Xavier rides a quick start and beats New London 40-13

New London — Maybe in a week — on the same field — New London High School coach Johnny Burns will be reacting the same way his counterpart did Saturday afternoon.

"Like the weight of the world has been lifted," Xavier coach Andy Guyon said, following his team's 40-13 win over the Whalers at Cannamela Field.

It was a week earlier when Guyon wore the same forlorn look as Burns did Saturday, after Xavier went to Fitch and allowed 49 points.

"New London is good," Guyon said. "They've got some players. You can see that. Their coaches are doing a good job. We knew we were in for a dog fight."

The Falcons (1-2), who had gone 0-for-the-Eastern Connecticut Conference the first two weeks — also losing at Norwich Free Academy — led 27-0 before the Whalers (0-2) scored. Xavier held New London to seven yards of offense in the first half.

"It was the mindset of the kids," Guyon said. "They didn't get down on themselves when things weren't going well. They had a great 'next play' mentality."

Bryce Sweetapple's 5-yard touchdown run, quarterback Andrew Kron's 17-yard run and Kron's 54-yard touchdown pass to K.J. Grisham gave Xavier a 21-0 lead at the half.

Grisham intercepted a pass and ran it back for a score early in the third period to make it 27-0 before the Whalers awakened.

Marquis White's 67-yard kickoff return led to Jeremiah Ballinger's 7-yard touchdown run. On the next possession, quarterback Frankie Pratts went 75 yards for a score and suddenly, it was 27-13.

"That was a really good sign," Burns said. "The kids were able to rally. Obviously, we would have liked to have done that earlier in the game. The turnover we had to begin the second half made the climb that much harder."

Xavier responded as it had all day: keep the ball and move it steadily. The Falcons scored twice to ice the game and manage one win during their three-game, ECC road trip.

The Whalers are at home next week against Ledyard.

"Fundamentally, we lost the game in the trenches," Burns said. "On both sides of the ball. It shows up more on offense sometimes. We've got some talent here. And we're not trying to reinvent the wheel. We're just trying to figure some things out."

m.dimauro@theday.com

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