Stonington rallies past Waterford 27-8
Waterford — Stonington football coach A.J. Massengale wasn’t too worried about an 8-0 halftime deficit against Waterford on Friday night.
Then again, he knew his team hadn’t played badly.
“What I told the kids at halftime was you are physically doing the things you need to do right now,’’ said Massengale, whose team fumbled twice in the first half. “We just didn’t play a clean half.’’
The Bears turned things around in the second half, scoring four touchdowns to come away with a 27-8 Eastern Connecticut Conference Division II win. Stonington (2-4, 2-0) clinched a share of the title in the four-team division and can wrap up the crown with a win over Bacon Academy on Nov. 9.
Stonington’s double wing backfield, with backs Riley Burnside and Kevin Ferrer slowed by injuries, turned to a bigger set of backs, Nate Miller (5-10, 220) and Jon Humphrey (6-3, 268).
Humphrey, a sometimes center, rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and Miller picked up 100 yards on 20 carries.
“We thought we had a very good shot in the second half of wearing on (Waterford),’’ said Massengale.
Waterford (0-6, 0-2) took the lead on Peter Turello’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Dan Annibalini and Max Mazzella’s conversion run in the first quarter.
Stonington got on the board on its opening drive of the second half, when quarterback Marco Tedeschi capped a 12-play drive that took 6:57 off the clock with a 6-yard run. And the Bears took their first lead on their next possession with Humphrey scoring on a 1-yard run and Tedeschi passing to Ferrer for the conversion and a 14-8 lead.
Burnside added touchdown runs of 16 and 8 yards in the second half and Sean Bessette’s extra point with 2:08 left closed out the scoring. Burnside also intercepted a pass with 22 seconds left to finish the win off.
“In the first half we lost the ball a couple of times and it kind of got into our heads a little bit,’’ said Burnside. “In the second half we really came together as a team and really got going.’’
Burnside’s first score came two plays after Humphrey went up the middle on third-and-five with 57 yards before being taken down by Niko Thibeault.
Turello passed for 139 yards, 85 of them to Mazzella. But the Lancers are still in search of their first win.
“Winning is a habit, losing is a habit,’’ said Waterford coach John Strecker. “After a while you have to break that cycle. We’ll just get back to work. Obviously, we’ve got plenty to work on.’
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