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Windham's ground game too much for Montville

Willimantic — And in this era of throw-it-all-over-place spread offenses and the zealots who swear by it, there's still Brian Crudden and his Wing-T at Windham High School.

A zig here, a zag there, deception, misdirection … touchdown.

It was never better for the Whips than Friday night at Ferrigno Field, where the season-opener produced nearly 300 rushing yards during a 33-20 win over Montville.

"We think we have some quick little backs and a smart quarterback," Crudden said after the game, the customary "Cheeseburger in Paradise" blasting in the background to punctuate a Windham victory. "We're going to improve a lot."

As will Montville, which endured its first game without senior all-state candidate Jeremiah Crowley, a running back. Montville coach Tanner Grove said Crowley is on indefinite suspension for "violating some team rules."

The Montville offense certainly could have used Crowley if for no other reason than to outscore the Whips and the Wing-T.

"It's a great misdirectional offense," Grove said. "The people who run it are always those undersized but real tough scrappy teams. That's who Windham's been as long as Mr. Crudden's been around.

"He found out we have sophomores playing linebacker. Nobody falls for counters more than sophomore linebackers and first-year starter guys."

Montville trailed 27-13 in the third period before an impressive — and encouraging — touchdown drive culminated with quarterback Tyler Quidgeon's 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Chad Mooney. The Indians, within a score, got in position to steal one.

But that's when Windham used a 13-play, six-minute scoring drive. Joseph Santiago's 13-yard touchdown run all but iced it.

"We wanted to eat up time," Crudden said "Their quarterback has a great arm and they have nice receivers. Eating up time and keeping them off the field was part of the plan."

Quarterback Jack Risley scored twice for the Whips while Isaiah Santiago had a 74-yard touchdown run and Joseph Santiago hit Juan Almonte with an option pass for a score late in the first half.

Quidgeon, a junior, finished 12-for-23 for 143 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Seven of his completions went to Chance Collier.

"We think Tyler has lots of upside," Grove said. "He's going to be one of the best in the area."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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