EAST HAVEN >> Maliek Williamson had only 10 yards rushing at halftime.
That didn’t go over well for Hamden’s senior running back, so he went to his head coach, Todd Dowty, and told him he wanted the ball.
Dowty obliged and Williamson rewarded his faith with 111 yards in the second half. He scored both of Hamden’s touchdowns and the Green Dragons held on to ruin East Haven’s home opener with a 13-7 Southern Connecticut Conference victory Friday night at Frank Crisafi Field.
“I just told Coach to give me the ball and the line put their nose to the dirt and just blocked,” said Williamson, who carried the ball 18 times for 121 yards. “In the first half, they definitely were keying on me and I was just looking for holes. In the second half, I put my head down and ran.”
Hamden also elected to use a power toss running game which fooled East Haven. The Easties hadn’t seen that look on film.
“They were loading the box, so we had to stretch them out,” Dowty said. “And he said he was feeling good and he wanted the ball.”
Williamson wouldn’t have been the hero if it wasn’t for a huge defensive stop by Hamden with 7:31 to play in the game.
East Haven had marched down the field from its own 36-yard line in 12 plays, but quarterback Trevor Angelo’s pass intended for Mike Griffith in the end zone was tipped at the line and Hamden’s Mekhi Henderson picked it off in the end zone.
“We had our quarterback put up a 50-50 ball and their kid came up with it,” East Haven coach Anthony Lucibello said. “The one that really hurt us was when we had a kid wide open down the sideline, but he underthrew him. That would have put us ahead.”
Hamden was able to run out the clock from there, with a big conversion on a 4th-and-2 with 2:08 to go salting the game away.
After neither team was able to finish off a drive early, East Haven decided to go to the air midway through the second quarter to score the first touchdown of the night.
Angelo found Griffith wide open at the Hamden 40 and Griffith raced untouched for a 71-yard score with 6:50 remaining in the half. Austin Thornberg’s extra point made it 7-0.
Hamden took advantage of an Angelo fumble late in the half and Williamson scampered in from a yard out with 1:39 remaining. Angelo DiMonaco’s kick tied it at 7 at the break.
After Angelo was picked off for the second time early in the third quarter by Hamden’s Stanley Arrington at the Green Dragons’ 15-yard line, Williamson finished off a seven-minute drive with an eight-yard sweep. DiMonaco’s kick was blocked, giving the Yellowjackets an opening they weren’t able to take advantage of.
Angelo was 5 of 12 for 115 yards and three interceptions. His counterpart, Fran Bonadies, was 4 of 11 for 46 yards and an interception.
Both teams are now 1-1.
“It’s a big win for us,” said Dowty. “We wanted to run the ball and our defense shut them down when we had to.”
|Hamden 13, East Haven 7||1||2||3||4||F|
E—Mike Griffith 71 pass from Trevor Angelo (Mike Griffith kick)
H—Maliek Williamson 1 run (Angelo DiMonaco kick)
H—Maliek Williamson 8 run (kick blocked)
Team records: East Haven 1-1; Hamden 1-1