NEW HAVEN >> Wilbur Cross isn’t qualifying for the state tournament. But the thing that really mattered most was beating rival Hillhouse in the Elm City Bowl.
The Governors took care of business and picked up an 8-6 victory at home on Thanksgiving. The Governors end the year at 7-5 and stopped a streak of four straight Hillhouse Elm City Bowl wins.
“The defense played well,” said Wilbur Cross coach John Acquavita. “They were definitely the MVPs of the game.”
Senior quarterback A.J. Consiglio said winning the Elm City Bowl meant a lot to him and his teammates. He said winning this game makes any season a good one.
“I’m so proud of our team,” he said. “Our defense, I’ll tell them that for the rest of the week, even 10 years from now when we’re all hanging out.”
Meanwhile, Hillhouse closes the year at 4-7. The Academics end the year losing two straight, both losses by two points. Coach Reggie Lytle said his is proud of his team.
“We fought back today,” he said. “With the weather conditions and for some reason the kids get a little extra when they play cross city rival Cross.”
The Governors got on the board first in the first quarter. Hillhouse was forced to punt on its first possession and snapped the ball over the punter’s head. Wilbur Cross recovered at the Acs’ 11-yard line.
Consiglio found J.L. Gomez-Stafford for a 6-yard score later in drive. The two-point conversion run by Stevie Swinson was good and Cross led by eight.
In the second quarter, Hillhouse’s offense, which didn’t get a first down in the first quarter, woke up.
Aided by some stagnant Cross offense, as the Governors turned it over on downs at the 50, the Acs were able to march down field and cap the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Cory Maddox to Dontrese Cogswell. The two-point conversion failed and Cross led 8-6 at the half.
The Governors defense forced a fumble and forced the Acs to turn it over on downs on their last two possessions to hold on for the win in a scoreless second half as both teams struggled to gain any traction at a sloppy, muddy field.
“The defense is going to win in a game like this,” Acquavita said. “You can’t give up anything.”
And for Consiglio and the rest of the seniors, they’re just glad they finally took down Hillhouse.
“Winning this game was really important to us,” he said. “All of our seniors really wanted this one and we got it.”