WEST HAVEN — With heavy rain falling, there was belief Mother Nature was the balancing factor when Notre Dame and Shelton met Friday evening. The Gaels had other ideas.
David Yakowicz started the game with a long touchdown run, Shelton then scored on its first five offensive possessions, and the Gaels scored 42 first half points in a 44-13 Southern Connecticut Conference Tier I victory over the Green Knights at Veterans Memorial Field in West Haven Friday evening.
The fourth-ranked Gaels improved to 8-0 and unofficially clinched a spot in the Class LL playoff berth.
“The opening kickoff set the tone,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “We have been working on kickoffs and have been looking to get one. We have been close to busting one.”
The Gaels were on point from the start, holding a 292 to minus-13 yard advantage after 24 minutes of play. During that time frame, senior Jack Carr ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns on nine carries, and caught a screen pass from Jake Roberts which he tured into a 70-yard touchdown reception.
Yakowicz opened the contest with an 81-yard kickoff return, and scored his second touchdown of the game on a remarkable 13-yard pass play with Roberts.
“The offensive line was so good,” Carr said. “There were holes everywhere. We kept calling running plays and they opened the holes. They did a great job tonight.”
The Gaels wasted no time reaffirming why they are among the best in the state as the defense allowed just 10 yards of offense in the opening quarter and the offense added three scores to back up the long return by Yakowicz.
Carr started his brilliant night with a 49-yard run in which he bounced off the intial tackle and scored for a 14-0 lead 3 minutes, 21 seconds in. After the Green Knights were forced to punt after just three plays, the Gaels marched 69 yards on 11 plays, capped with a 3-yard run by Carr for a 21-0 advantage with 2:58 left in the opening quarter.
“We are 8-0, but we have to look at our next two games, not the playoffs,” Carr said. “Those are important games. We have two more games before the playoffs.”
When the Gaels held Notre Dame on three plays once again and blocked a punt, the Green Knights needed just one play, a 23-yard run by Carr for a 28-0 lead with 33 seconds left in the opening quarter.
“Our offensive line has been doing well all year,” Roy said. “They have been playing well.”
The second quarter was just as effective for Shelton. Roberts hit Yakowicz with a pass which was deflected behind the receiver and caught by Yakowicz for a score with 7:22 left in the opening half.
Roberts, who threw for 116 yards and a pair of first half touchdowns, capped the first half scoring when he found Carr for a short pass. Carr did the rest as he bounced away from a tackle, scampered down the left sideline and cut over the middle for a score with 3:22 remaining in the half.
The Green Knights (5-4) finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter during running clock on the opening possession of the second half as Zackary Hochman scored from 1-yard out after Tyler Basti opened the half with a 55-yard run.
Notre Dame, who entered the game by winning four of its last five games, made it a 42-13 contest when Patrick Schreck found Aiden Stankiewicz for a 10-yard score with 4:48 left in the third quarter.
Player of the Game
Jack Carr — The Shelton senior ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns, while also catching a 70-yard touchdown pass in first half action.
“The line was great. They opened a hole a mile wide. Anyone could have run through that.”
— Shelton’s Jack Carr on the play of his offensive line.
Shelton 44, Notre Dame-WH 13
Shelton 28 14 0 2 — 44
ND-WH 0 0 13 0 — 13
S – David Yakowicz 81 kickoff return (Nick Andrade kick) 11:46
S – Jack Carr 49 run (Andrade kick) 8:39
S – Jack Carr 3 run (Andrade kick) 2:58
S – Jack Carr 23 run (Andrade kick) 0:33
S – Jake Roberts to David Yakowicz 13 pass (Andrade kick) 7:22
S – Jake Roberts to Jack Carr 70 pass (Andrade kick) 3:22
N – Zackary Hochman 1 run (Aidan Walsh kick) 8:48
N – Patrick Schreck to Aiden Stankiewicz 10 pass (Kick failed) 4:18
S – Safety. Patrick Schreck tackled in endzone 10:39
Records: Shelton 8-0; Notre Dame-WH 5-4.