East Lyme holds on to earn important 26-19 win at New London

New London — Twenty-four hours earlier — Halloween — marked the more appropriate night to entertain belief in ghosts and spirits. But Rudy Bagos has been around long enough to know that Cannamela Field is the region's home office for wild endings over the years, maybe even helped along by Ghosts of Whalers Past.

And so you can imagine what ran through Bagos' mind Friday night when a seemingly comfortable 26-13 lead with a few minutes remaining had suddenly come to one final play in which New London could tie the game.

Then get this: The Whalers actually got two chances because of an inadvertent whistle on what could have been the game's last play.

"I'm thinking, 'oh, no,'" said Bagos, who nonetheless left smiling Friday night.

East Lyme High School managed an entertaining 26-19 win in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference, leaving Whalerville with a 5-2 record overall and 1-1 in the division.

"We were fortunate," Bagos said. "We know New London could score from anywhere on the field."

East Lyme trailed 13-12 late in the third period when quarterback Noah Perry hit Scott Galbo with a 32-yard touchdown pass. Galbo caught a 28-yard scoring pass early in the fourth to make it 26-13. Earlier, Galbo returned an interception 47 yards for a score. Quite the night.

"He's got to be one of the best playmakers around," Bagos said.

"We knew it was their Senior Night and nobody wants to lose on Senior Night," Galbo said. "We knew they'd be ready. We've just got to stay focused."

The Whalers rallied when quarterback Frankie Pratts hit Clayton Smith with a 74-yard touchdown pass with four minutes left, making it 26-19. New London got the ball back and still had a chance. East Lyme's defense, even with the inadvertent whistle, held.

Jaylen Callender took the opening kickoff 80 yards for a score for the Whalers, while Josiah Williams scored on a 42-yard run to give the Whalers a lead at the half.

"First, all the credit to East Lyme. That was a team ready to play," New London coach Johnny Burns said. "We made too many mistakes. One of their touchdowns, we had a blown coverage on something we work on a lot. Another one of their touchdowns we had the perfect coverage and our kid tripped. And the thing about a good team like East Lyme: They make you pay."

The Whalers are 3-3 overall and 0-1 in the division.

m.dimauro@theday.com

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