MILFORD — Jonathan Law head coach Erik Larka was concerned with how his players would come out against Stratford.
Two weeks ago, the Lawmen were celebrating a historic and dramatic OT victory over SCC Tier 1 opponent Cheshire, so he was hoping there wouldn’t be any kind of letdown playing the Red Devils.
Luckily, Law had a bye last week to prepare, and the presence of senior running back and captain Michael Plaskon set the tone on offense with four touchdowns and the defense held Stratford in check, leading to a 35-0 non-conference win over the Red Devils on Friday night at Lawmen Stadium.
Law (3-2) has now won three straight after opening with two straight losses.
“It’s a great win because coming off one of the best wins in program history, it’s usually tough to follow that up,” Larka said. “Usually momentum lulls a little bit and knowing that Stratford was 0-4, we were worried the kids might not be as up for the game, but the bye week helped because we watched a lot of film and got back to fundamentals. If we had played the next week, I think the emotions may not have been as high.”
The Lawmen didn’t start off as strong as they would’ve liked with two straight interceptions on their first two possessions, but like they did all night, they stifled the Stratford offense. On Law’s third possession, they hit paydirt when senior quarterback Zach Smith found senior wideout Ethan Saley for a 24-yard score with 1:30 on the clock in the first quarter.
“We wanted to come out a little bit stronger (in the first half) but we still held them (Stratford) to zero points,” Smith said. “He (Ethan) was supposed to run a fade, but he saw the safety over the middle and changed it to a post mid-play. I threw it up and let him do the rest.”
Law got the ball back on a turnover following the kickoff and three plays later, the Lawmen were celebrating another TD when Smith got the ball to Plaskon on a screen and he found the end zone from 23 yards out for a 14-0 lead with 11:47 left until halftime.
Neither team could get much going until the last two minutes of the half when Law capitalized on ideal field position in Stratford territory. Plaskon scored his second TD from four yards out to go ahead 21-0 with 1:13 left in the half.
Plaskon paced the offense all night and said his blockers up front made his job that much easier.
“There’s nothing I can do without the o-line,” he said. “That’s just a fact. Without them I wouldn’t have anything and they really stepped it up today.”
Things didn’t get much better in the second half for the Red Devils even though they began moving the ball. Running back Glen Diaz was the work horse with close to 100 yards rushing, but Stratford turned the ball over on downs three times after halftime.
“We definitely had some chances,” Stratford head coach Jack Petion said. “We kept the game somewhat tight in the first half, but we’re still making a lot of key mistakes. It’s on us as coaches to make sure we relay the message to get the players to play how we need them to play on a consistent basis. We have a lot of young bodies out there with the injury bug so I’m proud of how the kids fought.”
The second half was all about the Law defense and Plaskon, who had rushing touchdowns of 6 yards (1:32 left in the third quarter) and 17 yards (58 seconds remaining) off direct snaps to round out the scoring.
“He’s a special player and a game-changer,” Larka said of his standout running back. “When you have him, any play can turn into a touchdown.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Michael Plaskon, Law. The senior running back had four touchdowns, three on the ground, to lead the Lawmen to their third straight victory of the season.
“The defense definitely allowed the offense to do what we wanted to do,” Larka said. “Winning cures a lot of things so we’re positive but we know we’re back to the SCC next week against Branford.”
LAW 35, STRATFORD 0
STRATFORD 0 0 0 0 —0
LAW 7 14 7 7 —35
L—Ethan Saley 24 pass from Zach Smith (Spencer Hannon kick)
L—Michael Plaskon 23 pass from Smith (Hannon kick)
L—Plaskon 4 run (Hannon kick)
L—Plaskon 6 run (Hannon kick)
L—Plaskon 17 run (Hannon kick)
Records: Law 3-2, Stratford 0-5.