Ledyard earns first win with impressive showing against Montville
Montville — Despite starting the season with back-to-back losses, head coach Clay Killingsworth never sensed frustration or panic from his Ledyard football coaching staff but most importantly, his players.
"That's the thing I like about this team," Killingsworth said. "They continue to show up and work. Even though we lost the first two games, it was different. These guys are a little bit different."
That's what made Saturday's 44-21 victory over Montville so satisfying.
The Colonels clicked in all three phases and took complete charge in the second half, limiting the Indians to just 34 rushing yards on 17 carries while relying on big plays to break the game wide open.
Ledyard also made it a point to get the football in the hands of one of its speedy playmakers — senior Jaiden Bickham, who rushed for 216 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries (18 yards per carry). He scored on runs of 63 and 57 yards. His 57-yarder came with 8:56 to play and put the game out of reach.
"We really just worked on our formations where we could get the key guys the ball." Killingsworth said. "I'm a coach that's going to adjust to the guys I have. Our coaching staff, throughout the season, is supposed to be able to do that, so if we need to make adjustments then we will."
Montville, played without a number of key injured starters — including senior quarterback Ryan Douchette — but was still within striking distance when Steve Turchetta picked up a snap that soared over the head of Ledyard quarterback Brayden Grim and bulled his way 10 yards into the end zone to pull the Indians within nine, 30-21, with only 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
But Ledyard had an immediate answer as fullback Andrew Allen burst up the middle on the next offensive play and ran 58 yards for a touchdown only 13 seconds later to restore the Colonels' lead to 36-21.
It marked the second time Ledyard scored on the very first play after a Montville TD. Bickham's first score came on a 63-yard sprint one play after the Indians had taken a 13-6 lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by Miles Sarmiento.
That pulled the Colonels within 13-12 with 8:29 remaining in the first half, and they would take the lead for good just 37 seconds later when Robbie Petriel got to the left corner and ran 25 yards for a touchdown only two plays after Mitchell Ahlborn recovered an onside kick.
Ledyard extended its lead to 24-13 later in half after freshman Jackson Poulton recovered a fumble. Grim executed a perfect pump fake and hit Walker Lenz in stride for a 26-yard gain on a fourth-and-17 call from the Montville 40, and Allen scored one play later.
Grim called his own number and scored on a four-yard option play to make it 30-13 late in the third quarter.
Montville (1-2) scored on its first possession, a 12-play, 70-yard drive that ended when Sarmiento fumbled into the end zone following a 16-yard run to the 1, but teammate Nehemiah Owens recovered for the TD.
Sarmiento, a sophomore, finished with 123 yards on 28 carries. Chas Terni, another sophomore making his first start at QB in place of Douchette, completed 11 of 23 passes for 99 yards with one interception (by Ledyard's Shea Kenyon).
"Football is a long season and we're playing a lot of young kids right now," Montville coach Tanner Grove said. "As time goes on, they will get better, it's just trying to keep them inspired every week to come out and play their best football. That's the challenge we have right now."