Deep River >> The Valley Regional/Old Lyme football team had a lot to celebrate on the 30th anniversary of the Principal’s Cup Tuesday night.
The Warriors captured its fifth straight Principal’s Cup trophy with a 31-0 victory over Thanksgiving Day rival Haddam-Killingworth before a huge crowd at Blythe Field.
Valley seniors Dan Stecher and Garret Burdick also reached some personal milestones against the Cougars. Stecher rushed for 201 yards with one touchdown while going over the 1000-yard mark for the season.
Burdick, who caught a touchdown pass in the first quarter, set a Warriors season record with his 10th interception.
On defense, junior Roan Sullivan and Stecher each recorded their 100th tackles.
“Setting a school record is something special,” Valley Regional/Old Lyme coach Tim King said. “But the big thing is the team part. Individual records are always nice but the big thing is to be where we are now. In the playoffs.”
The Warriors will host a Class M quarterfinal playoff game on Tuesday, Nov. 29. It will be Valley’s fifth playoff appearance in seven seasons.
“There are some pretty good teams out there in Class M,” King added.
Valley senior quarterback Matt Sapere completed 7 of 8 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Sapere found sophomore Jason O’Brien with a 50 yard touchdown toss on the Warriors first play from scrimmage.
Later in the first quarter, Sapere lofted a perfect pass to Burdick in the corner of the end zone for a 12-yard scoring play to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead.
“Starting off the game in the hole isn’t a good way to start,” Haddam-Killingworth coach Mike Baklik said. “The kids bounced back and played solid defense against a solid team like this. I was proud of their effort all night.”
Burdick added a 26-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter and Valley had a 17-0 halftime advantage.
The Warriors opened the second half with an eight play, 55 yard scoring march. Sapere capped the drive with a nifty fake handoff to Stecher and rolled into the end zone with a six-yard touchdown to make it 24-0.
Stecher capped the Warriors big night with a 62-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Senior running back Alex Segaline gained 79 yards on 23 carries for H-K (4-6).
“It was a tough season for us,” Baklik said. “We had a lot of injuries and a lot of other things going on. We’re going to try and correct the things that we can do and one of them is working harder in the offseason. So that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
Valley Regional (9-1) leads the all-time series against H-K, 23-7.
“We did all we could do to get where we are,” King said. “We played our schedule and played our hearts out.”
Valley Regional/Old Lyme 31, Haddam-Killingworth 0
at Blythe Field, Deep River
Haddam-Killingworth 0-0-0-0 0
Valley Regional/Old Lyme 14-3-7-7 31
Valley/OL – Jason O’Brien 50 pass from Matt Sapere (Garret Burdick kick)
Valley/OL – Garret Burdick 12 pass from Matt Sapere (Garret Burdick kick)
Valley/OL – Garret Burdick 26 FG
Valley/OL – Matt Sapere 7 run (Garret Burdick kick )
Valley/OL – Dan Stecher 62 run (Garret Burdick kick)
Team records : Valley Regional/Old Lyme 9-1; Haddam-Killingworth 4-6