— East Haven AD (@EHavenAthletics) November 22, 2019
EAST HAVEN — East Haven junior Eric Araujo and his teammates understand the task at hand. Winning out and getting some help is the combination for the Yellowjackets to play in the postseason.
Araujo did his part. Running for 135 yards and a touchdown while also setting up another with a long run, he led East Haven to a 21-7 victory over Jonathan Law in a Southern Connecticut Conference Tier 3 contest at Crisafi Field in East Haven Thursday evening.
“When we were down, our coach does not yell at us in the locker room,” Araujo said. “He yells to get us hyped. It is in a good way. He keeps us up. We were able to make some plays.”
Despite being outplayed in the opening half, East Haven went to the intermission tied at 7-7 and turned the contest around early in the second half with a defensive stand. Michael Castellano then scored from 3 yards out with 7 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in the third quarter to give the Yellowjackets a lead they never relinquished.
“This is a great group,” East Haven coach Scott Benoit said after his team moved to 7-2. “Our defense has been outstanding all year. They did a great job. We played hard and we made the plays to come away with the win.”
The game, which was filled with penalties, was put away with 7 minutes remaining as Araujo ran in from seven yards out and Castellano ran in the conversion.
“All three of our backs are very good,” Benoit said. “They all do different things and they can all run.”
The first half, particularly the first quarter was dominated by Jonathan Law, but the two teams went to the half even at seven. Law ran 17 of the game’s first 22 plays, but could not take advantage of two East Haven fumbles and an interception.
Throw in the fact Law saw an 80-yard touchdown run by Rayshon Jacobs on the first play of the game called back by a holding penalty, and Law failed to capitalize on a first half Law thought it had dominated.
“It is being able to finish that extra mile,” Law coach Chris Haley said after his team fell to 2-7. “That has plagued us all year. I am proud of the way we played in the first half, but we could not finish.”
The telling part of the opening half came in the final two minutes of the first half when Law had three attempts to get a first down or touchdown from the East Haven 2-yard line and came away empty.
“That was my call to run those three plays there,” Haley said. “We could not get that yard. We are a young team and we don’t have that mental edge to overcome that adversity just yet.”
After East Haven made the stand on fourth down, Araujo ran 78 yards to the Law 20. Four plays later, Alexander Duarte ran in from three yards out to even the game at seven with 43 ticks remaining in the first half.
“The defense was big there,” Benoit said. “They have come up with big plays all year. That is a tough, skilled team over there. We knew this was going to be a tough game tonight.”
Law, which held a 75-22 yardage advantage in the opening quarter, took a 7-0 lead with 2:30 remaining in the quarter when quarterback Michael Becker capped a five-play 36-yard drive with a 23-yard scoring strike to Zach Merchant.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Eric Araujo: East Haven junior ran for 135 yards and a touchdown in leading the Yellowjackets to the win.
“That is backyard football right there. Whatever Coach asks me to do, I am going to do. This team is always blocking. They did a great job tonight.”
— East Haven’s Eric Araujo on team scoring after being pinned deep in its own territory.
EAST HAVEN 21, LAW 7
LAW 7 0 0 0 — 7
EAST HAVEN0 7 6 8 — 21
L – Michael Becker to Zach Merchant 23 pass (Spencer Hannon kick) 2:30
E – Alexander Duarte 3 run (Eric Araujo kick) 0:43
E – Michael Castellano 3 run (Run failed) 7:05
E – Eric Araujo 7 run (Castellano run) 7:00
Records: L 2-7; EH 2-7
Correction: A previous version of this story reported that Araujo had two touchdowns, he had one. The story has been updated to the corrected number.