MILFORD >> To have a chance to pull the upset against North Haven Friday night, Foran needed to play the perfect game.
For a half, Foran hung in, only trailing North Haven 7-0. And then the Lions were able to stop the Indians on their first possession of the second half.
But then came the turning point; North Haven recovered a muffed punt deep in Lions’ territory. The Indians scored and went on to win 27-0 at the Vito DeVito Complex Friday night.
With the win, North Haven (8-1, 3-0 Southern Connecticut Conference Division II East) clinched the division title for the sixth consecutive season.
“Foran gets excited to play, and obviously there’s some meaning in the game,” North Haven coach Tony Sagnella said. “They were banging us around. We were having a hard time sustaining anything.”
Three of Foran’s four turnovers resulted in North Haven touchdowns.
“That’s the best I’ve seen a defense do against them,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “You can’t give a team like them that many chances. They wear you down and they have so many athletes.”
North Haven quarterback Cole Pecora rushed for a game-high 155 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries for the Indians.
“He has been bailing us out in quite a few scenarios,” Sagnella said about Pecora. “He’s got a knack of running in the open field. He’s patient and has deceptive speed. If we can get a body on a body and get him into space, he is a dangerous runner.”
The kind of game Foran needed to play Friday night to pull the upset — that’s the same kind of perfection the Indians will need next Saturday when they travel to Darien to face the third-ranked Blue Wave.
“I would view Darien as a top Division I team in the SCC,” Sagnella said. “They are going to have players who will be a challenge for us to match up with. They will stretch us across the entire field. We have to play very, very well.”
Foran (4-5, 2-1) held its own against the favored Indians up until the muffed punt by Pat Fitzgerald. But its one first-half turnover resulted in Pecora’s first touchdown of the night, a 39-yard run on his first carry of the game.
The Indians got into Lion territory one other time in the first half, but Foran stuffed Tom Gallagher on fourth down from Foran’s 26. Mike Montano scored six plays after North Haven recovered Fitzgerald’s fumble at the Foran 16. His 5-yard run made it 13-0.
“That changed the ballgame. You can’t do those things against this team,” Bevino said.
North Haven intercepted Foran quarterback Jake Kasuba (14 of 19, 144 yards) on its next two possessions. Conner Suraci got the first one off a tipped ball and Jake Kastenhuber the second on a leaping grab in the end zone.
Pecora scored for the second time after Kastenhuber’s pick, this time on a 56-yard run with 8:16 left in the fourth quarter. Pecora scored his final TD on a 12-yard run with 2:49 left.
“Our defense has done that for us this year,” Sagnella said. “We’ve been able to come up with some turnovers, and fortunately we turn them into points.”
North Haven 27, Foran 0
North Haven 7 0 6 14 — 27
Foran 0 0 0 0 — 0
N—Cole Pecora 39 run (Sabrina Fronte kick)
N—Michael Montano 5 run (kick failed)
N—Cole Pecora 56 run (run good)
N—Cole Pecora 12 run (Fronte kick)
Team records: Foran 4-5; North Haven 8-1