Welcome, once again, to the big top. The 20-ring circus that is the GameTimeCT Connecticut High School Football PLAYS … OF … THE WEEK.
Over the past year this favorite feature of ours has evolved from feats to the biggest moments of the week that was in the high school football season. Great plays, yes. Diving catches, one-handed grabs, pick-sixes, rumblin’ fumble recovery returns… But we also try to capture outstanding performances. We have a few of those for you on the Week 5 edition.
Thanks for everybody’s submissions. This can’t happen without your help. We tried our darndest to get everything in and keep the highlight reel down to a respectable length. But there’s only so much room. Keep trying. You can’t win if you don’t submit.
So what’s on this week’s reel?
Let’s recap, shall we?
Granby Memorial’s on a hot streak thanks to back Connor Field and the guys who block for him. Field had his THIRD consecutive 300-yard rushing day vs. Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton. We feature a 71-yard run made possible by QB Dominic Pagano’s sticktoitiveness. He picks up a slow snap and sticks with the option play. Field and the blockers do the rest.
Remember Amity’s Tyler Burns? He’s now Choate’s Tyler Burns and he was a big problem for Exeter last week. Burns picked off a pass and went 98 yards in Choate’s rout.
A year ago, Central lost to Bassick for the first time in 20 years. Friday was payback and Central’s Manny Lavant makes a great fumble recovery return to put the Hilltoppers up big in their 37-0 victory.
Wethersfield won the CCC battle of unbeatens vs. Maloney convincingly, 41-0. Receiver Kyle Klavins makes a return to Plays of the Week with a 70-yard catch-and-run to kick-start the Eagles’ rout.
Platt gave Meriden something to smile about. The Panthers won their CCC battle with Rocky Hill, 28-17, which was broadcast on CPTV Sports. Olajuwon McLeod’s TD catch and run from QB Joseph Mwumba makes the Plays cut.
New Britain’s Kyshawn Gunn returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the Golden Hurricanes’ battle with No. 1 Southington. We feature it here. Alas, Southington had too much Jasen Rose, who completed 30 of 36 passes for 360 yards and SIX touchdown passes in Southington’s 54-20 victory. We show every one of Rose’s TD passes.
Glastonbury needed everything it could muster to hold off Newington, 21-14. QB Keyion Dixon made one of the Tomahawks’ biggest plays when he scored on a 60-yard TD run to end the first half.
Hand has gone from the state’s No. 2 ranked team in the preseason to a struggling club in the shark-infested waters of the SCC. The Tigers needed a victory over Cheshire. QB Nick van Dell helped matters with a 56-yard touchdown scramble, featured here on Plays. But Cheshire’s Andrew Yamin scored on a great 79-yard touchdown run earlier in the game and Tony Marcucilli scored the winning run in the 3rd quarter to keep Cheshire unbeaten after Week 5 for the first time since 1998 with a 17-13 victory. Both plays are here.
No. 5 Newtown is also unbeaten heading into its showdown with No. 4 Ansonia. The Nighthawks held up their end of the bargain with a 27-7 victory over Bethel. On Plays, Julian Dunn makes a 1-handed interception and fellow receiver Troy Frangione takes a Jake Burden screen pass all the way across the field and dives into the end zone for a touchdown.
Stamford fought through some adversity to beat back a serious challenge from winless Ridgefield. With QB Jalen Brown out with a hand injury, the Black Knights turned to their ground game. Sophomores Tyrell Diaz and Jon Michael Bivona answered the bell with three looong touchdown runs (Diaz had two) in the second half as Stamford pulled away for the 47-32 victory.
Ledyard returns to the Plays of the Week with a couple of dandies from Jo Jo Schumaker and River Thomas (who makes his second consecutive appearance) in the Colonels’ 55-13 victory over Waterford. Schumaker turned a screen pass into a 63-yard touchdown. Rivers makes a juggling catch for a 54-yard score.
Cole Pecora had a nice special teams game for North Haven. He scored on kickoff return touchdown and, shortly thereafter, returned a punt for a score in the Indians’ victory over Sheehan.
We head into the bigger plays of Week 5, beginning at West Haven’s Veterans Stadium where Notre Dame-West Haven defeated their crosstown rivals 40-33.
So many plays to choose from in this game. You won’t see Brandon Sebastian’s long TD run for West Haven. Or Nico Ragaini’s second pick-6 in as many weeks for Notre Dame. We could only highlight a couple, so we went with Zatrell Lyon’s juggling TD catch on 4th and 1 to tie the game for West Haven the fourth quarter. Then, of course, we give you Tajon Toms’ winning touchdown run with 4:41 left for the Green Knights. (He also scored on a sweet fumble recovery in the end zone earlier, but we stuck with the winning TD, which was huge for ND-WH.
St. Joseph easily dispatched Wilton 49-20 to get back in the win column after last week’s disastrous loss to Darien. The Hogs’ Play of the Week? Lars Pedersen. Who else? His diving 35-yard touchdown catch from Cory Babineau is a sight to behold. Play of the Week? For pure athletic ability, it’s up there with Greenwich’s Austin Longi TD run vs. Darien as a Play of the Year. Tremendous company.
Back over in the ECC, Montville moved to 4-1 thanks to a huuuuuge 2-point conversion stop late in the game. Stonington had just pulled to within 22-21 with 35 seconds remaining on quarterback Amadi White’s 6-yard touchdown run. Stonington decided to go for broke and the victory. White looked for
Weston had Week 5’s best comeback and best finish. Hands down. Trailing 21-10 in the third quarter, the Trojans rallied to tie Bunnell 21-21 and then took a 28-21 lead in the fourth. They trailed again when Bunnell’s Adam Wojenski fired a TD pass and 2-point conversion pass to give Bunnell the lead with 33.5 seconds remaining. With 10 seconds left and facing 4th and 15 from their own 40, the Trojans were down to their final gasp.
“Of course, I’m worried,” Weston quarterback Spencer Turkel told Connecticut Post. “But 44’s the man. So give them the ball. He can do something special with it.”
Turkel fired a pass into double coverage to No. 44, Peter Lummis, who snared the ball and waltzed into the end zone for an incredible winning 60-yard touchdown.
The final score was actually 41-29 because Zach Spencer returned a fumbled lateral on the ensuing Bunnell kickoff with no time remaining. By then, Weston’s camera had run out of juice, probably from the effort of capturing this crazy game.
Wolcott had one of the most surprising victories of Week 5. For the second consecutive year, the Eagles traded blows with Naugatuck. And, for the second consecutive year, they made all the right moves to pull out a heart-stopping victory. We didn’t get all the big moments for Plays. We were hoping for Mike Audibert’s winning TD run, which you can see here on WFSB. But we do have some big plays by Phil Lebel, who laid a crushing block to spring teammate Sean Brooks on a screen-pass TD from Vin Gambino and, later, clinched the 45-38 victory with an interception of Naugatuck’s Jason Bradley. Doing the honors on the radio call is WATR’s Kyle Brennan. (Lower your volume, btw).
Finally, we cap the show off with Shelton’s 38-35 victory over Fairfield Prep. You might have seen this already on Friday night, but it’s worth throwing in as a capper to this week’s Plays: Mark Piccirillo’s 62-yard touchdown pass to Sam Kirk that put Shelton up 31-14 in the fourth quarter. Pic was backed into a corner then suddenly uncorked a bomb to Kirk, who was all alone for the TD. Shelton hung on earn coach Jeff Roy his 75th career victory and move to 5-0.
That is all for this week’s plays.
We were hoping to get Coginchaug’s winning 2-point conversion stop, or the defensive stand made by Griswold. Sadly nobody answered the call for a submission. Maybe next time.
Until next week where we’re sure to see a reel stuffed with highlights from Ansonia-Newtown, Shelton-Wilbur Cross, Southington-Hall and much, much, much more…