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    Tuesday, November 29, 2022

    Lancers beat New London for the first time since 2004

    Waterford – The answer would be reflexive to anybody who has worn Lancer Blue over the years, responding to the question, “so which team on the schedule do you want to beat the most?”

    They would all say “East Lyme,” the blood rival, although New London, the neighbor on the other side, might qualify under “also receiving votes.”

    Except that Waterford had a rather crisp 17-year losing streak to New London in football. At least until Friday night.

    The Lancers posed for a team picture in front of the scoreboard, following their 34-13 win – the first over New London since 2004 – a night that not only sent the program to 3-1 on the season, but set up a divisional showdown with unbeaten Ledyard in two weeks.

    “It means a lot to the kids and the program in general,” Waterford coach Zeth Nolda said. “Everyone around here knows the history of New London’s program.”

    Waterford’s bid at its own history came from the unlikeliest place, senior Yankuba (“Yonk”) Faburay, a young man who was kicking a soccer ball in Kansas not all that long ago. Faburay, a volcanic, 6-foot-3 defensive end, also doubles as the team’s kicker.

    And the 1,000 fans at Alumni Field would discover that Lancer Nation knew what it was doing Friday by punctuating Faburay’s every swing of his right leg with a resounding, “BOOM!”

    Faburay kicked field goals of 34 and 30 yards and disrupted the game plenty on defense with a quarterback sack and two tackles for loss. He earned the Joe and Nancy Baude Player of the Game Award.

    “It was nice to win the award,” said Faburay, whose family moved here when his dad took a job on Plum Island, “but I have to share it with the entire team. That’s how we won this game. As a team.”

    Faburay, Noah Westkott and Chandler Metivier had sacks for Waterford’s defense, while sophomore Jax Higgins ended the game with three minutes remaining, returning an interception 30 yards for a touchdown.

    “We have some experienced kids. All we talk about is finishing after losing some tough games last year,” Nolda said.

    Faburay’s second field goal of the night came early in the fourth period, giving the Lancers a seemingly comfortable 20-6 lead. That was before New London’s Tyree Barnes took a screen pass 90 yards for a touchdown to close the Whalers within six with seven minutes left.

    This is where the Lancers did the finishing. Quarterback Nate Hynes hit Westkott for a 32-yard gain on third down before Brady Sutman finished the drive with a 12-yard scoring run, during which he held the ball with his left hand and disposed of a defensive player near the goal line with the other.

    Hynes finished with 125 rushing yards, 102 passing yards and two touchdowns.

    Waterford won three of its last four to end last season and has won three of its first four in 2022 under Nolda, a program alum.

    “The confidence continues to build,” Nolda said. “That’s a big thing here. In past years here, we had teams who were unsure of what they were made of. But they’re starting to believe more and more.”

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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