ELLINGTON >> There are few sounds that are more pleasing to Izaiah Castro-Vega than the unmistakeable sound of portable lights warming up during the occasional Friday night football games hosted at Ellington High School.
The senior running back certainly put on a show worthy of its primetime slot rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-13 Pequot Conference victory over Morgan.
“Sitting in there, you can hear the lights buzzing and it is a great feeling for a small town to come together like this,” said Castro-Vega, who had scoring runs of 37, 5, 20 and 45 yards.
He also four tackles and a 50-yard punt and his 20-yard scamper on the back end of a hook and lateral shortly before halftime was a highlight reel play as Ellington heads into Thursday’s highly-anticipated Pequot showdown against undefeated Cromwell on a six-game winning streak.
“That running back makes us want to do tackling drills all next week,” Morgan coach Peter Nye said. “He is very talented, very quick, you can’t shoulder tackle him, you can’t wrap him up, he is a good one.”
While Ellington used the running of Castro-Vega and quarterback Robert Ecker (13 carries, 73 yards) to drive into the red zone on its first offensive possession, back to back penalties led to Ecker hooking up with Kyle Griffith on a 14-yard touchdown on fourth down to open the scoring. Ellington was playing without back Wellington Silva, injured in a 28-7 win over Stafford last week.
Morgan (4-3) picked up nearly a third of its first-half yardage total on the opening drive before the Ellington defense began to take the game over. Ryan Weitz and Colby Unterstein led the way with two sacks each while Josh Prouty had six tackles and three pass breakups.
“We controlled the game based off our defense, we held them to seven points until we put our JV in,” Castro-Vega said. “Our plan was to shut down their offense, their high-powered offense. we knew our offense could put in the work when it is needed.”
Special teams also contributed a safety on a blocked punt as Ellington took a 30-0 lead into halftime.
Nye was curious to see how his team which had given up only 30 points in a game this season was going to react being down 30-0 at halftime.
After an interception by Isaac Eriksen ended Ellington’s first drive, Morgan embarked on an eight-play, 85-yard drive capped with quarterback Madden Ward’s 29-yard touchdown run.
“The great thing about football is that it is an opportunity amidst adversity to show who you are,” Nye said. “Our guys were down 30-0 and we said we are never going to give up. I am proud of that as disappointing as I am in the score, this might be one of the best learning moments I could ever give a kid.
“I know it sounds strange but to have the opportunity to be down 30-0 and watch our kids prove to our coaching staff and themselves that they are never going to give up and I think that will serve them well.”
Ward passed for 164 yards including a 31-yard touchdown pass to Zac Johnson and ran for 65. Harry White finished with seven catches for 106 yards. Defensively, Eli Luchuk had seven tackles and Ivan Villanueva finished with six.
Ellington 37, Morgan 13
Morgan 0 0 7 6 — 13
Ellington 14 16 0 7 — 37
E–Kyle Griffith 14 pass from Rob Eckert (Ethan Martins kick)
E–Izaiah Castro-Vega 37 run (Martins kick)
E–Castro-Vega 6 run (Martins kick)
E–Castro-Vega 22 pass from Ecker (Martins kick)
M–Madden Ward 29 run (Tony Coretti kick)
E–Castro-Vega 45 run (Martins kick)
M–Zak Johnson 31 pass from Ward (2p failed)
Team records Ellington 6-1, Morgan 4-3