WOODBRIDGE >> North Haven was well aware it needed quite a bit of help from others around the state on Thursday if it wanted to clinch a spot in the Class L playoffs.
So the Indians centered their attention on the one thing they could control — themselves — because none of it would matter if they couldn’t take care of business against Amity.
The game itself was relatively stress-free. North Haven scored touchdowns on its first three possessions and rolled to a 41-14 victory over Amity at Bill Johnson Field. It was the moments after the game that may have been most tense as the Indians waited on results of other games crucial to their own cause.
Things worked out just fine. North Haven (9-2) clinched the seventh seed in Class L and will play at No. 2 Platt (11-0) on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.
“From the moment the season ended last year, we had a lot of juniors returning, they put high expectations on themselves,” North Haven coach Anthony Sagnella said. “They’ve been working at it the past 12 months. Whatever happens, happens. They’ve never disappointed me. They love practice; they love each other; they love the game; they work their tails off.”
Ethan Suraci led a balanced North Haven ground attack with 111 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. Mike Halloran had 100 yards rushing on 20 carries, Mike Montano ran for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries while Cole Pecora had a 21-yard touchdown run.
After holding Amity (5-6) on the game’s opening drive, North Haven marched off three straight touchdowns.
Pecora, on 4th-and-7, broke the ice to make it 6-0. Given another short field on the next possession, the Indians marched 38 yards for another score, capped by Montano’s 8-yard run. Their third possession was an eight-play, 78-yard drive that included Halloran’s only completion of the day, a 20-yard strike to Patrick Mikos, just before Montano rolled in from 18 yards out for his second score and a 20-0 lead.
“We knew Amity was a good team, but the seniors knew we couldn’t go out with a loss,” said senior tri-captain Austin Mahon. “If this was going to be our last game, it was going to be fun.”
Amity celebrated the 35th anniversary of its 1978 Class LL state championship, honoring members of that team. It could only play potential spoiler to North Haven on Thursday, and managed to get itself back in the game just before halftime.
Quarterback David Ryan, whose father, David, played on the ’78 title team, scored from 1 yard out on a keeper with 1:56 left to bring the Spartans within 20-7. Spencer Thomas had the big play of the drive, a 23-yard run, to put Amity in position.
But North Haven put the game away in the third quarter. Ryan, who completed 18 of 31 passes for 137 yards, threw an interception on Amity’s first drive of the second half. North Haven turned it into another touchdown, Suraci bowling in from 5 yards out, to extend the lead to 28-7.
Suraci added a 10-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Tom Gallagher’s 6-yard touchdown made it 41-7 with 6:43 left in the game.
“This is a group of guys where the team is the star, not the individual,” Sagnella said. “They’ve been like this all year. The pressure is they all have to play well for us to be successful. Today they did.”
North Haven 41, Amity 14
North Haven 12 8 8 13 — 41
Amity 0 7 0 7 — 14
NH-Cole Pecora 21 run (kick failed)
NH-Mike Montano 8 run (run failed)
NH-Montano 18 run (Suraci pass from Mike Halloran)
A-David Ryan 1 run (Lyle Luth kick)
NH-Suraci 5 run (Pecora run)
NH-Suraci 10 run (kick failed)
NH-Tom Gallagher 6 run (Sabrina Fronte kick)
A-Joseph Choiniere 8 pass from Ryan (Luth kick)
Records: North Haven 9-2; Amity 5-6