Week 8 was a bit of a pain, frankly.
Already up against it with the short week, the abysmal weather, Halloween, and, of course, some of the nutty things that happened during the actual games meant we had our hands full trying to sort it all out.
I mean, there was Berlin’s blocked field goal touchdown, the ensuing controversy and the removal of the video. There was the confiscation of the N.C. Hammer after the Rams used it on St. Joseph’s field prior to a 41-14 rout of the Hogs on Saturday.
So pardon us, please, for being a tad tardy with the Plays of the Week. We did use to extra time to secure a few more clips that were Plays-worthy. The result is an even bigger reel. So you have that going for you, dear viewers.
Sadly, we were never able to get a hold of the film of Jai’Quan McKnight’s 80-yard interception return. Nor did we get film of the thrilling Plainville-Rockville 3-overtime game.
But we got pretty much everything else of consequence.
Week 9 awaits, so let’s get to it:
We start with the aforementioned N.C. HAMMER. New Canaan boldly dropped it down on St. Joseph’s logo before their game on a rainy Saturday at the Dalling Sports Complex. St. Joseph had it confiscated by Trumbull police, as you’ll see to start Plays.
The Rams haven’t had it returned. And we doubt they ever will.
But that didn’t stop New Canaan from dropping figurative hammers on the Hogs. Mike Collins’ long TD pass to Kyle Smith and Alex LaPolice’s option TD pass to Zach Allen in the first half highlight the carnage of the 41-14 victory.
Down the road, Trinity Catholic won the Stamford City Championship with a right thrashing of Stamford 44-14 at muddy Alumni Field. Stamford, once the darlings of the FCIAC race, have now landed with a thud. Thomas Costigan took a blocked field goal 77 yards for a score. Willie Sadler returned an interception 95 yards for another.
We turn to the wild and equally muddy scene in Colechester where the state record books were given a workout. NFA’s Khaleed Exum Strong ran for 319 yards. Quarterback Jawaun Johnson ran for 345 (on 15 carries!). Not to be outdone (even if his team was practically out of it), Bacon Academy’s Sean Kelly threw for 530 yards and five touchdowns in the 74-38 NFA win. NFA ran for 676 yards — the third-best total in Connecticut history. Kelly’s passing day was fifth-best.
There were far, far too many great plays (or… no defense?) in this one. So we took the best play from each of the stars. You get the idea. They went all day like this.
We return to the Valley where Ansonia exploded for 21 points in the third quarter en route to a 48-27 victory over Wolcott. Sadly, we turned off our cameras for the best play of the night — Jai’Quan McKnight’s pickoff TD — and couldn’t get a copy. So we just threw his 50-yard TD run and a TD pass to Tyler Bailey to compensate.
Staying in the NVL, St. Paul’s Eli Parks had a day in a 38-20 win over Torrington. He returned a kickoff 96 for a touchdown (which we don’t have) but also had a sweet 96-yard touchdown. We have that one.
Middletown routed Farmington 45-0. Yes, we have typical Dario Highsmith electricity in the form of an 80-yard, cut-back touchdown run. But we wanted to get some of the other Blue Dragons involved. Gene Footman’s 75-yard TD catch from Highsmith made the cut.
Showdown? Showcase. Ledyard wiped out Windham’s unbeaten season with a 59-13 victory. We show Jo Jo Shumaker’s long touchdown run for Ledyard from that game. But Joseph Santiago of Windham did have a nice TD catch. So we show that, too.
Is there anybody who makes more Plays of the Week than Danbury’s Pierre Moudourou? He might lead the league. Maybe the state. The Danbury linebacker/receiver, my friends, IS an All-State football player. Mark it down. He struts his stuff once again with a ruggedd TD catch and run. Later, he makes a sack and the fumble recovery for a touchdown in a 19-0 victory over Westhill.
Like the NFA-Bacon game, there were too many big plays to count in Montville’s 45-38 victory over Killingly. So we picked the best, most important of the bunch: Jon McCray’s clinching, 39-yard touchdown catch on fourth and 12 with over 4 minutes remaining. That put Montville up by a full 7 instead of 1 and led to the victory.
On the complete opposite side of the state, Ridgefield’s been knocking on the victory door for some time now. The Tigers finally got their first W since last year’s state playoffs, 31-28 over Norwalk. It was a wild, back-and-forth game won on the foot of Petros Papadopoulous, who kicked a 25-yard field goal amid bedlam.
Wilbur Cross defeated West Haven 38-36 in a wild (aren’t they all?) and wet one at Ken Strong Stadium. It was Cross’ first victory over the Westies since 2007 and only its second in 30 years! We picked Stevie Swinson’s eventual winning TD, a weaving 4-yard run with 4:40 left to put the Governors up 38-28.
Derby set the tone quickly in its pinball game with rival Seymour. Mike Kreiger, who threw for over 300 yards, tossed an 80-yard bomb to Brian Eliasson. Derby’s offense couldn’t be stopped in this 62-44 victory. But Derby also couldn’t stop Seymour’s special teams. Joe Salemme and Greg Chase-Patrick returned kickoffs for touchdowns. We also show Jake Bleau’s nice screen pass touchdown and cap it with Jake Finnucan’s second TD catch from Kreiger for Derby.
Yes, North Haven can throw the ball out of the single wing. Mehdi Azizi caught two touchdown passes as the Indians rolled to a 48-7 victory over Hillhouse. We show his best: a twisting 21-yard catch from Cole Pecora.
Notre Dame-Wst Haven’s Nico Ragaini was voted GameTimeCT star of Week 8 with a 10-catch, 192-yard, three touchdown performance as the Green Knights rallied past Cheshire 38-21. We show the two most critical touchdowns from Christian Lupoli: the one that pulled the Green Knights within 21-20 at halftime, and the go-ahead score in the third quarter.
While teams were putting up record offensive numbers across the state, we had a good ol’ fashioned slugfest at Palmer Field where Hand snapped a four-game losing streak with a 10-3 victory over Xavier. That said, we took the few offensive moments for Plays. Hand’s Mike Sampson made a diving 40-yard catch from Nick van Dell to set up Tyler Phan’s field goal and a 10-0 lead in the fourth quarter. We also show Xavier’s lone highlight: a 47-yard field goal from Andrew Verre.
Valley Regional/Old Lyme needed everything it could muster to beat back a challenge from Morgan. Yes, the touchdown pass from Chris Jean-Pierre to Andrew Tuscano in the second quarter was key. But Dan Figuenick’s back-to-back interceptions in the fourth quarter sealed the victory and kept Valley’s unbeaten season alive, 6-0.
The BEST play you haven’t seen yet comes out of New Fairfield’s 28-13 victory over Stratford. Disaster seemed to strike when the New Fairfield’s Anthony Dagostino lined to punt at the Stratford 42 with his team holding a 14-6 edge with 7:11 remaining. The snap sailed faaaar over his head and back to the New Fairfield 27.
With five Red Devils giving chase, Dagostino picked it up and found teammate James Lewis, who’d alertly ran back and waved his arms at the 38. The rest was magic. Lewis weaved and bobbed his way for a 42-yard touchdown that, in reality, covered 73 yards. Wow.
We wrap up Plays with three of the best finishes of the week.
Masuk had as much as a 17-point lead over Bethel in a Thursday night SWC battle in Monroe. It was down to 10 with 8:37 remaining. But Jared Piatnick bolted 78 yards for a touchdown to get the Wildcats within 3 points and, later, hooked up with Sloan Austermann for the winning touchdown with 3:22 left. Ross Moravsky’s spectacular interception sealed the 40-36 Bethel victory.
Max German scored three touchdowns (including a 75-yader shown here), yet Law found itself holding an (eerily similar) 28-27 lead late in the game thanks to a 56-yard touchdown pass from Guilford’s Jack Jankura to Tony Pensa with 2:16 left. But, for the second straight week, the Lawmen got heroic on the 2-point conversion attempt. This time it was Ron Lynch who spearheaded the game-saving stop in the 28-27 victory.
Finally, we revisit Sage Park in Berlin for the crazy, but controversial, blocked field goal fumble recovery touchdown by Berlin’s Jeremy Eliades. Say what you will about how the play was officiated, but Eliades put himself in the perfect position for the call to go his team’s way. [Edit: We misidentified Jeremy Eliades as Anthony in the video, apologies.]
We downloaded this clip the moment it was uploaded. Good thing we did because it was wiped from YouTube as reporters began to ask questions about what — exactly — happened.
That wraps up another edition of Plays of the Week. Thanks for everybody’s submissions. But if you didn’t submit a play: what are you waiting for? Don’t make us track you down. Make sure we see it by sending it via email before noon every Tuesday to email@example.com.
On to Week 9…