GUILFORD — Foran is still breathing — but barely.
The Lions (7-3), who sit in the 11th spot in the CIAC Class M playoff race, stayed alive Friday night by handling Guilford, 34-13, at Kavanaugh Field. Foran, which plays archrival Law on Thanksgiving Day, will need to win that game and get a lot of help to get into the eight-team Class M field.
“Mathematically, we’re still alive and that’s all that matters,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “We’re breathing.”
Guilford, which drove the ball down the field in 14 plays on its first drive for a 7-0 lead, only led the game for 3 minutes all night. The Indians seemed a little flat after that with injuries to key players not helping matters.
“They were the more energized team tonight, that’s for sure,” Guilford coach Tom Unger said. “They are a good team and have great weapons.”
After that, Foran was able to control the line of scrimmage and Guilford wasn’t able to mount a long drive the rest of the night.
“We told our kids that their speed on the first series will catch us off guard,” Bevino said. “After that, we switched up who had the quarterback and who had the pitch. It really had nothing to do with coaching. It had to do with our kids making plays.”
Foran took the lead for good in the final minute of the first quarter with lineman Andrew Melendez scoring in the jumbo package. Jake Kasuba (14-of-23 passing, 204 yards) found Zachary White on the 2-point conversion pass to make it 8-7.
Things got wild in the final 2 minutes of the second quarter when Kasuba hit Sean Deegan with a 24-yard touchdown pass to give Foran 15-7 lead. But Guilford needed just two plays to close it to 15-13 when quarterback Joe Nault connected with Tony Pensa for a 73-yard touchdown strike with 1:17 to go before the break.
Foran, however, scored on the final play of the first half to make it 21-13 on a Nick Weissauer 2-yard jaunt that put the dagger into Guilford.
“That touchdown at the end of the first half was a deciding factor of how this game was going to go,” Unger said. “We needed to make the stop there and get one more touchdown in the first half.”
In the second half, Guilford couldn’t muster much offense and didn’t get past the Foran 38-yard line.
Meanwhile, Stephen Longley (12 carries, 63 yards) scored from 20 and 4 yards to account for the final margin. Longley missed Foran’s last two games after suffering a concussion in practice.
“It was big having him back and at full strength, plus our line did a good job,” Bevino said.
Foran held Nault to just 40 yards rushing and tailback Eric Zergiebel to 38 yards.
“Anytime you hold Nault to 40 yards you’ve done a good job,” Bevino said. “He’s one of the premier athletes in our league.”
Guilford dropped to 5-5 with the loss and will play rival Hand the night before Thanksgiving with a chance to win six games, something the Indians haven’t done since 2000.
“It’s a huge goal,” Unger said. “Our last winning season was 5-4-1 in 2007. Five wins is unacceptable and six wins is a good season, but we have to strive to be better than that.”