SCC football beat: Xavier hopes to limit mental mistakes against West Haven

Quarterback Joe Carbone and Xavier is riding a three-game win streak into a huge SCC Division I match with 4-1 West Haven. Victory is critical to both squads’ playoff hopes.

Despite a 4-1 record, Xavier coach Sean Marinan hasn’t been entirely pleased with the Falcons’ performance through five games.

Mental mistakes allowed Staples to creep back into the season opener before Xavier held off the Wreckers’ rally in a 30-22 victory. Mental lapses doomed the Falcons in a 42-28 loss to North Haven the following week. Xavier seemed to get back on track with convincing wins over Hamden and Hillhouse, but the mental miscues resurfaced in a 42-28 win over Amity last week.

“We never really got into a rhythm or in sync on offense tonight,” said Marinan following that game. “I’m very frustrated. We played very poorly, particularly up front, and we were making mental mistakes everywhere. It’s kind of like we were at the beginning of the year.”

Marinan hopes the Falcons, the three-time defending Class LL champions, can limit the mental errors when they visit West Haven on Friday.

“I thought we were behind that (the mental mistakes), but we went right back to it against Amity,” Marinan said. “Every year is a new adventure, if you will, but I really can’t put my finger on it. They’re kids, so you never know. But (West Haven) is too good for us to be making dumb mistakes against and expect to win. They will capitalize on it and then we’ll be in a big hole. We definitely have to turn it around and eliminate those mental mistakes.”

West Haven will present several challenges for the Falcons. Senior running back Ervin Philips is one of the state’s best. The Westies also have a mobile quarterback in senior Duane Gary. Junior fullback Marshont Little, senior receiver Anton Graham and junior receiver Zatrell Lyons also contribute to West Haven’s potent offense.

“West Haven is very dangerous when they have a running quarterback who complements a running back,” Marinan said. “You have to worry about bootlegs … it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

Xavier has weapons of its own in senior quarterback Joe Carbone, senior running back Andrew Meoli and senior receiver Nate Gonzalez.

“I told them after Amity that we put up 42 points and imagine what we could do if we eliminate those mistakes,” Marinan said. “We could be pretty good, but we have to get everyone on the same page.”

WEST HAVEN’S MCCARTHY CAN TIE WINS RECORD

West Haven coach Ed McCarthy picked up his 320th career victory in a win against Notre Dame-West Haven last week to move within one victory of tying the state record held by former Ledyard coach Bill Mignault. McCarthy can tie the record of 321 against Xavier.

Marinan, though, says the Falcons are only concerned with West Haven and not McCarthy’s pursuit of history.

“We’re worried about West Haven,” Marinan said. “He’s (McCarthy) has been doing this a long time. When he gets it – and he will get it – it’s well deserving.”

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