By John Torsiello
The Granby Memorial football team picked up its third win of the season with a closer-than-the-final-score, 34-20, victory over Nonnewaug in a Pequot Conference clash last Friday.
Nonnewaug, playing at home, reacted to a Connor Field 17-yard run that gave the visitors a 7-0 lead with two touchdowns of their own in the second period to take a 12-6 lead.
Granby retook the advantage when Field scored from one yard out late in the first half and Matt Holmes kicked his second point-after-touchdown.
Dominic Pagano scored on a 16-yard run and Holmes made the conversion kick to give the Bears a 21-12 lead in the third quarter. But Nonnewaug responded when Nike Uberti ran 38 yards for a score making it, 21-20.
Granby took control of things at that point. Ian Downey hauled in a 19-yard pass from Field with Holmes making the kick in the third period, and Pagano ran four yards for a score in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Pagano had a great game, rushing for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, while Gage Fiorention made 13 tackles on defense for the Bears, who are now 3-4.
Said Granby head coach Rich Gadoury, “We had a great week of practice and we put a few new wrinkles into the offense that proved very effective on the ground. We ran for 290 yards as a team with Dom Pagano having 167 of them. Our defense made key stops this week that proved to be the difference.”
Gadoury praised the play of kickoff specialist Downey.
“Ian has been very good at situational kicks this year and finding open spots of the field. He was able to recover his own onside kick to start the second half that led to a three-play (all runs) touchdown. Also, he iced the game for us with 1:30 remaining after scoring our last touchdown. He once again called his own number and kicked it up the middle and recovered.”
But, the coach added, “Mental breakdowns allowed Nonnewaug to remain in the game. Including a botched punt (the punter slipped and the ball fell out of his hands, he dropped kicked it down the middle of the field and the Chiefs returned it). We also gave them a short field several times because of turnovers. Plays like those have been detrimental in a few games and we are trying to eliminate them.”
He said, “This team works very hard and does whatever it takes to improve.”
Granby travels to take on Coginchaug Saturday at 1 p.m.
Simsbury High School took an early lead on a good Manchester club Friday night at home but couldn’t muster any scoring after Brad Helmkamp went in from one yard out in the first period in a 26-7 loss.
Manchester, now 5-3, led only 8-6 at the half but scored 18 points in the second to pull away from the Trojans.
Simsbury is now 2-6 and hosts Newington Friday.