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NEW HAVEN – Sal Barnabei and his Wilbur Cross teammates understand the task ahead.
With two losses already in the regular season, the Governors will likely have to win the remainder of their games to play in the postseason.
Barnabei made sure the first step was nothing to worry about. Behind four first half touchdown passes from Barnabei, and a defense which never let East Haven get on track, the Governors defeated East Haven 51-0 in a Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision contest at Bowen Field in New Haven Thursday evening.
“This was a big game for us,” Barnabei said. “We are coming off a tough loss to Cheshire. We needed this one. We were able to move the ball all over the field. We did a great job of that.”
Barnabei was sharp from the start as he threw for 267 yards in the opening half on 15-of-19 passing. The senior quarterback was not the only one who was in fine form as Kwane Taylor and Noah Washington each caught a pair of touchdown passes.
If the triple threat of the Governors in the air was not enough for East Haven to be concerned with, Jaykeen Foreman recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a score, and Jasiah Barnes ran 48 yards for another as the Governors had a 39-point lead at the half.
“He looked good from the start,” Cross coach John Acquavita said of Barnabei. “The goal for us today was to come out with the win and to come out healthy. We wanted to take care of business. Our goal was to come in, take control and play like the better team.”
The Governors (5-2) dominated the contest from the start holding a 344 to minus (-11) yard advantage through 24 minutes of play.
“We are a very young outfit,” East Haven coach Melvin Wells said after his team dropped its sixth straight contest. “We work extremely hard. Unfortunately, we are very young. Give credit to Wilbur Cross. Their speed was overwhelming. We work so hard every day to get better. I am most proud of the fact we did not quit. We did not hang our heads and quit.”
Cross needed just three plays to take a lead it never relinquished as Barnabei hit Taylor on third down for a 70-yard scoring strike. The two then connected on the conversion, giving Cross an 8-0 lead just 1 minute, 31 seconds into the contest.
After the Yellowjackets (1-6) punted, Cross needed three more plays to take a 14-0 lead as Barnabei hit Washington for a 6-yard scoring pass.
The Governors then turned to their special teams to extend the margin to 20-0 with 5:59 left in the opening quarter. A blocked punt by Cross found its way to the endzone where Foreman pounced on the loose ball for a touchdown.
“We needed to get off to a quick start, and after the first couple of plays, we did,”Acquavita said. “I liked that.”
A Barnabei to Taylor touchdown connection from 19 yards extended the lead to 26-0 with 2:15 left in the opening quarter, before Barnes ran in from 48 yards out with 2:56 left in the half, and Barnabei hit Washington from 10 yards out with five seconds left in the half for a 39-0 lead.
Barnes, who ran for 56 yards, added a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:10 left in the third quarter to give Cross a 45-0 lead.
Video via CT Sports Now