Defense leads Fitch past East Lyme 21-7

East Lyme — Though the injuries kept piling up and the yellow flags flew, the Fitch football team could count on one strong constant on Friday night — its defense.

The Falcons defense came up with one big stop after the next, including one stand by their goal line to end the first half. Trey Bryant and David Dorn each had two sacks as Fitch all but staked East Lyme’s CIAC Class L playoff hopes with a 21-7 win in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I game.

“(Assistant) coach (Jordan) Panucci has a done a great job working with the defense,” Falcons head coach Mike Ellis said. “They’ve kept us in the game all year long and tonight was no different.

“We were afraid (of East Lyme’s offense). We thought East Lyme’s running game was pretty good and we knew their quarterback (Noah Perry) and their receiving corps were pretty good, but we were able to get a lot of pressure on their quarterback. He snuck out a couple of times, but we did a pretty good job of wrapping him up and getting some sacks. So the defense really played outstanding.”

Tre’viont Mitchell had a sack and Savonne Mitchell Jr. assisted on another for Fitch (4-4, 1-2). Ethan Mojica added an interception and Greg Santora and Trae Johnson both recovered fumbles.

Noah Charron caught two touchdown passes and a two-point conversion for the Falcons. Josh Letellier (8 yards) and Lashier Edwards (23 yards) both threw touchdown passes and Mitchell ran 15 times for 99 yards and a score.

Fitch won despite Letellier, its starting quarterback, getting knocked out of the game with an apparent concussion during the first half and fullback James Deichler being limited by an ankle injury.

East Lyme is 5-3, 1-2. Just five three-loss teams have qualified for the L playoffs since the CIAC went to a four-division, eight-team playoff format in 2010.

Perry completed 16 of 23 passes for 211 yards with a touchdown and interception. He threw the touchdown pass to Scott Galbo (26 yards).

The Vikings' struggles extended to special teams as they botched three snaps to the punter on three successive attempts. The last of gave Fitch the ball at the East Lyme 5-yard line and set up its first touchdown.

“This game is on me,” Vikings head coach Rudy Bagos said. “I did not get the kids ready and I should’ve made some adjustments during the game and I didn’t, so this is on me.”

Fitch’s defense came up with its biggest stop after a big mistake and leading 13-0 late in the first half.

The Falcons had stopped the Vikings on fourth-and-6 from the Fitch 46 but were called for a personal foul after the play.

Perry threw a 35-yard pass to Galbo two plays later with the latter going out-of-bounds at the Falcons' 2 with seconds left.

Bryant and Johnson stopped Perry after a 1-yard gain on first down with 9 seconds remaining in the half.

“A draw up the middle,” Bryant said. “We knew they were going to push it up there right near the (end zone). (We) didn’t expect any passes there. Just thought they were going to run it up the middle.”

Cameron Aldinger and Charron stopped Perry for no gain on second down to end the half.

“That was huge,” Ellis said. “Once again, it’s one of our own penalties that gives them more yards, and then we were able to keep them out right before the happy. I was so proud of the kids.”

n.griffen@theday.com

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