Class LL: West Haven runs past Hall, into Prep rematch

WEST HARTFORD >> With possibly 24 minutes left in their high school careers, Ervin Philips and Duane Gary were not going to let the season end.

Trailing by one point after a flat first half, Philips and Gary ignited the Westies to the tune of 30 third-quarter points, leading sixth-seeded West Haven to a 51-26 victory over No. 3 Hall in the quarterfinals of the Class LL state tournament Tuesday night.

With the win, West Haven gets a chance to avenge a Thanksgiving Day loss to Fairfield Prep when the two teams meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. at Trumbull High.

“We just came out flat in the first half,” Philips said after rushing for 144 yards and four touchdowns. “We should have been doing that all along. We knew we could come back.”

Trailing 14-13 to start the third, West Haven wasted no time taking the lead for good, scoring three times in 3 minutes, 22 seconds. Philips capped an eight-play, 55-yard drive on West Haven’s first possession with a 3-yard score for a 19-14 lead just 3:16 in.

After forcing Hall to punt, West Haven used a 41-yard run by Anton Graham to set up Philips with a 9-yard score just 1:12 later for a 27-14 lead after Philips hit Gary on the conversion.

“We have some playmakers,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. “It was just a matter of making the plays.”
The Warriors (9-2) never backed down and were in position to make it a one-score game again when quarterback Tom Honyotski quickly moved Hall to the West Haven 3-yard line. Javone Bellamy fumbled and Gary made the recovery, his second of the game, in the end zone for a touchback.

On the next play, Gary hit Zatrell Lyons in stride for an 80-yard touchdown and a 35-14 lead after Philips ran in the conversion with 5:22 left in the third.

“We did not want the season to end,” Gary said after throwing for 122 yards. “The coaches asked us if the bus ride home was going to be a long one or a happy one. We wanted to keep playing. We came out a different team in the third quarter.”

Gary capped the 30-0 run with an 8-yard score for a 43-14 lead with 8.6 seconds to go in the quarter.
“Honestly, I thought we came out flat to start the game,” McCarthy said after his team improved to 10-2. “We are a tired team. We are not the same team we were two weeks ago.

“I just think the kids did not want to go home. They did not want the season to end. Other than the 96-yard fumble recovery in the first half, we did not do much.”

The Warriors showed early they didnt’ plan on being an easy opponent when Honyotski threw for 70 yards on Hall’s second drive and hit Octovio Thomas with a 30-yard scoring strike with 3:59 left in the opening quarter. West Haven evened the game on its next possession when Philips scored from 4 yards out just 1:02 into the second.

“This is great for our program,” Philips said. “We have not won a playoff game in a long time.”
Honyotski looked as if he was going to put Hall on top during the Warriors’ next possession, but Hall fumbled and Gary scooped up the loose ball and raced 96 yards for the score and a 13-7 lead with 9:27 left in the half.

“I am just trying to be a leader out there,” Gary said. “I am just trying to pick up my team. I was always taught to play hard until the whistle blows. That’s what I did.”

Honyotski, who finished with 407 yards passing and three touchdowns but was victimized by numerous drops, put Hall on top with 2:54 left in the half when he connected with Robert Parra on an 11-yard score for a 14-13 lead.

“It’s not often you can say their guy threw for 400 yards and you won,” McCarthy said. “They have good team speed and all their receivers are good. They have a good scheme. You are not going to win too many games giving up 400 yards.”

West Haven 51, Hall 26
(at West Hartford)
West Haven 0 13 30 8 — 51
Hall 7 7 0 12 — 26

First quarter
H—Octovio Thomas 30 pass from Tom Honyotski (Honyotski kick)
Second quarter
W—Ervin Philips 4 run (Tayvon Gibbs kick)
W—Duane Gary 96 fumb ret (kick failed)
H—Rob Parra 11 pass from Tom Honyotski (Honyotski kick)
Third quarter
W—Ervin Philips 3 run (pass failed)
W—Ervin Philips 9 run (Gary pass from Philips)
W—Zatrell Lyons 80 pass from Duane Gary (Philips run)
W—Duane Gary 8 run (Lyons pass from Gary)
Fourth quarter
H—fumb recovery in endzone (kick failed)
W—Ervin Philips 14 run (Anton Graham rush)
H—Rob Parra 16 pass from Tom Honyotski (pass failed)
Team records: Hall 9-2; West Haven 10-2
Woodland 47, Morgan 21


    • David says

      I wish West Haven the best. They made few mistakes and that wins.
      West Haven couldnt stop Hall QB Honyotski who had there not been 12 drops and 6 fumbles ……. might have had 550 yards and a W, best in CT

  1. Tony D says

    I thought Hall moved the ball at will against the Westies. Hall fumbles and drops more than 12 in combination destroyed any hope of winning. Number 1 and 2 are special players with another gear. Wish West Haven the best but unless they had an off night they better tighten up on defense if they play Southington.

  2. Hall Fan says

    Hall had 515 yards of offense (I believe over 400 in the air) but way too many turnovers and mistakes throughout the course of the game. Probably should have been 21-0 Hall at the half if not for a dropped int (two plays later WH scored) and a fumble that was returned for a TD 97 yards. Final score is a bit misleading. Hall outgained WH but about 100 yards, but the scoreboard is the only thing that counts. West Haven made adjustments and proved to be the better team on this night. Philips was legit and Hall could not stop him in the second half of the game. I saw a picture of the “fumble” / TD by the endzone and the refs did blow the call but not sure if it would have made the difference over the course of the game. Great season by Hall and I agree with Tony D that the D better tighten up if they plan to win a state title. Good luck to the Westies.

  3. Nate says

    I’m from New Haven which doesn’t automatically make me a fan of West Haven, but I took the nice ride to West Hartford for the game. I was impressed with Hall’s passing attack. The quarterback has a beatiful touch and his go to reciever (number 3) is definitely Mr. Clutch, a speedy Wes Welker type of player.
    As for the rest of the team (and no disrespect intended) they killed themselves with turnovers. I don’t know what was up with them, it seemed that when the got hit, they coughed the ball up.
    Maybe they weren’t use to those type of hits. After all West Haven does come out of the best and toughest conference, the SCC.

  4. SCC is the SEC says

    Hall needs to win a playoff game once in their lifetime before coming here to talk smack. Nice season and congrats, but please win a playoff game.

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