NEW HAVEN — Facing Hamden in a rare Thursday evening contest, the Wilbur Cross Governors may not have liked the way the contest started. They sure loved the way it ended.
Behind the running of Jasiah Barnes, who became the school’s all-time leading rusher, and 25 unanswered points, Cross topped Hamden 25-7 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Tier II contest at Bowen Field in New Haven Thursday evening.
Barnes ran for 163 yards, and now has 3,252 all-time rush yards at Cross, which eclipses former record-holder James Ward’s mark of 3,128 from 2008-10.
“It feels good,” Barnes said of being the school’s rushing leader. “I never thought this when I came in as a freshman.”
Jasiah Barnes goes yard for his fourth TD of the game, puts Cross up 25-7 on Hamden late in the 3rd Q. He looks happy. And with Cross clamping down on defense, I think we’re done here #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/HJGlfFk3Au
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) October 19, 2018
The contest started with a fast and furious pace as the two teams combined for three touchdowns in the game’s first 2 minutes, 34 seconds. Hamden scored first, but the Governors never blinked.
Cross allowed just 23 yards combined in the second and third quarters, and continued with a dominant effort in the final quarter, allowing minus-12 yards. Cross outgained Hamden 306-121.
“We thought the game was going to go wire to wire,” Cross coach John Acquavita said. “I thought it was going to be high-scoring. But, we made the plays defensively and were able to shut them down.”
Game (somehow) evolved into a defensive struggle, but just before the half Jasiah Barnes takes a pass from Leshaun Hicks for a 18-7 Cross lead over Hamden at the half (Barnes has scored all 3 Cross TDs) #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/9XgsdfuGdx
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) October 19, 2018
With the way the game started, offense was expected the rest of the way. While the tempo slowed in the opening 24 minutes, the Governors led 18-7 at the intermission.
The Green Dragons (2-4, 1-3) needed just 16 seconds to take their only lead of the evening as Christopher Pigatt took the opening handoff and raced 65 yards for the score and a 7-0 Hamden lead.
“We thought they were going to take us to the outside to start and they did,” Acquavita said. “We missed by a shoe lace. I thought we were pretty confident with the way we were playing.”
With Hamden still celebrating, Barnes got the New Haven faithful going.
Barnes opened with a 38-yard run, then followed with a 35-yard scoring run as he was untouched down the sideline. The Governors failed on the conversion and still trailed 7-6.
“I thought that was really good for us to start on offense like that,” Barnes said. “We had been struggling the last few weeks. It felt good to get going.”
The touchdown run by Barnes was the start of 18 unanswered points by the Governors in the opening half. Cross (3-3, 2-1), which gained 217 yards of offense in the first 24 minutes, took a 12-7 lead on just its third play from scrimmage when Barnes took advantage of a short field by racing in from 24 yards out.
What’s up? Looking live at Bowen Field. Looks like I’ve missed the early fireworks. Got here with Hamden up 7-6 Cross, in time to see Josiah Barnes score his 2nd TD on 3rd carry. 12-6 Cross now #cthsfb pic.twitter.com/MmT7mJ8xCw
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) October 18, 2018
The two teams then settled down defensively, as each team made a stand to prevent touchdowns. The Governors, who held Hamden to just 15 yards of offense in the second quarter, took an 18-7 lead with 16 seconds left in the half.
Needing to march just 36 yards after a short Hamden punt, the Governors converted on fourth down, then went to the air as Hicks hit Barnes for a 9-yard scoring strike.
For all the good Cross did offensively, its only blemish on the scoreboard came on the conversions as the Governors were denied on all three attempts.
Cross increased its lead to 25-7 with 5:07 to go in the third quarter. Barnes again was the center of attention as he raced in from 40 yards out.
“We just did not execute tonight,” Hamden coach Tom Dyer said. “We have to go back to basics. That starts with the way we practice. We have some guys out that we hope to get back for next week, but we have to execute a lot better.”
Player of the Game
Jasiah Barnes — The Cross senior ran for 163 yards and three scores, and also added a touchdown reception.
“He (Barnes) is a special running back. He runs hard. We have not blocked for him the last couple of weeks. He is hard to defend. He came out running tonight.”
— Cross coach John Acquavita
Wilbur Cross 25, Hamden 7
H–Christopher Pigatt 65 run (Darius Mills kick)
WC–Jasiah Barnes 65 run (run failed)
WC–Jasiah Barnes 24 run (run failed)
WC–Jasiah Barnes 9 pass from Leshaun Hicks (run failed)
WC: Jasiah Barnes 40 run (Jabez Cubiz kick)
Hamden (2-4, 2-4); Wilbur Cross (3-3, 3-3)
Editor’s Note: The story has been updated from its original version to account for the total yards Barnes now has as the school’s record holder and also notes the previous record.