MILFORD >> It took about 2½ quarters for North Haven’s running game to wear down the Foran defense.
And when it happened, the Indians couldn’t be stopped.
North Haven rushed for 358 yards en route to a 38-21 Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision victory Friday night at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.
“They’re a good football team they get the most of their kids. We’ve been battling the same division for years so we knew it would be a battle,” North Haven coach Tony Sagnella said.
North Haven led, 14-7, at the half, but the Indians needed just 1:04 to start their parade of rushing touchdowns in the second half. Mark Montano scampered in from 38 yards to make it 21-7 and pushed him past the 100-yard mark for the night. He finished with 123 yards rushing.
“We came out a little flat offensively,” Montano said. “We didn’t have a great spread game, but in the second half the defense stopped them. We got a couple turnovers and put points on the board.”
The Lions (1-2) closed it to 21-14 on a 16-yard run by quarterback Lance DiNatale (29-for-43 passing for 362 yards, 3 interceptions and 29 yards rushing). But from there, the Foran offense was stifled somewhat by the Indians, who made some adjustments to the Lions’ passing game.
“They took a linebacker out of the box and put another safety in,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “That made us complete the underneath stuff.”
Meanwhile, North Haven pushed its lead to double digits when Thomas Dodge (150 yards rushing and 58 yards passing) hit Kyle Melillo for a 13-yard TD pass with just 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter to make it 28-14.
After a turnover on the first play of the fourth quarter, Max Sullivan (69 yards rushing) made it 35-14 with a 19-yard touchdown run.
North Haven kicker Colin Finkle added a 32-yard field goal to close out the North Haven scoring for the night.
“When you get down three scores to a team, they control the ball on the ground,” Bevino said. “They’re just good.”
DiNatale added a 5-yard touchdown run in the closing minute.
Early on, it didn’t take very long for Foran to get on the scoreboard in the opening quarter.
On the second play from scrimmage, DiNatale found Doug McLenithan open over the middle at midfield McLenithan darted to the end zone without being touched from there. Along with Zach Cleary’s extra point, it was 7-0 with just 57 seconds gone in the game.
After the teams exchanged possessions, North Haven needed just three plays to tie it at 7-7. Montano scooted untouched up the middle with 6:18 to go in the first quarter to deadlock things.
A Dodge pass to Montano for 26 yards in the right flat with 8:23 before intermission put North Haven ahead 14-7.
In the first half alone, DiNatale was 19-for-26 with 238 yards passing.
“The biggest thing killing us in first half is he was breaking out of contain on the sprint out and he becomes a run/pass thrower,” Sagnella said. “We tightened up on the some of the routes and that helped out.”
North Haven 38, Foran 21
North Haven 7 7 14 10 — 38
Foran 7 0 7 7 — 21
F—Doug McLenithan 66 pass from Lance DiNatale (Zach Cleary kick)
N—Mark Montano 34 run (Colin Finkle kick)
N—Mark Montano 26 pass from Tom Dodge (Colin Finkle kick)
N—Mark Montano 38 run (Colin Finkle kick)
F—Lance DiNatale 16 run (Zach Cleary kick)
N—Kyle Melillo 13 pass from Tom Dodge (Colin Finkle kick)
N—Max Sullivan 19 run (Colin Finkle kick)
N—Colin Finkle 32 FG
F—Lance DiNatale 5 run (Zach Cleary kick)
Team records: Foran 1-2; North Haven 2-1
Comments: North Haven rushed for 358 yard. Lance DiNatale of Foran 29-of-43 Passing for 362 yards.