Valley Regional / Old Lyme stays unbeaten, tops North Branford

  Valley Regional's David Peck pulls down a second quarter interception as North Branford's Nick Schneidt defends.  (Peter Casolino - New Haven Register)
NORTH BRANFORD >> Maybe it’s time for St. Joseph, Ledyard, Brookfield and the rest of the Class M title contenders to start thinking about the new kids on the block: Valley Regional/Old Lyme.

Senior quarterback Phil Cohen threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns and Valley’s defense had five takeaways as the Warriors remained unbeaten with a 38-13 Pequot Conference victory against North Branford Friday night at Colafati Field.

“I was happy with our passing game tonight,” said Valley Regional/Old Lyme coach Tim King. “Phil did well throwing the ball out there and got it to places where they can catch it without missing stride.”

Valley (5-0) jumped out to a quick 14-0 first-quarter lead on a pair of 3-yard touchdowns from Justin Cheverier and Chris Jean-Pierre.

A 63-yard screen pass from Cohen to Cheverier set up Jean-Pierre’s score.

But North Branford rallied. Junior quarterback Eddie Miller threw a perfect 35-yard touchdown strike to Austin Calamita late in the first quarter. Miller then capped a short drive with a 3-yard TD run early in the second quarter that cut Valley’s lead to 14-13.

The momentum switched back to Valley’s side late in the first half when it took advantage of two North Branford turnovers and a mishandled snap on a punt to score 17 straight points.

“It’s a young team making young mistakes,” said North Branford coach Mark Basil. “I really thought we had the momentum and had some good things going for us and then we shot ourselves in the foot. It just snowballed.”

Cohen hit junior Evan Smith with a 22-yard scoring strike. He also zipped a pass to senior David Peck for an 18-yard touchdown. Cohen then came up with an interception before leading the Warriors on another scoring drive, ending with a 19-yard field goal by Jared Roche as time expired in the first half to push Valley’s lead to 31-13.Cohen also found Peck with a 38-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter.

“My receivers worked really hard,” said Cohen, who completed 21 of 30 passes. “They have a great work ethic and were running their routes really hard. And the linemen blocked excellent today. They don’t get enough credit in the passing game.”

Jean-Pierre had 11 receptions for 108 yards, while Cheverier gained 62 yards on 14 carries.

“I was impressed with Jean-Pierre and Peck,” said Basil. “Their receivers did a nice job.”

Miller completed 10 of 21 passes for 107 yards, while Josh Melaccio gained 88 yards on 12 carries for North Branford (4-2).

“Any time you go into North Branford, you are in for a battle,” said King. “We knew that it was going to be a dogfight and tonight it was a battle of turnovers. Their turnovers really changed the game.”

Valley Regional 38, North Branford 13
(at North Branford)
Valley Regional 14 17 7 0 — 38
North Branford 7 6 0 0 — 13

First quarter
V—Justin Cheverier 3 run (Jared Roche kick)
V—Chris Jean-Pierre 3 run (Roche kick)
N—Austin Calamita 35 pass from Eddie Miller (Shelby Acquah-Franklin kick)
Second quarter
N—Eddie Miller 3 run (Kick no good)
V—Evan Smith 22 pass from Phil Cohen (Roche kick)
V—David Peck 18 pass from Phil Cohen (Roche kick)
V—Jared Roche 19 FG
Third quarter
V—David Peck 38 pass from Phil Cohen (Roche kick)
Team records: North Branford 4-2; Valley Regional 5-0

Comments

  1. Rob (On Connecticuts East Coast) says

    Valley Regional is not “Un-Noticed” as looked at from the “East Coast” in doing a very nice job taking care of business in their conference. The will have the burden, however, after Thanksgiving of proving that being a great Pequot team translates into a Championship Caliber Class M Team. Best of luck the rest of the way, I recall your students and fans traveled very well last year for Basketball.

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