Patterson, East Lyme beat Woodstock 20-7 for first win of the season
Woodstock — Rudy Bagos, head coach of the East Lyme football team, had a recent conversation with assistant Dave Perry in which he shared his thoughts about his then-winless team.
“I said, ‘We’re not this bad,” Bagos said. “‘We’re not. We just played three tough teams.’”
East Lyme made Bagos’ opinion sound wise on a gray October day at Woodstock Academy. Junior Aidan Patterson ran 30 times for 257 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings earned their first win of the season, 20-7, in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I opener for both teams.
“It was tough to keep a positive attitude,” Vikings senior lineman Jackson Lin said about the team’s 0-3 start. “Everyone in the school was thinking we were going to lose and everything but, hey, we just proved them wrong.”
East Lyme (1-3, 1-0) was hit hard by graduation, which played a part in its early schedule.
Then there was the Vikings’ opening schedule. They played at Hand, at home against Windham and at Law. They were outscored 141-26 during that stretch.
Law and Windham are both 4-0.
“I owe it to these kids for being resilient,” Bagos said. “They could’ve done one of two things — they could’ve been resilient or (gotten down) about it and torn the whole team apart. They stuck together and they’re staying the course.”
Patterson was the offensive workhorse for East Lyme as he accounted for all but 12 of his team’s run plays. What made him particularly troublesome for the Centaurs (1-2, 0-1) was his stature — he’s 5-foot-6 and 140 pounds, making him difficult to get a hand on and proving that size doesn’t always matter.
“That’s what they tell me,” Patterson said.
Lin said of Patterson, “Hey, he’s a weapon, man. That guy is fast as hell. I love him. He’s carrying our offense on his back. He can come to a sudden stop instantly. That’s what makes him so good.”
Patterson’s success was made possible by seniors Benjamin Glover (tackle), Benjamin Kelley (center) and Lin (guard), junior Brenden Pennington (guard) and sophomore Thomas Matlock (tackle).
Matlock was a menace defensively, too, as he often fought his way into Woodstock’s backfield and had a sack.
“Tom has been playing terrific all season,” Bagos said, “especially the last few weeks. He’s turned it up even at practice. I can’t say enough about him and he’s only a sophomore.”
Senior Quinn Killoy added a sack for East Lyme.
Patterson ripped off a 61-yard run on the first play of the third quarter down to the Woodstock 11. He ran for a 4-yard touchdown three plays later and senior Jack Mauri’s extra point gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead.
Junior Ronin McNamara helped set up the Vikings’ next touchdown when he threw a 19-yard pass to classmate Mathew Leone on third-and-15 to move the ball to the Centaurs’ 2.
McNamara ran for a 2-yard touchdown two plays later with 9 minutes, 13 seconds remaining in the game. The extra point failed.
Woodstock scored on its next offensive play as junior Teddy Richardson found senior Brandon Nagle wide open for a 52-yard touchdown pass. Junior Seamus McDermott’s extra point cut the Vikings lead to 13-7.
McDermott added a 54-yard touchdown run with 3:06 left and Mauri’s extra point pushed East Lyme ahead 20-7.
“Hopefully we can get on a little run now and maybe make a difference,” Bagos said.