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    Tuesday, July 23, 2024

    Stonington’s comeback falls short in loss to rival Westerly

    Westerly – Riding some serious momentum, Stonington appeared on the verge of completing a valiant comeback and clinching a postseason berth.

    The Bears erased a 22-point deficit to forge a tie on the final play of the third quarter in their annual Thanksgiving football game against Westerly.

    But as happened far too many times this season, Stonington stumbled down the stretch and let the game slip away.

    Westerly scored the final 21 points in the last five minutes, 18 seconds, to claim a 51-30 victory at Augeri Field in the 163rd meeting of the border rivalry.

    Junior running back Terrell Hill accounted for 64 of his team’s 87 yards on the impressive 15-play drive that put the Bulldogs in front for good, 37-30.

    Hill, who rushed for 231 yards and three touchdowns behind a powerful offensive line, was named the game’s most valuable player.

    “Honestly, it was really nerve-racking,” Hill said. “This was my first ever time playing in a Turkey Day game. I just wanted to do my best and help my team win, especially for the seniors.”

    The Bears (6-4) just ran out of comeback magic.

    Trailing by seven in the fourth quarter, the Bears committed two turnovers, as junior Mike Poole made an interception off a tipped pass at the line and recovered a fumble. Both mistakes led to touchdowns.

    “Our kids have no quit in them,” Stonington coach A.J. Massengale said. “They fight. They’ve played a lot of close football games this year. We had a few minutes today of football that the game got away from us – the first eight minutes and the last five minutes. Those were some times where we lost control of the game a bit.”

    The game featured some wild momentum swings.

    Westerly (9-2) used big plays to score on its first three possessions and take a 20-0 lead just over 10 minutes into the game. Freshman quarterback Landon Husereau threw two touchdown passes to Romello Hamelin covering 73 and 56 yards. Hill rushed four yards for a score.

    Stonington faced a 30-8 deficit after senior Andrew Bozek hauled in Husereau’s third scoring strike with a great leaping catch in the back of the end zone

    The Bears gradually seized the momentum.

    Trailing 30-14 at halftime, Stonington’s defense fueled a furious comeback.

    Two plays after senior Nathan Mahoney’s interception, quarterback Jayden Carter connected with senior Ethan Mahoney on a 21-yard scoring strike.

    On Westerly’s next possession, Nathan Mahoney recovered a fumble, setting up Stonington on the Bulldog 44.

    That’s when junior Patrick McGugan got involved in the offense. He caught a pass and knocked down defenders on his way to a 28-yard completion. On the last play of the third quarter, he rumbled in from the five. A two-point conversion pass knotted the score at 30-all.

    But Hill and the Bulldogs took charge from there.

    “That fourth quarter, we really turned things around,” Westerly coach Ron Sposato said. “Momentum started to shift back in our favor. Mike came up with that huge interception and then the following series came up with that fumble.

    “When we had to get it done, we did.”

    Carter led the Stonington attack, throwing two touchdowns passes, including a 51-yarder to senior Cole Phelan. He also ran 16 yards for a score.

    “I love our kids and the way they play,” Massengale said. “They play football the right way. We just had some things not go our way today. It’s not a reflection of the type of kids we have and the effort they put forth”


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