NEW HAVEN >> It was a moment that many involved with New Haven athletics, particularly Hillhouse, thought they would never see. But finally, after nearly four years of stops and starts, delays and frustrations, Friday night football came to Bowen Field for the first time in its storied, but checkered history.
On a steamy night that featured almost as many stoppages for penalties and players cramping as points, Hillhouse eventually wore down Southern Connecticut Conference newcomer Creed (formerly Hyde), 35-0 before a near capacity crowd.
“What more could you ask for?,” Hillhouse senior Matt Brehon said. “It’s a Friday night game under the lights. The fans are all here to support us. We wanted to show them why they chose to support us. We think we can get something going here that can go all the way to December.”
Among the dignitaries to speak in a pregame ceremony which concluded with Creed’s Jhavion Haddock and Hillhouse’s J.T. Gardner cutting the ribbon on the “new” Bowen Field was New Haven Superintendent Grant Harries. Hillhouse will play all of its home games at Bowen Field, with Wilbur Cross and Creed (which is a co-op with New Haven school Career and Whitney Tech) playing there on occasion as well.
The Howling Wolves, who moved from the Pequot to the SCC in the offseason, actually got off to a solid start, holding the Acs on the first drive. Even after Shawn Ogarro put Hillhouse up 8-0 midway through the first quarter with a 17-yard run, Creed embarked on a couple of long drives only to see penalties and mistakes end its threats.
With 3:42 left in the half, Hillhouse’s speed finally made an appearance with Brehon breaking a 71-yard touchdown run that gave the Acs a 14-0 lead at the intermission. In the second half, the Howling Wolves fell victim to the battle of attrition, with injuries and cramping slowing the game to a crawl and leaving coach Brandon McCormack searching for able bodies.
“The three things I told our team is we can’t take penalties, we can’t turn the ball over, and we have to tackle,” McCormack said. “Hillhouse is a very good team, but if we do those three things, it might be a different game. We had to put a lot of freshmen and sophomores in because of injuries, and that’s part of our program with the size we are and they know that. If we could fix those things, we’ll be in good shape going forward.”
David Harris (12 carries, 144 yards) scored twice in the second half, while Brehon (8 carries, 149 yards) added a second as the fourth quarter was played mostly with running time. Jhavion Haddock ran for 79 yards on 15 carries and nearly ran a kickoff back for a touchdown (penalty) for the Howling Wolves before he had to leave with an injury in the third quarter.
“Playing Hyde (Creed) was like an early Thanksgiving game here with two New Haven schools,” Hillhouse coach Reggie Lytle said. “It was a beautiful night for New Haven. An historic night. And it was nice to post a shutout like we did.”
Hillhouse 35, Creed 0
(at New Haven)
Creed 0 0 0 0 — 0
Hillhouse 8 6 14 7 — 35
H—Shawn Ogarro 17 run (Corey Pollard run)
H—Matt Brehon 71 run (pass failed)
H—David Harris 1 run (Byron Breland kick)
H—Matt Brehon 20 run (Breland kick)
H—David Harris 31 run (Breland kick)
Team records: Hillhouse 1-0; Creed 0-1