Graveyard Shift: North Haven beat Xavier, Naugy and St. Joes thrill, and WARRIORSAINTS win


So, did anything good happen last night?

Friday night was the perfect blueprint for why we

Case in point — North Haven 42, Xavier 28.

One more time — North Haven, 42, Xavier 28.

Yes, North Haven beat Xavier. North Haven beat three-time defending CIAC Class LL champion Xavier. North Haven beat No. 1 Xavier.


No one outside of North Haven's locker room thought it would beat Xavier on Friday. That's a factual statement, not some over-the-top nonsense folks say whenever a team springs a big upset.

North Haven has made itself into a consistent winner the past seven seasons. It has a 50-24 record and made states three times, the only postseason appearances in program history. It also runs the stupendous single wing, i.e. GOD'S FATHER'S OFFENSE.

North Haven isn't Xavier, though. Xavier had won 39 of its previous 40 games prior to Friday (including last year's 49-12 win over North Haven). It's owned the CIAC's Class LL division and won a state record three-straight crowns. It was ranked No. 1 in The Day coaches' poll and second in the New Haven Register's media poll.

And? So? High school sports are about dreaming big. It's pushing past one's limits and doing things they didn't think they could. It's about beginning each year believing you're going to win states, even after a losing season.

North Haven believed in itself and pulled off one of the biggest WHAT upsets in years. It dropped 21 points on the Falcons in the fourth quarter, for Paul Brown's sake.

"Everyone said we couldn't," North Haven senior Ethan Suraci told Pooch Diggity Dogg of JRC Amalgamated. "For nine months, since last November, we've been playing for this very moment. We love playing on a big stage. In the pregame, we said that we didn't need anyone else (to believe); we didn't need the state of Connecticut, the SCC, we don't need anybody. We have ourselves; we have our (football) brothers. We played for our family."

(Someone get that guy a motivational speaker gig. SCRAM, Tony Robbins.)

Let it be known that Suraci ran 12 times for 142 yards and two second-half touchdowns.

Let it be know that Michael Halloran ran for a 24-yard touchdown and (gasp) threw three touchdowns (North Haven, putting the "wing" in "single wing").

Let it be known that North Haven beat one of the state's best football programs. …. and are a lock to crack next week's Day coaches' poll.

You done good, North Haven. Real good.

• • • •

North Haven was the state's best story last night.

St. Joseph of Trumbull had the state's best finish.

Jordan Vazzano threw a 42-yard touchdown to Lars Pedersen as time expired to give the fifth-ranked Cadets a 36-34, holy crap win over Fairfield Prep on the latter's home field.

St. Joseph — the team no one in Class M wants to see make states — wasted a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Cadets began their last possession at their own 35-yard line.

No worries, thanks to Vazzano and Pederson.

Vazzano completed 29 of 35 passes for 379 yards and five touchdowns. Pederson had six catches for 180 yards and two scores.

"I've never experienced anything like this in my life," St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia told Emery Filmer of Hearst Inc. "After the (Prep) kickoff, I just said (to the offense), 'Let's go. You know what to do.' You never know what might happen."

One more thing about the Vazzano-Pederson Connection — they teamed up for a 6-yard touchdown to end the first half.

End the first half with a touchdown. End the game with a Hail Mary. Not too shabby.

• • • •

Hey, Naugatuck — how do you like BRUNO BALL?

The affable Craig Bruno brought his special brand of mas loco football over from Bunnell of Stratford during the offseason. Among the characteristics of Bruno Ball are throwing deep out of your end zone, going for it on fourth down, and trying every play once, no matter how daffy it might seem.

Bruno and his Greyhounds broke in their new turf field in style Friday night. Quarterback Jason Bradley ran for a 3-yard touchdown in overtime to give Naugatuck a 42-36 win over Wolcott at Veterans Field.

"It was the greatest football game I've played in my life," Bradley told Kountry Kyle Brennan of the Waterbury Republican-American. "So many people made big plays on both sides. It was unbelievable."

Wolcott tied the game with 1:30 left in regulation. The Greyhounds' Ryan Griesenauer, all six feet and five inches of him, blocked Joe Kelley's point after to keep the Eagles from taking the lead.

• • • •

HATS OFF to the St. Bernard/Norwich Tech for snapping its 15-game losing streak Friday night.

Devin Gleason ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the WARRIORSAINTS beat Woodstock Academy, 31-0.

"It's (good) for our guys getting the experience of a win," SB/NT coach Sean Ladyga told Jonathan Mizger of the Norwich Bulletin. "This win is more for them. They bought in to what we are teaching them and they came and played hard."

It was St. Bernard's first win since Oct. 22, 2011. It beat Woodstock that day, 41-28.

• • • •

Everyone hear at Polecat HQ loves the SCC. We cut our teeth covering the league during its early years. It's the state's best football conference.

Tired of hearing about it? DEAL WITH IT.

Two weeks into the season, it's the FCIAC that gets to brag and boast. St. Joseph's win gave Team Fairfield County a 10-8 lead over the SCC.

The Cadets are 2-0 vs. the SCC D-I this season (it beat Notre Dame of West Haven last weekend, 47-28).

Do the right thing FCIAC and send St. Joseph a few platters of Buffalo wings as a "thank you."

• • • •

Minutia — last season's four state champions are a combined 4-4. Xavier and Hand (Class L) are both 1-1. Hillhouse (Class M) is 0-2. And then there's defending Class S champion Ansonia, which is 2-0.

• • • •

How The Day state coaches poll top 10 fared:

North Haven shocked the proved you wrong with a 42-28 win over No. 1 Xavier.

2. Ansonia trashed Sacred Heart, 54-6. The Republican-American has a few blurbs HERE.

3. New Canaan thumped Bassick on Thursday, 42-20. Jon Chik of Hearst Inc. reporting.

4. Norwich Free Academy debuts at home this afternoon against Montville. We can't wait.

5. St. Joseph caused hysteria. Read accounts from Mary Albl of JRC Amalgamated and Emery Filmer reporting.

6. Greenwich plays host to Darien today this afternoon. Some one please send us a game DVD afterwards.

7. Southington routed Manchester, 41-8. Kevin D. Roberts of the New Britain Herald reporting. Please fix your website, Meriden Record-Journal. We need more Bryant Carpenter in our life. Everybody does.

8. Middletown blanked Wethersfield, 28-0. Gentleman Jim Bransfield of JRC Amalgamated reporting.

9. Windsor trampled Bulkeley, 52-6. The Hartford Courant has a few words here.

10. West Haven unleashed its frustration and rage on Foran, 57-25. Mike Madera of JRC Amalgamated reporting.

Enjoy your football Saturday.

Vaya con dios….

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