SHELTON >> It was a good old fashioned shootout at Finn Stadium between No. 3 West Haven and host No. 8 Shelton in an anticipated SCC Division I showdown Friday.
All game it seemed like whichever team had the ball last would win. That was the case when junior Kyle Godfrey leaped over his offensive line to score on a 1-yard run for the Westies with 8.7 seconds remaining.
West Haven then recovered a fumble on a muffed kickoff return, took one knee and survived with a thrilling 59-52 victory. The win secured the division title for unbeaten West Haven (9-0).
“I knew that all I had to do was get one yard, just one yard,” Godfrey said. “They molded the line, I just jumped up and I got in there.”
The Westies lost to the Gaels both in the regular season and in the Class LL state quarterfinals last season.
— Sean Patrick Bowley (@SPBowley) November 12, 2016
“This was a real statement,” Godfrey said. “Everyone thought we were going to go in and lose, but we had to show them otherwise.”
The Gaels (7-2), who have lost two in a row after winning 29 straight regular-season games, rallied from a two-touchdown deficit late in the fourth quarter. Senior David Wells connected with senior Anthony Schiavo on a 79-yard touchdown pass and then senior Ronnie Rich scored on 1-yard run with 45 seconds left to tie the game at 52 before West Haven’s late heroics.
“I’m proud of our kids, our kids fought,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “They played hard all night. I can’t ask anything more of them, they laid everything on that field.”
West Haven unofficially clinched a state playoff berth with this win. The Westies will host a quarterfinal game against an opponent to be determined. Shelton is likely in with a win over Derby on Thanksgiving. Roy said he hopes to have seniors Jon Sobotka and Santino Durante back from injury against Derby.
“We’ll regroup,” Roy said. “We have Derby and then the states to look forward to. We’ll be ready to go.”
West Haven’s winning touchdown was set up on a 40-yard run by junior Chris Chance, who earlier had caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from senior Tim McCarthy to put the Westies up 38-31 with 11:09 left.
Senior Anthony Godfrey rushed 30 times for 345 yards and four touchdowns for West Haven. He scored on runs of 64, 58, 37 and 55 yards. His first two carries of the game both went for touchdowns.
“Not as close as this, but this was a great game; a great win,” Anthony Godfrey said when asked if he’s ever played in a see-saw game like this before. “We know that if we come out here in our ‘A’ game, no one can stop us. We just proved that again.”
Kyle Godfrey rushed 11 times for 57 yards and three scores, while Chance added 73 yards on 10 carries.
“I thought we would do a better job than that on defense,” Roy admitted. “We have to sure up the defense. They’re an explosive offense, but we can’t give up that many points and yards and expect to win.”
Wells rushed 12 times for 139 yards and three touchdowns for Shelton, which led 28-24 at halftime. Wells also completed 12 of 22 passes for 190 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to senior Joe Zoppi in the second quarter. Zoppi also kicked a 30-yard field goal. Rich rushed 24 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns.
West Haven 59, Shelton 52
West Haven 17 7 7 28 — 59
Shelton 7 21 3 21 — 52
S—David Wells 17 run (Joe Zoppi kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 64 run (Jose Conde kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 58 run (Conde kick)
W—Jose Conde 26 FG
S—David Wells 21 run (Zoppi kick)
S—Ronnie Rich 4 run (Zoppi kick)
W—Kyle Godfrey 1 run (Conde kick)
S—Joe Zoppi 9 pass from David Wells (Zoppi kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 37 run (Conde kick)
S—Joe Zoppi 30 FG
W—Chris Chance 49 pass from Tim McCarthy (Conde kick)
S—David Wells 22 run (Zoppi kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 55 run (Conde kick)
W—Kyle Godfrey 19 run (Conde kick)
S—Anthony Schiavo 79 pass from Wells (Zoppi kick)
S—Ronnie Rich 1 run (Zoppi kick)
W—Kyle Godfrey 1 run (Conde kick)
Team records: Shelton 7-2; West Haven 9-0