EAST HAVEN — After suffering through a rare 3-7 season a year ago, Cheshire’s bounceback season continues.
The Rams captured their fifth consecutive win with a dominating 48-14 victory over East Haven Friday night at Crisafi Field in a Southern Connecticut Conference inter-tier contest.
“We weren’t that far off last year,” Cheshire coach Don Drust said. “We learned a lot from the challenges we had last year. There was no hiding. We played four undefeated teams and seven or eight playoff teams last year.”
The Rams are now 6-1 and have a chance to return to the CIAC Class LL playoffs next month.
“Without a doubt, we have a great senior class,” said Cheshire running back Jake McAlinden, who accounted for three touchdowns. “And we have a great junior class this year. We were excited coming into this season and we’re coming.”
— Dave Phillips (@davephillips41) November 2, 2019
Nothing went right for East Haven (5-2) from the very start as the Yellowjackets made plenty of mistakes. There were blocked passes, a bad snap to the quarterback, a snap over the head of the punter and fumbles — all in the first half.
“They’re an excellent team and sometimes you run up against a team that’s physically better than you,” East Haven coach Scott Benoit said. “That’s what happened tonight. You take games like this as a measuring stick. We have a long way to go and we have to find a way to get to that level.”
Drust was happy with the way Cheshire forced East Haven into mistakes.
“That’s a good football team,” Drust said. “We did a good job in practice this week in understanding the challenges they present running the option. When you work hard in practice and are focused, you win football games.”
The Rams raced to a quick 27-0 lead on touchdown runs by McAlinden and lineman Sean Cangiano, while Jason Shumilla (6-for-12 passing for 104 yards) threw a pair of touchdown passes to Nick DiDomizio for 69 and 15 yards.
McAlinden added a 1-yard run in the latter part of the second quarter to make it 34-0.
The Yellowjackets finally got on the board with 10 seconds remaining in the half on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Trey Garea (12-for-28 passing for 69 yards) to Jake Marquardt, who barely stayed in bounds to make the catch.
McAlinden scored his third touchdown when he took the opening kickoff of the second half on his own 20-yard line and raced right up the middle of the field to make it 41-6 just 14 seconds into the third quarter.
After Cheshire backup quarterback Colby Griffin scored to make it 48-6, East Haven closed out the scoring on the final play from scrimmage on a Michael Castellano three-yard run.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Cheshire running back Jake McAlinden scored three touchdowns, including two rushing and added an 80-yard kickoff return to open the second half.
“We have to worry about getting healthy during the bye week and coming out of it, we have a big challenge in Sheehan. We’ll just start focusing on the next one.” — Cheshire coach Don Drust said on his team’s chances of returning to the state playoffs.
CHESHIRE 48, EAST HAVEN 14
CHESHIRE 14 20 14 0 — 48
EAST HAVEN 0 6 0 8 — 14
[CH] Jake McAlinden: 15-yard run (Jotham Casey kick) at 7:23, 1st QTR
[CH] Sean Cangiano: 3-yard run (Jotham Casey kick) at 1:00, 1st QTR
[CH] Nick DiDomizio: 6-yard pass from Jason Shumilla at 10:05, 2nd QTR
[CH] Nick DiDomizio: 15-yard pass from Jason Shumilla (Jotham Casey kick) at 5:53, 2nd QTR
[CH] Jake McAlinden: 1-yard run (Jotham Casey kick) at 3:38, 2nd QTR
[EH] Jake Marquardt: 7-yard pass from Trey Garea at 0:10, 2nd QTR
[CH] Jake McAlinden: 80-yard kickoff return (Jotham Casey kick) at 11:46, 3rd QTR
[CH] Colby Griffin: 2-yard run (Jotham Casey kick) at 3:33, 3rd QTR
[EH] Michael Castellano: 3-yard run (Michael Castellano run) at 0:19, 4th QTR