Fitch retains The Sword; Ledyard makes the playoffs
Groton – There were times, as Thanksgiving morning became afternoon, that Mike Ellis, the eventual victorious coach, might have considered stabbing himself with the hallowed Colonel Ledyard Sword, rather than celebrating with it.
That’s because Ellis and the 2,200 others watching at Dorr Field felt the volcanic sway of emotions in a game whose second half featured a combined 60 points of offense.
And when it was over, Fitch retained The Sword for the sixth straight time, earning a 46-36 win that nearly hummed the same tune as the 46-40 game the schools played in 1993 on the same field.
“In the second half, they just kept coming and give Ledyard credit for that,” Ellis said, his team having finished a 6-4 season. “An incredible win for us.”
Ledyard, meanwhile, walked away defeated and disappointed, but with one caveat: Its season marches to the playoffs Tuesday. Ellington’s loss to Rockville gives Ledyard the No. 8 seed and a game at top-seeded Cromwell/Portland in Tuesday’s quarterfinals.
“It’s an interesting situation,” said Ledyard coach Mike Serricchio, whose team won its division of the Eastern Connecticut Conference and finished the regular season 8-2. “Winning the division is nice, but with this streak we have going (six straight losses to Fitch), this really hurts.”
Serricchio was a bit confounded as well, left to wonder how his team that coughed and wheezed its way to a 22-0 halftime deficit could explode and play a brilliant second half.
“We were the walking dead,” Serricchio said.
That was until it took the Colonels four plays to score to begin the second half. And when Jacob Lenz went 52 yards on an interception return, suddenly the Colonels trailed 22-14 with most of the second half remaining.
From there: Kevin Sanitvil-Ravix touchdown run, 30-14. Lenz 53-yard run, 30-22. Green 4-yard run (but a failed two-point conversion) and Ledyard trailed 30-28.
Fitch, knowing it had six minutes remaining to kill, then handed the ball to senior (and team scholar-athlete) Charles Cabusao, who converted three straight third-down runs into first downs.
“That was such a key part of the game,” Ellis said. “We kept the clock moving and kept getting first downs.”
Saintvil-Ravix finished that drive with a touchdown run making it 38-28, but the Colonels responded with a score, Jackson Poulton’s 4-yard run, making it 38-36 with 1:21 left.
Ledyard’s attempt at an onside kick scored high on the epic-o-meter as well. The kick amounted to a foul tip, leaving the players confused with the ball a few inches from the tee. But that’s where freshman Porter Carter scooped the ball and ran to the end zone, giving Fitch a 44-36 lead. Adonis Fine’s two-point conversion iced it.
“Despite our record,” Cabusao said, “we executed well today. This really feels good. I think winning The Sword is better than making the playoffs. It belongs at Fitch.”