Unbeaten Fitch thoroughly dismantles NFA 46-13

Groton — It is a proud high school football program, able to hearken to championship days all the way back to 1976. There was once a 34-game win streak and back-to-back state titles, too.

And if you sat in the fieldhouse Friday night and listened to the sons of Fitch listen to coach Mike Ellis, you began to hear the rumblings of what could be another belonging in school lore and legend.

They hooted, howled ... and then wanted to know where they could watch film — immediately — of their next opponent.

This was after the biggest win in the Ellis era, a thorough 46-13 pounding of Norwich Free Academy in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference, a win in which the Falcons (4-0, 1-0) were barely threatened.

"We've never felt like this," senior Zach Letellier said. "I think it was back when we were 7 or 8 is the last time we were undefeated. We worked all offseason and we're finally reaping the benefits."

Fitch led 33-13 at halftime, using some creative offense and defensive quickness to stun the Wildcats (2-2).

Letellier and Kaz Pray put prolific NFA quarterback Shea McManaway on his rear end during NFA's first series, while linebackers Hollis Scott and Pedro Mojica prevented McManaway's ability to scramble.

The offense, meanwhile, used Hamear Stephens' ability to run and pass to ignite several big plays. But none bigger than when they moved Stephens to quarterback. He threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Antonyo Figueroa with 54 seconds left in the first half to give Fitch a 33-7 lead at the time.

In the previous series, Stephens, normally a running back, caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Nelli — moments after hitting Nelli, who moved to receiver, with a 14-yard completion.

"I was excited to move around because it gets more people involved in the offense," Stephens said. "Last year, we came out and waited to see what other teams had for us. This year, we want to taste the end zone."

Stephens finished with 112 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Nelli had 103 yards rushing while Scott scored twice.

The Fitch defense held McManaway to 146 passing yards. He threw touchdown passes to Jahiem Spruill and Nolan Molkenthin.

NFA has a bye week and plays at West Haven in two weeks.

"All the credit goes to Fitch," NFA coach Jason Bakoulis said. "They made some big plays. They coached and played a hell of a game."

Fitch also has a bye and plays at Branford as part of the ECC/Southern Connecticut Conference scheduling alliance.

"We had a fantastic week of practice," Ellis said. "(Assistant coach) Jordan Panucci likes to say, 'Can we have a week where it's just football?' It seems like there's always something else to deal with. This week it was just football. It was neat to watch them practice. It was hot. Our field was a dustbowl. But they really wanted it badly."



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