Vikes continue to win games ... and respect

East Lyme East Lyme entered Friday's game in search of its third straight win and respect.

The Vikings earned both.

Powered by a potent rushing attack, East Lyme ran over Fitch, 49-13, in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Large Division football game.

"This was a huge win," senior Eric Stirtan said. "Everybody did their jobs. The line really stepped it up. Our double wing was phenomenal.

"... Coach (Rudy Bagos) said this is the game that we needed to earn our respect from the ECC."

The Vikings dominated on both sides of the football.

Offensively, East Lyme gained momentum as the game progressed. Stirtan rushed over 100 yards for third straight game, piling up 174 yards on 16 carries and scoring four touchdowns.

Senior Ben Watts added 91 yards and a touchdown and junior fullback Hunter Waido powered his way to 61 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Mitchell Murphy also had a good night, throwing for 107 yards and a touchdown. He hooked up with Mark Chmielewski (four catches, 77 yards) on a 35-yard scoring play to give East Lyme a 21-7 lead at halftime.

Defensively, the Vikings (3-1, 2-0) stuffed the Falcons on fourth-and-1 on consecutive drives in the third quarter and forced four turnovers overall.

They allowed only one touchdown Jonathon Johnston's 4-yard run on Fitch's opening drive.

The Falcons' other score came on Robert Johnston's 81-yard kickoff return.

"That was the most complete game we've played so far," Bagos said. "I hope we get more. We have a tough schedule coming up."

The teams traded touchdowns in the first quarter, each scoring on their first possession.

Stirtan fumbled an exchange but scooped it up on one hop and bolted 9 yards for a touchdown.

The hard-to-bring down Stirtan often bounced off defenders and found daylight. His 32-yard scoring scamper with 7:48 left in the second quarter pushed the Vikings ahead for good, 14-7.

"Eric is just a terrific back, as you can see," Bagos said. "If you don't get him the first time, he's going to make something happen."

East Lyme essentially put the game away in the third quarter with its swarming defense.

The Vikings gang-tackled quarterback Robert Duncan on a fourth and one sneak from the East Lyme 42 to get the ball back. On the Fitch's next series, they stuffed John Moscal short on fourth and inches from the East Lyme 45.

"It was going downhill before then," Fitch coach Jordan Panucci said. "But we couldn't get a push. We couldn't do the little things."

Four plays later after the second defensive stand, Stirtan ran through a big hole and scored from 17 yards out for a 28-7 lead. He added a 31-yard touchdown run later in the third quarter for a 35-13 edge.

Senior James Robson and junior Zane Smallidge each made an interception in the fourth quarter to close out the game.

The Falcons fell to 1-3, 0-2. Robert Johnston was Fitch's top rusher, going for 77 yards.

"You find out a lot more about yourself when that happens rather when you're on the other side of it," Panucci said. "We will learn a lot about ourselves and each other."

g.keefe@theday.com

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