Hudson kicks Vikings to come-from-behind win

Colchester - Tyler Hudson had never been asked to kick a game-winning field goal until Saturday.

Heck, the East Lyme High School junior hadn't been a kicker until this season.

The Vikings have been put in a lot of different situations this season, namely winning, and have figured things out along the way.

East Lyme was scoreless and trailed Bacon Academy by seven points Saturday, but found a way to win. Hudson's 29-yard field goal with 45 seconds left gave the Vikings a 10-7 victory.

"This (winning) is relatively new to this group," East Lyme first-year coach Rudy Bagos said. "The last few years, they've been kind of down years. We're learning."

Eric Stirtan ran 30 times for 138 yards and a touchdown for the Vikings (4-1). Their defense allowed just 153 yards with Conner Parker making three interceptions.

East Lyme last had a winning season in 2009. It's finished 5-5, 4-6, and 2-8 in the years that followed.

Bagos and his staff have helped the Vikings change their attitude, and last week they routed Fitch, 49-13.

The win gave East Lyme a bit of an inflated sense of self. Its offense was sluggish for most of the game with one drive stalling at the Bobcats' 4-yard line and another at the goal line.

"We definitely came out really soft today," Stirtan said. "I think a lot of us were coming out cocky, and (Bacon) really came out strong."

The Vikings' offense was also sloppy. They had a long run deep into Bacon territory wiped out by a penalty on the game's first drive.

East Lyme had the ball at the Bobcats' 14 late in the third quarter trailing, 7-0. It was flagged for a personal foul after a 1-yard gain and pushed back to the Bacon 26.

Tom LaSaracina intercepted a pass on the next play.

Bacon moved the ball to the Vikings' 26 with over nine minutes left in the game.

Aqeeb Hussain sacked Nate Kozlowski and jarred the ball loose.

The Vikings' Jacob Knopf recovered the fumble at the East Lyme 29.

"They returned a long (interception) on us, and we could've folded," Bagos said. "I wanted to see what kind of character they had."

Stirtan didn't know if they could've won a game like this last season.

"We've got a different mentality this year," Stirtan said. "Last year, we would get down on ourselves really quick."

East Lyme had a first-and-10 at the Bacon 28 and handed off to Stirtan.

The senior was met by two Bobcat defenders down field, but they opted to try to strip the ball rather than tackle him.

"That didn't work," Stirtan smiled. "I'm usually pretty good at it."

Stirtan kept his legs moving and managed to reach the end zone with 5:29 left in the game. Hudson's extra point tied the game.

The Vikings' Travis Franco forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Teammate James Robson recovered the ball at the Bobcats' 25.

East Lyme's offense stalled out at the 12-yard line and, on fourth-and-9, opted to have Hudson try a 29-yard field goal.

"I was pretty nervous, considering (the ball) was on the (left) hash mark," Hudson said. "I never actually thought I'd kick a game-winning field goal from the hash marks."

Hudson nailed the kick.

"They're playing hard all the time, and that's all you can ask for," Bagos said. "We just have to cut out some of the dumb mistakes, but we will. And when we do, we'll be pretty good."


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