Hart scores four TDs as East Lyme routs Windham 40-15

East Lyme — It was a bit disconcerting, and odd looking, watching East Lyme's Blane Hart start clutching the back of his leg while simultaneously running with the ball towards the end zone on Friday night.

“My leg cramped,” Hart said while laughing. “End of the game, that happens. I almost fell over.

“I was like, ‘I’ve got to get this (touchdown), though.”

Hart managed to turn a fumble recovery into a 35-yard touchdown return. It was his fourth touchdown of the night as he jumpstarted the Vikings to their first win of the season, 40-15, over previously unbeaten Windham in an Eastern Connecticut Conference interdivision game at Dick North Field.

Hart didn’t touch the ball much, but he made each touch count for the Vikings (1-2).

Hart scored on his first two carries and finished with four carries for 112 yards. He also scored on an 80-yard punt return in addition to his 35-yard fumble return.

“He can run,” East Lyme head coach Rudy Bagos said. “He really wanted to focus on being a better football player, so last year he did track. You can see it’s made a huge difference. ... He’s just really explosive.”

Marshall Mason ran 14 times for 71 yards and a touchdown for East Lyme. Chris Salemme completed 5 of 14 passes for 80 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Duthrie.

“We’re very blessed,” Bagos said. “We’ve got a lot of good skill players.”

Nate Barbosa Torres bullied his way for 225 yards and a touchdown on 33 carries for Windham (2-1). Issiah English added 13 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 47 yards.

New London’s 25-24 win over defending CIAC Class M champion Killingly on Friday night, combined with the Whippets’ loss, leaves the Eastern Connecticut Conference with no unbeaten teams three weeks into the season.

Hart took his first carry and ran for a 36-yard touchdown with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left in the first quarter. Ken Place’s extra point gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead.

English ran for a 55-yard touchdown with 9:26 left in the first half. Jordy Gonzalez, a two-way lineman and kicker, tied the game at 7 with his extra point.

Hart ran for 67 yard touchdown as East Lyme went back ahead 14-7 with 2:47 left in the half.

Hart fielded a bouncing punt with over five minutes left in the third quarter, slipped a tackle, ran towards the East Lyme sideline, then cut it back the other direction for an 80-yard touchdown and a 21-7 Vikings lead.

“I was hesitating (to field the punt),” Hart said. “I couldn’t pick up the ball. I just cut to the outside, cut it back in, and all I saw was green.”

Mason scored on a 5-yard run to give the Vikings a 27-7 edge with 1:26 left in the third.

Salemme’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Duthrie pushed the Vikings lead to 34-7 with 8:41 left in the game.

Windham scored on its next drive on Barbosa Torres’ 4-yard run. He also ran for the conversion.

Hart scored his final touchdown on a scoop-and-score after a Whippets’ fumble with 5:17 remaining.

“He can always break it,” Bagos said about Hart. “The kid doesn’t go down. He’s a good player. Him and his brother (Cam, a linebacker) are terrific. Cam is leading us in tackles. He’s unbelievable.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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