Colonels' offense slow to launch in loss to Killingly

Ledyard — Just two touchdowns had been scored with under seven minutes left in the third quarter of Saturday’s Ledyard-Killingly football game, which was moving along at a pace that would’ve pleased the late Colonel himself, Bill Mignault.

Brayden Grim then hooked up with Caden Foote for Ledyard’s first touchdown.

It was the equivalent of having one’s head dunked into ice water in the morning as it jarred both offenses awake.

Killingly and the Colonels combined to score nine touchdowns in the final 18:30 minutes, which the Red Hawks won, 55-22, at Bill Mignault Field.

“That was the turning point in the game for us,” Grim said. “That really got us up off our feet and got us pumped up and ready. … But we couldn’t pull it out.”

Killingly head coach Chad Neal said, “We came out flat. We just didn’t come to play. (Ledyard) did (defensively). ... They were physical and aggressive. Their linebackers were flying all over the place. No. 5 (Robbie Petriel) and No. 11 (Grim) for them, I’ll take them any day. Those guys are some dudes.”

Sophomore Jack Sharpe ran 22 times for 222 yards and three touchdowns for the Red Hawks (5-0).

Grim ran for a 60-yard touchdown in addition to his 31-yard touchdown pass to Foote for the Colonels (1-4).

Killingly scored twice in the second quarter. Sharpe ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 6:29 left in the period. Jacob Nurse threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Heaney with 1:13 remaining in the half.

Ledyard stopped the Red Hawks on fourth-and-4 at its 43-yard line early in the second half. Five plays later, Grim threw a touchdown pass to Foote to cut the Colonels deficit to 14-6 with 6:30 left in the third quarter.

It was game on from that point.

“Now we think we can play with the other team, whereas it should be that way from the get-go,” Ledyard head coach Clay Killingsworth said.

The Red Hawks responded in two plays. Sharpe ran 50 yards on first down. Jackson Lopes followed with a 3-yard run as Killingly went ahead 20-6.

Nurse threw a 5-yard touchdown to Heaney to push the Red Hawks lead to 28-6 with 1:21 left in the quarter.

Nurse completed 8 of 11 passes for 134 yards. Heaney had five catches for 85 yards.

The Colonels scored in one play before the end of the quarter. Grim kept the ball on an option play and took it for a 60-yard touchdown. His conversion pass to Jaiden Bickham cut Ledyard’s deficit in half, 28-14, with 59 seconds left in the third.

Sharpe scored on an 8-yard run with 10:40 left in the fourth quarter for Killingly. It then used back-to-back interceptions to put the game away.

The Red Hawks’ Kameron Crowe returned an interception to the Colonels 14 on Ledyard’s next drive. It led to a 3-yard touchdown run by Lopes to push Killingly’s lead to 41-14 with 9:27 left in the game.

Jonathan Creswell followed by scoring on a 32-yard interception return as the Red Hawks increased their lead to 48-14 with 7:45 remaining.

Bickham ran for 26 and 29 yards on successive plays, the last of which was a touchdown. Grim ran in the conversion to cut Killingly’s lead to 48-22 with 4:37 left.

Sharpe ran for a 40-yard touchdown on fourth-and-5 with 59 seconds remaining.

“The first half, I thought we gave it to them pretty good (defensively),” Killingsworth said, “but they were just pushing us around on defense (in the second half) and there was nothing we could do. And then I made some key mistakes on offense.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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