The Lonesome Polecat (state variant): WethersfielD, BASSICK WINS, Hand & Mastroianni, FIVE-WAY TIES. .... this here blog has it all
Middletown’s Tyron Scharborough caught a short pass from Chris Danas, slipped out of the grasp of a Wethersfield defender and accelerated for an 86-yard gain to set up Levar Cassanova’s 4-yard run with over four minutes left in the first quarter.
Wethersfield’s defense then proceeded to end the Blue Dragons’ offense.
The Eagles allowed Middletown just 53 yards the rest of the game as they pounded out a 30-6 win on Saturday.
“I was looking to get a shutout, but they scored,” Eagles senior outside linebacker Tyren Watts said. “But it’s fine. It’s fine.”
Matt McKinnon, Wethersfield’s first-year head coach, said, “We take pride in the defense. I’ve been with the defense for six years now as the defensive coordinator. These guys go out and execute the game plan. I give all the credit to my coaches and the staff, putting in the game plan. And our guys are hungry.
“We are a family here. Whenever we play, we play for each other and this community, and the defense, they’ve been playing lights out this year. I’m so happy for them.”
Defense was expected to be a strength for the Eagles (6-1) as they returned eight starters from last year’s 6-4 team.
Wethersfield has allowed 84 points this season, the majority of which top-ranked Hand dropped on them in a 56-13 win back on Sept. 27.
One can always take something positive from defeat in any walk of life. Wethersfield intercepted two passes early and led the Tigers, 6-0, after one quarter.
The Eagles trailed 15-13 in the second quarter when Hand finally unloaded on them.
“We competed,” McKinnon said. “We take pride in competing. … We had the lead at the end of the first quarter and it really told our kids we can play ball. We can get out there and get after it.”
The Blue Dragons, a perennial Class L contender, had a chance to add to their 6-0 early in the second quarter and had a third-and-4 at the Wethersfield 33.
Cassanova gained 3 yards on third down.
The Eagles stuffed him on fourth-and-1 and a turnover on downs at their own 30.
Wethersfield’s offense capitalized six plays later. Matt Silver threw a pass to Connor Pace, who made a nifty catch for a 29-yard touchdown. Evan Sipala’s extra point gave the Eagles a 7-6 lead with 5 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first half.
Wethersfield’s defense and special teams rocked Middletown late in the half.
A blocked punt on Middletown’s next drive set up Sipala’s 21-yard field goal with 56 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Watt intercepted Danas on Middletown’s next play to give Wethersfield the ball at the Middletown 27. It set up Sipala’s 37-yard field goal to end the half and pushed the Eagles ahead, 20-6.
Silver completed 8 of 19 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown and ran 19 times for 178 yards.
Orsini ran 23 times for 136 yards and a score.
Pace had five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-3 senior plays power forward on the basketball team and looks the part on the football field as he used his body to outmuscle defenders for the ball.
“He’s the guy that says, ‘I’m going to be better than you,’” McKinnon said. “‘I don’t care who they line up on me, I’m going to get the football.’ He and Silver just have a quiet connection. We tell them every time (defenses) leave him 1-on-1, the ball is going up.
“Coaching Connor is phenomenal. He’s a stellar student. He’s probably going to (play) Ivy League football. … I love the kid. You put somebody on him, he’s going to want to beat you.”
Pace, along with classmates Jake Whitaker (two-way lineman) and Jacob Rivera (middle linebacker-fullback), are captains. McKinnon had high praise for the senior class.
“I’ve been coaching 11 years,” McKinnon said. “It could be the top senior class I’ve ever seen just leadership-wise, the way they hit the weight room. We’re a family and that’s what we take pride in here.”
Wethersfield is fourth in the CIAC Class L rankings and has a difficult closing stretch. It hosts Maloney (6-1) on Friday, plays at Hall (5-2) on Nov. 15, and ends its regular season at home on Thanksgrabbing Eve (Nov. 27) against Newington (5-2).
Maloney is fifth in the L rankings and Newington eighth.
• • • •
HATS OFF to Bassick for holding on to beat Bridgeport Central 12-7 last Saturday and ending 28-game losing streak.
The Lions' (1-6) last win was over O’Brien Tech, 33-21, on Nov. 12, 2016.
Quinshon McCoy scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 15-yard run with 2:07 left in the game, then tackled Central’s Jean Desir at the Bassick 5-yard line to end the game.
Jason Marrero threw a 26-yard touchdown to Jerry Torres and had six catches for 89 yards for the Lions.
Andy Carasco had two first-half interceptions for the Hilltoppers (0-7).
• • • •
There’s been a lot of memorable moments for two-time, two-time defending Class L champion Hand this season.
The best yet happened when the Tigers arrived for their game at West Haven last Friday and were met by head coach Dave Mastroianni, who had missed the previous two games while undergoing treatment for cancer of the appendix.
The Tigers, fired up to see Mastroianni, held West Haven to 149 yards in their 37-0 win. Mastroianni watched the game from the booth.
“Seeing coach before the game was pretty emotional,” Hand senior Phoenix Billings told Mike Madera of GameTimeCT.com. “We were not sure if he was going to be here. It was great to see him and have him here.”
Mastroianni had an appendectomy on Sept. 24 and coached from the booth three days later during Hand’s road win at Wethersfield. The cancer was found on the appendix weeks later during a checkup following surgery.
The Tigers held up a sign at last Friday's game that read, “‘Lean On Us’” We LOVE You Coach.”
Jesse Lutz started the game with a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and added 19 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown for Hand. Billings also completed 14 of 20 passes for 206 yards with three touchdowns.
“My football family has been so supportive the whole time,” Mastroianni told Madera. “These kids are my kids. I got here today at the same time as the bus pulled in. I hugged as many of them as I could. It was such a great feeling to see them again.”
• • • •
Those of us Polecat HQ believe the theory of the “trap game” is overblown. Teams can lose after a big win simply because sports are crazy.
A “trap game” might explain, however, how Darien barely escaped with a 26-23 win over Danbury last Saturday.
Darien (7-0), ranked third in The Day's coaches’ poll, was coming off a wild 27-21 win at No. 5 Greenwich on Oct. 26.
Danbury (4-3), on the other hand, was trucked by No. 4 Newtown (7-0) on Oct. 25, 35-14.
Darien twice had to rally in the second-half to get past the Hatters.
Sophomore Jackson Ciccone threw a 84-yard touchdown pass to Artez Taft to give Danbury a 23-20 lead with 8:04 left in the game.
The Blue Wave went three-and-out on their next drive. Their defense then stopped the Hatters on fourth-and-1 from the Danbury 23 with 4:59 remaining.
Two plays later, Peter Graham threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Jackson Peters as Darien went back ahead with 4:41 left.
Peters and Austin Dehmel, the latter who was wearing a wrist cast, each had interceptions on Danbury’s final two drives.
Graham completed 20 of 38 passes for 345 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and Peters had six catches for 176 yards.
Ciccone threw three touchdowns for the Hatters, including one to Malachi Hopkins (17 yards) and another to Xavier Ross (75 yards).
• • • •
Two unbeaten teams went down last Friday — Naugatuck and Weston.
Jacob Coleman ran 21 times for 206 yards and a touchdown as Torrington literally ran over Naugatuck, 14-7. Christian Estefani added seven carries for 106 yards and a touchdown for Torrington (5-2), which rushed for 355 yards.
The Greyhounds (5-1) were without two of their best offensive threats — Malachi Gatison (running back) and Jeff Schebell (receiver).
Matt Constantinides completed 11 of 19 passes for 141 yards and three touchdowns as New Fairfield crushed Weston, 29-6, for its fourth straight win. JT Thuesen had three catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns for the REBELS (4-2) and Chris Radovic had 15 tackles and a sack.
The Trojans (6-1) were without injured quarterback James Goetz and others.
• • • •
Longtime UConn women’s hoop oracle Carl Adamec of the Manchester Journal-Inquirer passed along a wacky scenario — the potential of the Central Connecticut Conference’s Division I East ending in a FIVE-WAY TIE for the division title.
All five teams have losing records — Enfield (3-4), Manchester (3-4), Glastonbury (3-4), South Windsor (2-5), and East Hartford (1-6).
Enfield and Manchester are both 2-1 within the division, Glastonbury is 2-2, and South Windsor and East Hartford are 1-2.
IF South Windsor were to beat Enfield on Nov. 23, and IF East Hartford beat Manchester on Thanksgrabbing Eve, then all five teams would share the division title with 2-2 records.
Meanwhile, over in the CCC D-I West, Simsbury (6-1) and Hall (5-2) have no shot at the division title because of Southington (6-1), ranked seventh in The Day's coaches' poll.
• • • •
Fitch beat Xavier, 49-20, in a Connecticut High School Football Alliance game back on Sept. 21.
Notre Dame of West Haven beat Fitch, 34-16, in an Alliance game on Oct. 26
Xavier beat ND-West Haven last Friday, 28-21.
CIRCLE OF STRIFE.
• • • •
Behold, The Day's Top 10 state coaches’ poll: 1. Hand (7-0, 11 first-place votes); 2. St. Joseph (7-0, two first-place votes); 3. Darien (7-0); 4. Newtown (7-0); 5. Greenwich (6-1); 6. Bloomfield (7-0); 7. Southington (6-1); 8. Ansonia (7-0); 9. Sheehan (6-0); and, making its season debut, 10. Cheshire (6-1).
• • • •
The GameTimeCT/New Haven Register/Hearst Inc. Monolith Top 10 media poll: 1. Hand (22 first-place votes); 2. St. Joseph (three first-place votes); 3. Darien; 4. Greenwich; 5. Newtown; 6. Bloomfield; 7. Southington; 8. Ansonia; 9. Ridgefield, and, 10. Cheshire.
• • • •
Ned Freeman’s cold, calculating computer rankings for CalPreps: 1. St. Joseph; 2. Hand; 3. Darien; 4. Southington; 5. Newtown; 6. Ridgefield; 7. Greenwich; 8. Sheehan; 9. Bloomfield; and, 10. Cheshire.
Ansonia is 18th.
West Haven’s schedule is ranked the hardest. The Blue Devils (2-4) have played five teams with winning records. They’ve beaten Norwich Free Academy (27-13) and lost to Hand (37-0), Newtown (21-14), Shelton (21-13) and Conard (33-8).
• • • •
Dig the ballot Polecat HQ filed for the aforementioned media poll:
1. St. Joseph
12. New Canaan
• • • •
Another weekend, another St. Joseph beatdown. Jack Wallace completed 12 of 17 passes for 184 yards and five touchdowns in last Saturday’s 63-3 maiming of Fairfield Warde. Jaden Shirden ran 17 times for 145 yards and two touchdowns, Brady Hutchinson had four catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns, and Justin Williams scored on a 31-yard interception return for the Cadets. Auston Jose also scored on a 9-yard catch and was 9-for-9 on extra points.
Brandon Lombardo and Newtown won with ease last Saturday. Lombardo completed 7 of 9 passes for 145 yards with three touchdowns in a 38-0 clubbering of Stratford. ... Greenwich shook off its brutal Week 7 home loss to Darien by squashing Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech last Saturday, 49-8. James Rinello completed 13 of 16 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns, six players other players scored, and the defense allowed 117 yards.
Anthony Simpson ran nine times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, had four catches for 101 yards, and added a sack and an interception as Bloomfield thumped Northwest Catholic last Friday, 43-7. Daron Bryden completed 10 of 16 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, Kyle Davis had 10 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks, and Jakar Jenkins added eight tackles 3.5 sacks for the WARHAWKS, who have outscored opponents 349-13.
Billy Carr had 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, recovered an onside kick and ran for a 1-yard touchdown as the Blue Knights made an example of previously unbeaten Simsbury last Friday, 35-7. Southington’s D allowed just 99 yards. Jack McManus, who had four catches for 25 yards in his team’s first six games, went plumbo loco for the Blue Knights with seven catches for 154 yards and three touchdowns against Simsbury. Also, Brady Laffety completed 16 of 27 passes for 262 yards with four touchdowns.
Shykeem Harmon scored on runs of 6 and 25 yards and also caught a 22-yard touchdown pass in the first half of Ansonia’s 42-0 clubbering of Kennedy last Friday. Sheldon Schuler threw four touchdowns for the Chargers. … Terrence Bogan ran 20 times for 136 yards with three touchdowns as Sheehan mauled another overmatched team last Friday, Hillhouse, 48-6. Kyle Simmons completed 7 of 10 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns for the Titans and Jordan Davis had four catches for 115 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 1-yard run. Russell Rutkowski added 12 tackles.
Jake McAlinden ran nine times for 40 yards and two touchdowns and scored on an 80-yard kickoff return as Cheshire smashed East Haven last Friday, 48-14, its fifth-straight win. Jason Shumilla completed 6 of 12 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Cheshire and Nick DiDomizio had two catches for 83 yards and two scores. ... Owen Gaydos scored on catches of 72 and 32 yards and a 35-yard interception return as Ridgefield battered Stamford last Friday, 56-12. Owen Matthews threw two touchdown passes and scored on a 1-yard run for the Tigers (6-1).
Drew Pyne completed 16 of 22 passes for 224 yards and FIVE TOUCHDOWNS and scored on an 8-yard run as New Canaan whacked McMahon last Friday, 42-0. Christian Sweeney had five catches for 49 yards and two touchdowns for the Rams (5-2) and Jack Finnigan had 11 tackles and an interception. ... Nick Ochoa had 10 tackles, a sack and scored on a 47-yard interception return to help Bunnell beat Pomperaug last Friday, 18-13, its first win.
Jayden Desilus completed 18 of 30 passes for 228 yards with three touchdowns and scored on a 2-yard run as Norwich Free Academy rallied to beat Fitch last Friday, 33-29. Andrew Cote caught eight passes for 130 yards and a score for NFA (4-3). Josh Letellier completed 8 of 18 passes for 124 yards and ran 16 times for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Falcons (3-4). ... Scott Galbo scored on catches of 32 and 28 yards and a 47-yard interception return in East Lyme’s 26-19 win over New London last Friday.
Tyler Pjatak ran 14 times for 180 yards and FIVE TOUCHDOWNS as Shelton flattened North Haven last Friday, 41-12. ... James Bourque threw touchdown passes of 12 and 24 yards and scored on a 5-yard run as Fairfield Ludlowe beat Trumbull last Friday, 39-27. Carlos Moreno caught touchdown passes of 14 and 24 yards for Ludlowe (5-2) and Colin Fleming scored on a 22-yard fumble return. Riley Simpson threw touchdowns of 20 and 14 yards and scored on a 1-yard run for Trumbull (2-5).
James Tarver ran 14 times for 152 yards and three touchdowns as Maloney beat the stuffing out of Hartford Public last Friday, 49-0. Angel Arce threw two touchdowns passes, Sergio Muniz scored on a 65-yard interception return, and Spartans special teams blocked two first-half punts, too, for Maloney (6-1). ... Courtney Jackson scored on a 95-yard kickoff return and Kishay Johnson had two interceptions as Windsor shut down Platt last Friday, 13-3. Really expected more this season from Platt (3-4) and feel confident writing that no one in Class M wanted it to qualify.
Johnny McGeever ran 13 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns and blocked a field goal as Berlin trounced Avon last Friday, 41-0, despite a list of injuries longer than this here blog. McGeever wasn’t on the depth chart to start the season, but with 14 players out injured, he was forced into the starting lineup. Among those lost to injury are all-state LB-FB Zach Hrubiec, who broke his fibula in a Week 1 win over Tolland. Junior Nick Melville was slated to be the new starting quarterback but tore his labrum in the offseason. Classmate Justin Skates was elevated to starter and completed 11 of 14 passes for 141 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the Avon win for the Redcoats (6-1). Kyle Krupa also scored on a 34-yard interception return.
Jonathan O’Coin completed 18 of 33 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns (both to Jaquan Dufour) as Rockville blanked Stafford/East Windsor/Somers last Friday, 20-0. Anthony Mierez also scored on a 51-yard interception return for the Rams (7-0), who are off to their best start since 1995. ... Joe DiGello scored on runs of 7 and 1 yards and tossed a pass to Jake Forchetta that resulted in a 80-yard touchdown in Amity’s 27-14 win over Lyman Hall last Friday.
Wilton scored 28 unanswered points to rally from a 21-point first-half deficit and beat Staples last Friday, 35-24. Jimmy O’Brien threw three touchdown passes, all in the second half, for Wilton (5-2). ... Kyle Gordon made life miserable for Westhill last Friday. Gordon completed 10 of 15 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns and ran 12 times for 143 yards and a score as Norwalk devoured the Vikings, 48-7. Camryn Edwards had three catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears and Isaiah Asmani had eight tackles and an interception.
Hall’s Matt Keller was not messing around last Friday. He completed 8 of 13 passes for 177 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another in a 42-7 clubbering of Enfield. ... Alex Riccitelli ran for two touchdowns, including a 9-yard game-winner, to lift Haddam-Killingworth to its first win of the season last Friday, 19-14 over Morgan. Andrew Nye completed 24-of-46 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns for Morgan.
Xavier stopped Notre Dame of West Haven’s Jackson Zalinsky on fourth-and-1 from its own 6-yard line with 51.8 seconds for a 28-21 win last Friday. Drew Kron ran for 155 of his game-high 180 yards in the second half and scored twice for Xavier (4-3). Zalinsky threw touchdown passes of 32, 8 and 33 yards for the Green Knights (4-3) and Tommy Candelora added 12 catches for 172 yards and a score.
Peter Simplicio kicked a game-ending 20-yard field goal to give Conard a 17-14 overtime win over New Britain last Friday. Arsen Shtefan ran 20 times for 107 yards and a touchdown for Conard (4-3). Omary Payne had 13 carries for 108 yards and a score for the Golden Hurricanes (2-5). ... Malik Bennett ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns and threw in 11 tackles just for good measure as East Hartford beat Glastonbury last Friday, 27-14. Darrion Williams threw for 169 yards and a touchdown and scored on a 9-yard run for East Hartford. ... Jacob Conrad completed 12 of 22 passes for 128 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, scored on runs of 4 and 5 yards, and kicked five extra points to pace Farmington past Bristol Eastern last Friday, 54-14. Farmington allowed just 116 yards, 64 of which came on two plays.
Many Crusaders took part in the scoring in Holy Cross’ 62-6 pillaging of Wilby last Friday. Pat Giancarli had a rushing and receiving touchdown. Jalon Jones ran for two touchdowns. Shawn Austin and Rashaun Mitchell both scored on kickoff returns. Mah’kai Wilson scored on a punt return and a reception. Drevon Yeldell completed 7 of 12 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. You get the idea. Holy Cross (5-2) also won the NVL Brass Division. ... Xavier Powell completed 14 of 16 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns (both to Leo Kalosky) in Watertown’s 32-6 win over Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech last Friday. Richie Serna ran 12 times for 102 yards and two touchdowns for Watertown (4-2). … Joe DeDomenico completed all seven of his passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns — all in the first half of Woodland’s 42-14 waltz over Crosby last Friday. Nate Bodnar scored on a catch and an interception return for the Hawks (7-0), who travel to Ansonia this Friday.
Terrance Gignac needed just three carries to rush for 100 yards and three touchdowns as Bacon Academy rolled Montville last Saturday, 41-8. Noah Violette had 12 tackles for Bacon (5-2) and Jake Cavallo added two sacks. ... Bristol Central's Shawn Rodriguez and Galen Hickey combined to rush for three times RHAM’s total offense in Saturday’s 34-0 rout. Rodriguez ran 28 times for 217 yards and four touchdowns for the Rams (4-3) and Hickey ran 15 times for 100 yards and a score.
Jackson Rome ran 19 times for 148 yards and three touchdowns, completed 7 of 12 passes for 71 yards and had four tackles to pace the new-fangled Granby/Canton co-op past the Coginchaug/East Hampton/Hale-Ray tri-op last Saturday, 27-6. Sam Attianese had 16 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown, kicked three extra points and had four tackles for the BEARWARRIORS, who forced six turnovers. Colin Mackin added seven tackles and two interceptions.
TOMICO Williams scored on kickoff returns of 70 and 50 yards and a 1-yard run as CREC took down Amistad last Saturday, 50-32. Dorrian Chaney scored on runs of 2, 2, and 1 yards for CREC and Raiden McDade scored on a 60-yard kickoff return. Joshua Villafane scored on runs of 12 and 5 yards and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Tyrone Moye for Amistad. ... Ryan Carlson just about carried Tolland to a 7-0 win over Lewis Mills last Saturday. Carlson ran 33 times for 219 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the game, and had seven tackles and forced a fumble for the Eagles (4-3). Tolland allowed just 117 yards to the Spartans (5-2), who averaged 27.3 points through six games.
Waterbury Career Academy's Jalen Gopie and Cyris Smith did a number on Oxford in last Saturday's 42-6 thumping. Gopie ran 19 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns and had five tackles and a sack for WCA (5-2). Smith added 18 carries for 174 yards and two scores and an interception. ... Marco Folino ran 21 times for 232 yards and two touchdowns and scored on a two-point conversion as Gilbert-NW Regional walloped Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial last Saturday, 35-14.
• • • •
Thanks for reading. More soon.
Stories that may interest you
NFA's fast-paced offense came in handy last Friday against methodical Killingly.
Idle Thoughts, while waiting for Thanksgiving, more RPO (run-pass option) and less RCS (Road Construction Season): ● Dr. Idle, Dr. I to his close friends, has a question. (And thanks to old friend Hank Cormier for bringing this to Dr. I’s attention.) Has there ever been...