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New team, same results for Valley/Old Lyme football team

Deep River - In a span of seven plays early in the first quarter on Friday night, Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn made a tackle on a kickoff, intercepted a pass, completed a pass and ran for a 29-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the battle of the Connecticut River, otherwise known as the Pequot Conference game between Valley Regional/Old Lyme and Old Saybrook/Westbrook.

It's something Valley fans have come to expect from the 5-foot-9-inch, 165-pound do-it-all senior, who accounted for 43 touchdowns last season as the Warriors enjoyed the best season in program history, one that saw them complete an unbeaten regular season, earn a playoff berth and win a playoff game - all program firsts.

It's also a season they're trying to put behind them, something that's made easier after a 49-0 win improved Valley to 3-0.

"People are saying, 'They lost this, last year they were good, last year this and that,'" said Valley coach Tim King. "It's been tough. Our motto all during spring was 2011. We've been preaching it. 2010 is done. That's history. I told the guys, 'It was a great year, a great team, many of you guys were on it, and we had fun. But it's over with. I told the seniors, 'This is your team.'"

After Fairfield-Sonn's interception set up his 29-yard touchdown run to go up early, Jordan Saintil blocked an Old Saybrook punt and recovered it himself to set up another Fairfield-Sonn touchdown run.

"This is a new season," said Fairfield-Sonn, an Old Lyme senior. "We're not getting compared to last year. We're going to make our own history this year."

The quarterback ran for a 1-yard keeper on the last play of the first quarter to go up 21-0, and threw for two touchdowns to account for five on the night. Fairfield-Sonn finished with 118 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries and finished 7-for-11 passing for 80 yards and a pair of scores, one each to Colin Devlin and Chris Connor. Saintil ran for a touchdown and backup quarterback Phil Cohen ran for 50 yards and a score after replacing Fairfield-Sonn early in the third quarter.

King got a scare in the fourth quarter and narrowly missed breaking the CIAC's 50-point rule, when a 55-yard touchdown run was called back for a holding penalty, perhaps the only time in his career King was happy to see a penalty called against his team.

"The rule is good," King said. "It's set for a reason, if you use it right. We wanted to get our JVs in a little bit and we did. They get pounded all week in pracitce, and they finally get out here and hit someone else. It's nice to hit someone else besides their own teammates."

Old Saybrook had its best drive late in the second quarter, marching to the Valley 21-yard line before time ran out. The Rams (1-1) had three of their five first downs on the night during the drive. Junior quarterback Torin Wood finished with 46 rushing yards.

"We gave a good team a lot of chances," said Old Saybrook coach Rudy Bagos, who is in his first year as head coach after being an assistant at East Lyme. "They score quickly and they score in bunches."

o.poole@theday.com

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