Fairfield Prep pulls away from New London in second half

New London's Gio Lopez (2) avoids Fairfield Prep's Timothy Jacobi (22) during Friday night's football game at New London. Prep spotted the Whalers an early 8-0 lead before battling back for a 36-16 win. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
New London's Gio Lopez (2) avoids Fairfield Prep's Timothy Jacobi (22) during Friday night's football game at New London. Prep spotted the Whalers an early 8-0 lead before battling back for a 36-16 win. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

New London — It sounded a little like the old days on New London High School's sideline — at least for a while — Friday night. The Whalers were the Whalers again, seemingly ready to win the game nobody thought they could.

"With this effort," New London coach Juan Roman would say later, "there's no way we're 1-4."

They are 1-4, however, because Fairfield Prep finally began playing like the better team. The Jesuits, whose offense sputtered early, found their way eventually and won 36-16 at Cannamela Field.

Prep, which plays in the Southern Connecticut Conference, is 5-1.

New London's second snap was perhaps its best play of the season. A direct snap to running back Jacob Commander resulted in Commander's 79-yard touchdown pass to Gio Lopez. The ensuing two-point conversion pass to Elijah Parker made it 8-0.

Game on.

Meanwhile, New London's defense, which went with a smaller, faster lineup, continued to thwart Prep, despite Prep's advantageous field position.

The game turned twice in the second quarter. New London had the ball and an 8-0 lead when quarterback Zehki Burgis lofted a pass into the flat ... and straight into the arms of Prep's Tairece Somers, who went 32 yards for a touchdown.

Prep used its last timeout of the half with 46 seconds left before New London had a third and six at its 42. New London chose to pass when it could have run out the clock. The incompletion forced a punt.

And in two plays, Prep essentially won the game.

The punt was blocked, leading to a 33-yard touchdown pass from Connor Boyle to Phillip DeJesus. Prep had a 15-8 lead at the half that was equal parts frustrating the demoralizing for the Whalers.

"We should have gone in (to halftime) 8-0," Roman said. "We had an opportunity there where the kids were starting to believe that we could do something bigger here."

Boyle scored touchdowns on Prep's first two possessions of the second half.

"Sometimes with inexperienced teams, when something goes wrong, they tend to hang their heads," Roman said. "We've got to find a way to get past that. But this is a game we can build on."

Burgis hit Lopez with a scoring pass late in the game, the sixth touchdown reception for Lopez, a senior, this season.

The Whalers play at unbeaten Killingly next Friday.

m.dimauro@thday.com

New London's Elijah Parker leaps over Fairfield Prep's Joseph Wuchiski (23) to pull down the football during the Whalers' 36-16 loss on Friday night. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
New London's Elijah Parker leaps over Fairfield Prep's Joseph Wuchiski (23) to pull down the football during the Whalers' 36-16 loss on Friday night. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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