NEW HAVEN — Wilbur Cross running backs Stevie Swinson and Jaylin Fuller were well aware they would be called upon to carry the team Friday afternoon against Hamden.
Combining to run for 305 yards and four touchdowns, the duo helped lead the Governors to a 33-7 win over Hamden at Wilbur Cross Athletic Complex in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I interdivision contest.
Cross gained 432 yards, 328 of which came on the ground, as the Governors improved to 3-2. The Green Dragons were held to just 153 total yards and fell to 3-2.
“Our offensive line is the heart and soul of the team right now,” Cross coach John Acquavita said. “We went into the game putting it on their shoulders.
“Hamden has been having great opportunities taking advantage of turnovers. We thought if we could run the ball, protect the football and play good defense, we had a chance to win.”
Fuller ran for 118 yards and three touchdowns, while Swinson finished the game running for 187 yards and one touchdown.
“This is a very big win for us,” Fuller said. “We are going against all the ranked teams the next few games. We are going to rely on them (offensive line).We know we could not do it without the line.”
Fuller iced the game with a pair of second-half touchdowns to give Cross a 33-7 lead, 1 minute, 34 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Following a 60-yard run by Swinson, Fuller raced the final 23 yards for a score and a 26-7 Cross lead 4:03 into the second half.
The Governors stifled the Green Dragons’ offense and again held to set up Fuller’s third score. Fuller capped a 52-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown and a 33-7 lead.
“They dominated the line of scrimmage,” Hamden coach Todd Dowty said. “They took control of the game from the get go. It comes down to execution and they did better than we did.”
The Governors took control of the game early, scoring the first 12 points and leading 20-7 at the half. The score was not indicative of how dominant Wilbur Cross was in the first half, holding a 265-81 yard advantage and a 33-15 advantage in plays.
The Green Dragons struggled to get anything going in the first 24 minutes as 56 of those yards came on a touchdown run by Maliek Williamson with 9 seconds gone by in the second quarter to cut the lead to 12-7.
The rest of the half was all Wilbur Cross.
The Governors held a 126 to minus-3 yard advantage in the opening quarter and scored on drives of 71 yards and 50 yards to start the game.
Swinson did most of the damage in the opening drive for the Governors, running 6 times for 77 yards following a Cross penalty. The senior capped the opening drive with an alert run, racing 43 yards for a score, the final 37 after keeping his balance and not letting his knee hit the ground with 8:03 to go in the opening quarter.
“They blocked for us every play and that is all you can ask for,” Swinson said of the offensive line. “We believe in them. We know us (Fuller) together will take care of business. They were big today.”
Cross held Hamden on three plays on its possession of the game and went 50 yards in 11 plays to take a 12-0 lead as both conversions failed. Fuller did the damage on the second scoring drive, running five times for 31 yards and capping the drive with a 15-yard scamper.
After both teams exchanged fumbles following Williamson’s score, Cross took a 20-7 lead with 8:33 remaining in the first half. The Governors needed just three plays to get 86 yards as A.J. Consiglio’s first pass attempt of the game found Elijah Long in stride for an 80-yard score. The pair hooked up on the conversion for a 20-7 lead.
Consiglio finished the game connecting on 5 of 6 passes for 104 yards.
“We will regroup and prepare for next week,” Dowty said. “We will learn from this and move forward.”
Williamson led Hamden with 108 yards on 15 carries. Francis Bonadies threw for 44 yards playing the fourth quarter for the Green Dragons.