Whalers attack Lions in 40-12 rout

Bridgeport — New London head coach Johnny Burns wanted his defense to launch the team Friday night.

The Whalers literally launched themselves at Bassick as every other defensive call seeming to be a blitz.

New London’s defense played downhill and attacked to propel the Whalers to a 40-12 rout at John F. Kennedy Stadium in a Connecticut High School Football Alliance interconference game between the Eastern Connecticut Conference and Southern Connecticut Conference.

“We feel our defense is a stabilizer for us,” Burns said. “We wanted to be aggressive tonight and it worked out all right.”

New London junior co-captain and inside linebacker Keeano Gonzalez said, “We blitzed a lot more and we wanted to test out some more packages and blitz schemes. We knew we were going to get out to a good start early. We wanted to test out some schemes that we can run for next week (against East Lyme).”

New London went ahead 20-0 with 7 minutes, 45 seconds left in the first half when the Lions requested a running clock.

It was the third straight win for the Whalers (3-2) after opening the seasno with a pair of alliance losses to two of the state's elite programs (New Canaan and Xavier).

New London’s defense dropped the Lions for negative yardage on seven of their 27 offensive plays. Eighteen of Bassick’s run plays were for four yards or less.

“We’ve just got to know what we can run and what we can’t and what we do well,” Burns said. “We were definitely hoping we could get into a fair amount of those blitzes tonight.”

The Lions (0-6) dressed just 22 players. It has lost 28 straight games dating back to November 2016.

Frankie Pratts completed 5 of 11 passes for 82 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and ran for two scores for New London.

Jaylen Callender ran three times for 80 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 54 yards and two scores.

Charles Zeigler caught a 15-yard touchdown pass for the Whalers and Jammie Mills had an interception.

Pratts threw a 16-yard touchdown to Callender on the seventh play of the game to give New London a 7-0 lead just 3:40 into the first quarter. Pratts ran for an 11-yard touchdown on the Whalers next drive as they went ahead, 13-0, with 4:30 remaining in the quarter.

Callender’s 35-yard touchdown run pushed New London’s lead to 20-0 with 7:45 left in the first half.

Bassick finally got moving on its next offensive play as Tyquan Newkirk threw a 57-yard pass to Jason Marrero down to the Whalers’ 11-yard line.

Marrero ran for a touchdown on the next play.

Pratts ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 4 minutes left in the half. Erick McNeil then recovered a fumble after a violent collision on the ensuing kickoff at the Lions’ 30.

Pratts followed with a touchdown pass to Callender to end the half as New London went ahead 34-6 at the break.

“They had a nice connection,” Burns said of Pratts and Callender. “They’re really good leaders for our offense. They were what sparked us. I think we would’ve liked to have jumped into some other packages tonight but running clock didn’t really assist with that.

“It wasn’t all good, but it was good enough.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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