Fitch overcomes mistakes to beat New London 19-14
Groton — Mike Ellis grinned at the postgame question, the one about how he manages to stay such an upbeat person despite having to watch his Fitch High School team seemingly refuse to do anything easy.
"It's not supposed to be that hard but we make it hard," Ellis said Friday night. "No question about it."
The Falcons coughed and wheezed their way at times, fighting themselves as much as New London. They survived a number of 15-yard penalties — and an eventful last two plays — to salvage a 19-14 win in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference.
Tre Bryant's second interception of the second half came on the game's final play in the end zone, denying the Whalers the game-winning score. Fitch coaches and players thought the game had already been decided the play before, but the game officials huddled and decided the clock had run out prematurely, leaving one final play.
Fitch trailed 7-6 in the third period until Savon Mitchell's 14-yard touchdown run made it 12-7.
"A lot of time at halftime was spent calming the guys down," Ellis said. "We just told them if they executed, tackle and blocked, they'd win the game. But if you get caught up in all the other stuff going on, it won't end well. Just keep your head and execute."
Bryant's first interception was actually the bigger play than the last play of the game. With Fitch up 12-7, he picked off a pass over the middle and went 75 yards for a touchdown.
"The turnaround (Bryant) made in this game was really something," Ellis said. "He go the personal foul in the first half and had trouble calming down at halftime. The fact that he was able to make those plays, for that young man and what he's been through, I hope this is the beginning of him moving forward and having a real good senior year."
Josh Letelier hit Noah Charron with a 5-yard touchdown pass to give Fitch a 6-0 lead before Josiah Williams' 82-yard touchdown run gave the Whalers (4-4, 1-2) a 7-6 lead at halftime.
Fitch (5-4, 1-2) has won two straight after a near miss three weeks ago against division-leading NFA.
"The NFA game, even though we lost, we had a chance to win that at the end," Ellis said. "I think that gave the kids confidence. We know who NFA plays and how good they are. They've really responded with three good practice weeks."