard) and D. Major Roman (15 yards) both caught touchdowns for the Whalers.

"I told the kids afterwards that we're not as good as we thought we were after Week 1," Maranda said. "I scheduled this knowing that it was going to be a tough game; knowing it was going to be a huge test. Our goal is to win a state championship. For us to be able to do that, obviously we have to compete with this team that has been to the playoffs the last two years.

"That's why you play a game like this early in the season - to find out who good you are, and right now, obviously, we have a lot to work on."

n.griffen@theday.com

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