Xavier coach Sean Marinan went for two. Good for him.
In what had to be one of the great high school football games of the season, Marinan’s Xavier team was within one point of West Haven in overtime at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven Friday night.
A kick would tie the game and the overtime would continue. A two-point conversion would win it. Marinan, who has been in this spot before, went for the win.
He was quoted that in his gut, he felt it was the thing to do. The run failed and Xavier lost a crusher 35-34. That doesn’t change the fact it was the right thing. It just came up a bit short.
Fans will remember that five seasons ago, Marinan did the same thing. His team got blown out in week one by Wilbur Cross and was on the verge of losing a second in a row to Notre Dame. But with seconds showing, Xavier scored and down by one, Marinan went for two. Julian Hayes scored the two-pointer with half the Notre Dame team on his back and Xavier didn’t lose again until the playoffs.
Last season, in the greatest comeback in Xavier history, the Falcons were down by a point to Hillhouse with seconds remaining and again Marinan went for it. He made it, the season turned around and the Falcons won the Class LL championship.
It will be a struggle now for the Falcons. They are ranked 12th in Class LL, but not very far out of a playoff spot. Even with the loss to West Haven, Xavier’s destiny is in its hands.
Shelton (5-1), Hand (5-1) and Fairfield Prep (5-1) lie ahead. Yeah, those will all be very tough. Heck, Friday night’s home game with Notre Dame – a nine-point loser to West Haven – will be no day at Disney World.
But Marinan showed his kids on Friday that he had confidence in them and that he had the courage of his convictions. He did the right thing.
By the way, the local Internet radio, cnx.radio,com, will rebroadcast the West Haven game tonight at 7 p.m. The server crashed Friday night while 2,100 listeners were online. “Out of our control,” said John and Judy Clark, the owners of the station.
MIDDLETOWN KEEPS ON ROLLING
It wasn’t the most artistic performance by the Blue Dragons Friday night, and MHS coach Sal Morello was tad displeased. But the fact is Middletown has Dario Highsmith and nobody else does. You’ve seen the numbers – 346 yards rushing, 5-for-5 passing for 58 more, four rushing touchdowns and two passing scores – but this team is much more than Highsmith.
There are good players all over the place with this club.
On Friday MHS plays at Maloney and barring an upset of Biblical proportions, that will set up a showdown on Nov. 1 with likely undefeated Farmington, which knocked off previously unbeaten Windsor 13-7 Friday. Farmington has a tune-up with Bristol Central Friday, so it looks like the stage is set for an enormous game the first weekend in November at MHS.
MRSA: A REAL DANGER
An Associated Press story carried in the sports section of Friday’s Press headlined: MRSA: a silent danger in locker rooms, should be read by every athletic director, coach and physical education teacher.
MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics. It surfaced in the Tampa Bay Bucs locker room this year and in 2006 infected members of the Washington Redskins. Lineman Brandon Noble nearly lost his leg to the illness. The St. Louis Rams had an outbreak.
The bacteria is everywhere. I know. I’ve had it. It apparently got into a little cut on my leg several years ago and it spread. Thankfully it was contained to the skin and showering with prescription soap and use of an ointment managed to take care of it.
But simply put: if it gets into your system, it can kill you. A little cut or an abrasion looks like the Holland tunnel to the microbe which is common in he environment. It’s not an illness you catch from someone; it’s sitting out there – in locker rooms, on the football field, on the wrestling mat – looking for an opportunity.
My infectious disease specialist at the time told me of an infection of several players from an area high school a couple of years back. The doctor said that it is very important that locker rooms be kept scrupulously clean, that wrestling mats be cleaned and that kids take showers immediately after practice and games.
Take showers? That would cause a collective gasp in locker rooms throughout the area. Local football teams and basketball teams – and other teams – do no such thing. There has developed in recent years a kind of cultural commandment that says: Thou Shalt Not See Me Naked.
Hey folks, here’s a bulletin: That silliness might make you sick. Might cost you a limb. Might kill you.
Those in positions of authority – ADs, coaches, trainers, PE teachers – need to think about this. And be proactive and not wait for MRSA to strike.
BIG WES WIN
Better believe that was a huge Wesleyan win at Amherst Saturday. The Cards came from behind in the second half after trailing 7-6 at intermission. Quarterback Jesse Warren (14-for-17, 150 yards, no picks) had a great day and the Wesleyan defense had three turnovers, including an interception by Middletown High alumnus freshman Devon Carrillo, whose pick in the end zone stopped an Amherst drive.
Carrillo also had two kickoff returns of 24 and 23 yards.
This weekend’s game at Bowdoin looms as one of those trap games, a game sandwiched between the big games with Little Three rivals Amherst and with Williams on Nov. 2 at Andrus Field.
But if Wes takes care of business, it will come into the Williams game at 6-0 and a win then would set up a showdown at Trinity on Nov. 9, a place where Trinity hasn’t lost since Sept. 29, 2001.
LEAGUE OF DENIAL
That’s the title of a meticulously researched book by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru that details how the National Football League went out of its way to deny and discredit those who pointed out that the violence and resultant brain trauma suffered by NFL players was real.
Love him or not, give Mike Francesa of WFAN credit for telling the truth on the NFL and brain injury. As Francesa pointed out, none of the networks including ESPN, CBS, NBC, ABC or Fox have said anything. It is Francesa’s contention that the NFL is so powerful and those networks so beholden to NFL money that they won’t say a word.
All I know is this: football is a dangerous sport. Injuries are a given. There is growing evidence that brain injury is common among NFL players. Is it an unreasonable leap to say that high school and college players are subject to the same injuries?.
I love high school football. Enjoy watching it, covering it and announcing it. But the season is much too long, the playoffs are too long and compacted. Growing children are asked to play more games of this collision sport than kids at Yale, Wesleyan or UConn.
Like President Obama, I would never let my son play it and my son and his wife have also made it clear that my little grandson will never play it either. I respect those who allow their children to play. Let’s just hope that theirs is an informed consent, something that this book contends was kept from the NFL players for years.
HERE AND THERE
Middletown High football players wore the symbol of the fight against breast cancer, pink ribbon decals, on their helmets at their last home game … freshman football players went through the stands collecting money for the cause … MHS fall sports team have a food drive each year … the teams compete to see which can bring in the most food … this is the fourth year of the Amazing Grace Challenge and the kids brought in 634 pounds of food, a record.
Local soccer teams continued their spectacular seasons … Xavier is undefeated at 11-0-3, the latest a 1-0 win over Fairfield Prep Friday night … Brandon Charton had the lone goal and Dan Miela had four saves in goal for the Falcons … the MHS boys extended their unbeaten streak to eight (7-0-1) with a 4-0 win over Platt Friday … Joey Pizzuto had two goals for MHS which is 8-4-2 … MHS hosts CCC South champion Berlin tonight at 7 at Rosek-Skubel Stadium
The MHS girls won again, 7-3 over Platt … Mikaela Coady, a scoring machine, had a hat trick and Sam Fletcher had two… the team is 12-2 … Mercy is 11-2-1, and beat Sacred Heart Academy 2-1 Friday with goals by Danielle Richardson and Blakeslee Palmer … Portland’s girls soccer team is 11-3 … H-K is 8-3-2.
The Middletown American Legion will hold its annual baseball awards banquet Saturday Nov. 30 at the Elks … I hear the Legion is revamping the state tournament so that zone champions will not have to play a single elimination game … good move.
In the CIAC football playoff rankings, Middletown is No. 2 in Class L, Valley, which won big at North Branford Friday, is No. 2 in Class M … Cromwell is No. 6 in Class S … Xavier fell to No. 12 in LL, but is still very much in the race for a postseason spot … the top four teams get playoff home games on Tuesday, Dec. 3.
Terrific 21-0 win for Vinal Tech/East Hampton Saturday over O’Brien Tech … at 4-2, the Bellhawks are putting together a very nice season … tough one Friday night at unbeaten Capital Prep at Dillon Stadium in Hartford … Coginchaug is 3-2 after its one-sided win over Old Saybrook Saturday … Hyde Leadership is at Coginchaug Saturday at 1 p.m. … big down county game Friday night as undefeated Valley Regional visits undefeated Morgan at 6:30 … Cromwell, winners of four in a row, go to SMSA/University Saturday at Dillon Stadium at noon.
Mercy’s volleyball team is 13-2 … H-K is 15-2 … the MHS volleyball team won their third of the year 3-0 over Fermi Friday.
Red Sox vs. Cardinals World Series should be fun… Sox in seven.