In final game, Cooper leads Hillhouse past Cross in Elm City Bowl

Hillhouse back Harold Cooper runs through a horde of Wilbur Cross defenders in the Elm City Bowl. Hillhouse won 21-19 (photo vmWilliams)

Hillhouse back Harold Cooper runs through a horde of Wilbur Cross defenders in the Elm City Bowl. Hillhouse won 21-19 (photo vmWilliams)

Stevie Swinson runs the ball for Cross in the Elm City Bowl (photo vmWilliams)

Stevie Swinson runs the ball for Cross in the Elm City Bowl (photo vmWilliams)

NEW HAVEN >> Hillhouse didn’t play a true home game all season due to renovations at Bowen Field.
Academics senior running back Harold Cooper said Hillhouse had to make Wilbur Cross its home field for the annual Elm City Bowl on Thanksgiving Day.

Cooper ran for two touchdowns and the Academics captured a 21-19 triumph over the rival Governors.

“We knew this was going to be our home game,” Cooper said. “We were going to make this our house.”

The Academics improved to 5-6 and dropped Wilbur Cross to 3-7 to close the season. Despite the win, a sideline-clearing fight in the third quarter could’ve put a damper on what was an otherwise productive day for the Academics.

“One kid from (Wilbur Cross) pushed one of his own teammates and he thought it was a Hillhouse kid,” Academics coach Reggie Lytle said. “A little tussle starts. It’s an emotional game.”

After a Hillhouse player got pulled out of the scrum and was being punched by a player from Wilbur Cross, the Academics’ sideline cleared. It took the referees several minutes to clear the mess. Unsportsmanlike penalties were handed out to both teams.

Wilbur Cross coach John Acquavita said this is not what New Haven football is about.

“You can tell it was in the moment,” Acquavita said. “After the game they shook hands. I don’t think anyone’s going to carry out onto the field. It’s just football.”

According to Acquavita, the fight hurt the Governors because kicker and safety Wali McKelvey was ejected.
Hillhouse was able to get past the brawl and rebound to jump out in front. Wilbur Cross managed to seize a 13-7 lead after a Jaylin Fuller touchdown run. However, the Governors, without their kicker, missed the extra point. A Hillhouse penalty gave Cross another shot, but a run attempt for a two-point conversion also failed.

The Academics took advantage as Cooper closed a Hillhouse drive with a burst to the left side for the tying touchdown. Cooper nailed the extra point and, after a Cross punt on the ensuing possession, provided the finishing touches with a 69-yard scamper for another touchdown.

Wilbur Cross fought back with a 1-yard TD run from Fuller, but the possible tying two-point conversion failed as quarterback A.J. Consiglio couldn’t find the end zone on a keeper.

For Hillhouse, this was Cooper’s last game in an Academics uniform. Lytle said he will be missed.

“I’ve been like his uncle for years, through Pop Warner,” Lytle said as tears rolled down his face. “It’s time for him to move on. It’s like a kid moving out of your house, I get a little emotional.”

Hillhouse 21, Wilbur Cross 19
(at New Haven)
Hillhouse 7 0 0 14 — 21
Cross 0 7 6 6 — 19
First quarter
H—William Barnes 32 fumb ret (Harold Cooper kick)
Second quarter
W—Elijah Long 21 pass from A.J. Consiglio (Wali McKelvey kick)
Third quarter
W—Jaylin Fuller 3 run (Run fail)
Fourth quarter
H—Harold Cooper 24 run (Cooper kick)
H—Harold Cooper 69 run (Cooper kick)
W—Jaylin Fuller 1 run (run fail)
Team records: Wilbur Cross 3-7; Hillhouse 5-6


  1. Embarassed To Be A HH Academic says

    It was not a player pushing his own teammate, It was Harold Cooper with a late, post-whistle shove. Clear as day and no consequences.

  2. says

    Where is the Consiglio fan now? Consiglio today fumbled twice and threw 1 interception. Also thread the needle? The ball was lofted all day. Next time you bash Skinner look at the whole picture Consiglio fan. I was at the game and I saw a scared QB for Cross. In football you have to take care of the ball in order to win.

    • SCC ..LOL says

      Are you out of your mind? You have to be the biggest fool on the face of the earth Skinner fan or whoever you are. I guess you didnt see the cheshire game? Not that I know either kid but the last game I saw that Skinner kid play, he couldn’t hit the side of a barn with the football. It was embarrassing for him that they kept him there as long as they did, moron. Why do you think he ended up as a receiver? I guess his coach finally relented when he was booed from his own players parents. As far as yesterday you idiot.. That field was so muddy everyone fumbled.. His passes were again dead on and when was he scared? When he threw himself into the end zone and stretched trying for the score at the end or when his receiver stepped on the one yd line costing him another TD? Hillhouses qb didn’t attempt one pass…not one. If cooper got called for the fight, it would have been a different outcome. He should have exploded yesterday and no one was impressed. Fact of the matter is idiot, Skinner relative or maybe your just jealous cause you don’t or never had the balls to get on that field. This season was a disaster but you can’t question Consiglio’s stats and play vs Skinner. There is no comparison.. It’s ridiculous. BTW did you see last years score when Skinner was the Qb of that game? He was massacred. The year before when Consiglio was a FRESHMAN in the 3rd quarter and threw for 2 touchdowns? The only scores in that game for Cross. I remember that, do you?? I hope that kid gets his justice that game he played yesterday was awesome.. Where was your boy? I hope that kid leaves that team between the coaching and ignorant idiots like you, there’s no chance for any of those players.

      • christina says

        Skinner didnt play the cheshire game & he’s a wide receiver now due to his SECOND concussion! this is not just a Skinner fan…im his mother

      • Christina says

        Skinner didnt play the Cheshire game (as the QB) due to a concusssion. He was moved to a wide receiver for his safety. So before you start talking about Skinner and his stats, make sure you know the facts. And im not just a Skinner fan im his mother.

        • says

          Thank you for clarifying that up Mrs. Skinner. I tried to tell the Consiglio fan that weeks ago and he said your son was benched due to Consiglio was better. I told him he was out due to a concussion and he would not believe that. In the end Consiglio is not the answer at Cross and his arm cannot compete in the SCC. His relative is throwing out false statements and it’s sad. Thread the needle?
          Consiglio fan also said Skinner couldn’t hit the side of barn? Do grown men really say that? Consiglio fan just got a dose of reality from me so good luck and have a nice holiday!
          Consiglio is from East Haven. I am not sure he could qb there.

          • Christina says

            Thank you SCC. I dont like to respond to the critics because its all talk. People are entitled to their opinion, but if you dont know all the facts, some things should be left unsaid. And you are correct. Consiglio threw 1 touchdown in that 2011 game. There were a lot of spectators in the stands hoping for Donte (Skinner) to take over that game yesterday. Thats exactly why the coaches had Consiglio doing running plays. he fumbled twice (one time in the red zone) and he threw an interception. My son is a good QB and played it well. Unfortunately, he suffered a concussion again and he had to be moved to another position. Hopefully in college he can redeem himself and the Consiglio fan will be watching with egg on his face. In the future, he’ll be wearing my sons NFL jersey. Thanks and happy holidays to you as well.

      • says

        First of all I am not a Skinner relative. I am saying you bashed Skinner when you should be bashing Consiglio also. Your stats are also way off. Consiglio as a freshman threw 1 TD in the 4th quarter when the JV’s were in and Hillhouse won the game like 42-12 in the 2011 Elm City Bowl. Cooper on that day had 5 TD’s and was MVP as he was in 2012 and 2013. I have been to every elm city bowl since 1998 and I work in New Haven and at Cross. Cross has beaten Hillhouse twice since 2001 in 2004 & 2009. Yesterday Cross did not throw one pass downfield because Consiglio has a weak arm and the coaches at Cross do not have confidence in him to do so. Also Hillhouse didn’t throw 1 pass because they didn’t have too. Hillhouse ran the ball and obviously it was effective in the second half because Hillhouse won the game 21-19. Cooper on a sloppy field ran 19 times for 135 yards and his 69 yarder wasn’t even close as Cross couldn’t come within 10 yards of Cooper on that play. Consiglio yesterday fumbled on 4th and goal from the 9. How is that the O line or Skinner;s fault? Booed off the field? People around me yesterday that came back for the holiday were saying why is Cross playing there JV Qb because he can’t throw the ball with any velocity. Also not impressed? Cooper vs. Cross in 4 games is 4-0 and has over 700 yards and 13 TD’s vs. Cross in his career. Yeah not impressed I am sure. Also to blame the field for 2 fumbles and 1 INT for Consiglio? It’s called football. Make adjustments and be tough. Also on the last play for the two point conversion Consiglio tried to throw the ball at the 5 yard line when the line of scrimmage was the 8 yard line. Once you cross the line of scrimmage you can’t throw the ball. If you know him as it sounds like you do please let him know that.
        Reality hurts I know sir!

  3. says

    The fight didn’t cost Cross the game Mr. HH Cross had 5 turnovers and they were penalized for lining up wrong going for two points and to tie the game. Also Cross fumbled twice inside the 10 yard line. Football is a game of emotion. Crying afterwards doesn’t help. Cross gets dominated in this series. Look at the games over the years.

  4. Come on... says

    Please!! 19-17 is hardly dominating. With a “superstar” like Cooper.. It should have been 50 to 19. Everyone fumbled, fell, slipped..the field was a mess. It was a great game. I do agree that going for two points after the first score was ridiculous on Cross’. To eject just one kid for that disaster yesterday was ridiculous. That might have played some part some part in the outcome.

  5. wideout4 says

    new haven is a city where the talent gets split up between the many high schools as a alum of WC the sport of football differs between House a School with a high black population and in recent sucess of the program in that division 2 and class m level of comp there became a flux of football players to go there as where in years past they may headed to hyde or neighboring towns? And theres
    Cross a very diverse student body in which alot of football players get there first taste of the sport playing on the team along with that div 1 scc schedule and class l ranking it seems cross has to short end of the stick while using said stick to fight off the biggest wolves out of the pack? one day we will get over the obsticales though

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