After a heartbreaking loss to Branford the week before, Amity rebounded this past weekend to record an impressive win over a Wilbur Cross team that had just one loss entering the contest. The Spartans emerged with a 21-8 victory, one that might end up dashing the Governors’ postseason fortunes.
“It was an excellent win,” second-year Amity coach Ted Czepiga said. “It’s always nice any time you can get a win in the SCC, especially coming off a tough loss the week before against a good Branford team.”
Against Branford, Spartans senior Colin Beaulieu scored on a 62-yard touchdown run to bring Amity to within one with 56 seconds remaining in the game. Czepiga and the Spartans opted to go for the potential game-winning two-point conversion, but Beaulieu was stopped a yard short of the goal line. Branford won 28-27.
“We were playing for the win,” Czepiga said. “We had an opportunity for it and just came up short.”
The win over Wilbur Cross allowed Amity (2-5) to equal its win total from last season. The Spartans returned several players who saw varsity experience last season. That, and Amity’s move from the SCC Division I to the newly formed SCC Division II, had the program confident that the Spartans might finish with a winning record for the first time since 2008. But Amity’s had to weather some injuries and a competitive schedule during the season’s first half which saw the Spartans lose to three Tier I teams, Shelton, Cheshire and West Haven, which are a combined 19-2.
“As a team, we are improved from last year,” Czepiga said. “We battled the injury bug early in the year. We had some seniors that had some season-ending injuries, but had some younger kids step up.”
Amity lost senior quarterback Liam Butler to injury on the fifth play of the season in a 42-6 loss to Shelton on Sept. 9. Czepiga tried several players at quarterback in Butler’s absence, but has since settled on the athletic Beaulieu at that position.
“We’ve been very pleased,” Czepiga said. “We knew we had to get the ball in his hands every play. He’s been the leader of the team.”
Beaulieu (5-foot-8, 170 pounds) officially took over full time at quarterback in a 50-7 loss to West Haven on Oct. 7. Beaulieu had little to no experience at that position during his playing career.
“He’s taking it in stride,” Czepiga said. “He’s really worked with the offensive coaches to prepare and better himself. He’s really done a fantastic job for us.”
The offense has been retooled since Beaulieu took over at quarterback.
“We’ve morphed into kind of a spread team,” Czepiga said. “We were doing some Wing-T stuff at the beginning of the year based on the personnel we had.”
The injuries forced Amity to make other changes with its lineup. Junior Paul Buda moved from defense to center, while junior Luigi Luciani moved from tight end to guard. Despite the injuries, the Spartans still have several talented skill players in their arsenal. Senior Gerald Singleton and Nick Vasil and junior Matt Weidenfeller are used as receivers, while junior Luke Smith contributes at running back.
Junior captain Ryan Sabo (5-10, 185) is a linebacker and one of the team’s top players.
“He’s done a phenomenal job on defense,” Czepiga said.
Senior captain Ryan Bedini (5-10, 200) starts both on the offensive line and at linebacker.
“He’s been fantastic for us on both sides of the ball.”
Amity hosts Hamden on Friday and then has games remaining with Foran (Nov. 11) and North Haven (Nov. 24).
“We hoped we would have a few more wins at this point,” Czepiga said. “But they have continued to play hard. They have done everything that I have asked of them.”