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Fitch comes out flat and gets flattened by ND-WH 34-16

Groton — Mike Ellis knew something was amiss during the abbreviated week of practice, perhaps making Saturday a better fit for a patsy of an opponent instead of a brand name.

Sadly, the Falcons got the latter: Notre Dame of West Haven. And while subconsciously they knew anything other than their best would be insufficient, they played otherwise.

The Green Knights, whose only losses have come to No. 1 Hand and No. 2 St. Joseph, pounded Fitch, 34-16, at Dorr Field. Notre Dame (4-2) might have left with a more pronounced win without its four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

Still, this was 34-3 in the fourth quarter before the Falcons awakened a bit.

"We played last Sunday (a win over Waterford) and had a pretty good practice Tuesday," Ellis said. "But Wednesday and Thursday, we just weren't there. Just not ourselves. And you can't get away with that playing a team like Notre Dame. The ironic thing is we've been pretty good all year about being a team who practices hard. It wasn't there this week and it showed on the field."

Notre Dame led 14-0 after the first period, having scored on two of its three first possessions and using an interception from Mark Altieri to kill Fitch's promising first drive.

Quarterback Jackson Zalinsky set up the first score with a 28-yard completion to Austin Pieck before Altieri's 13-yard touchdown run. Zalinsky hit Tom Candelora with a 50-yard touchdown pass to give the Green Knights a two-score lead.

It was 21-0 before the Falcons scored — Evan Burdy's 32-yard field goal late in the half. Ethan Mojica's long kickoff return set up Fitch in Notre Dame territory, but the drive stalled shortly thereafter.

Notre Dame scored twice more in the third quarter before Fitch quarterback Josh Letellier's 5-yard run made it 34-9. Letellier hit Greg Santoro with a touchdown pass late in the game, making the final margin somewhat more palatable.

"Normally, we're a better tackling team than we showed today," Ellis said. "The other thing I didn't like was our energy today. Very low at the beginning. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that you saw a little juice from our sideline. That's just not good enough."

Fitch returns to the Eastern Connecticut Conference on Friday night at home against Norwich Free Academy.


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