The Lonesome Polecat (SE Conn variant): EL's dudes come through in win
East Lyme has been looking for a few good dudes this season.
The Vikings had them out in force last Friday. Their defense made a late goal line stand to hold off Woodstock Academy, 21-15.
"We've just been challenging these kids," East Lyme head coach Rudy Bagos said. "We say, 'Be a dude out there. Be a dude.' And they were (Friday). They made big plays when we needed it."
It had been a few rough weeks for East Lyme as it lost back-to-back games to Guilford (34-12, Oct. 8) and Hand (57-35, Oct. 22) from the Southern Connecticut Conference in games scheduled by the Connecticut High School Football Alliance.
The Vikings also lost to Norwich Free Academy, 28-26, on Sept. 24.
"There were times during the Hand a game where it looked their players went untouched," Bagos said. "We challenged the kids to get physical and they did."
East Lyme is 3-4.
Ethan Davis ran five yards on first-and-goal to move the Centaurs (5-2) down to the Vikings' 1-yard line.
Senior lineman David Semnoski sacked Davis for a four-yard loss on second down. Davis ran for two yards on third down and threw an incompletion to end Woodstock's last drive of the night.
"It was just a total team effort," Bagos said. "Defensively, we kept getting big stops. Offensively we were able to get the ball moving on the ground which is something we haven't been able to do all year. We were able to shorten the game a little bit and limit the number of touches for Woodstock because offensively they're pretty good."
Semnoski has been one of East Lyme's most versatile dudes. He started the season at right tackle, then moved to tight end, then fullback and is now starting at center after the losing the first and second string players at that position.
"Tell you what, if we ever need a quarterback, he could probably do it," Bagos said."
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It was sometime after Waterford squeezed past Stonington last Friday when it could joke about the absurdity of its 55-54 double overtime win.
"A couple of us were laughing looking at the scoreboard," first-year Waterford head coach Zeth Nolda said. "One hundred and nine points in a high school football game.
"It was a great game to be a part of. I told the guys (Saturday), 'that was a game you'll never forget. You'll get together in 25 years and still talk about it."
Neither team led by more than a touchdown.
The win was a welcome change of fortune for Waterford (2-5), which was on a four-game losing streak, including three straight high-scoring thrillers.
The Lancers lost to Woodstock (30-29, Oct. 2), NFA (34-30, Oct. 16) and New London (34-28, Oct. 22).
Will French's 8-yard run gave Stonington a 54-48 lead in the second overtime. The Bears' two-point conversion pass failed.
Senior Jordan Elci ran for a 10-yard touchdown to tie the game. Classmate Owen Lanuza nailed the extra point for the win.
"There was a little bit of a sense of relief," Nolda said about the win. "These kids have just played so hard and I'm very happy for them that they won the game. They overcame adversity. There were struggles in the game, but they overcame it. They battled and kept fighting and staying confident."
The game obviously had some ridiculous statistics. Junior Nate Hynes ran 19 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns and completed 10 of 19 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns for Waterford.
Seniors Mason Concascia (nine yards), Kevin Kilcomons (23 yards) and Elci (49 yards) all caught touchdown passes. Elci also ran for two touchdowns.
The Bears' French arguably had the game's best individual performance. The junior ran 29 times for 261 yards and five touchdowns and also scored on a 72-yard kickoff return. Five of those touchdowns came after the first half.
(Thanks to TEAMDAY~! staffer Gavin Keefe for providing those absurd statistics).
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The 2021 Connecticut High School football season has been as screwy as any in recent memory with outrageous finishes, record-setting comebacks and so, so much parity.
The Eastern Connecticut Conference's Division II had its share of parity last Friday night as Windham shocked Ledyard (23-13) along with Waterford knocking off Stonington.
Waterford beat Windham in Week 2 (27-24, Sept. 17).
Woodstock Academy is the only team with an unbeaten record in Division II play (3-0). Killingly (6-0) is the league's only unbeaten team.
"(Stonington head coach) A.J. (Massengale) and I were talking about (the parity) at midfield before the game,” Nolda said. "Just about every (ECC) team is in the same ballpark. Killingly is obviously above everyone but every (other) game, it's been a play here, a play there (that wins it). It's exciting. It's great to be a part of it. It's nail-biting and I'm losing my hair."
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Thanks for reading.