North Haven stops West Haven at goal line, wins school’s first game vs. Blue Devils

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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North Haven’s Shamus Meehan gets off a pass ahead of West Haven’s Tylen Jennettes tackle attempt during their opening night game on Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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North Haven’s Corey Hooks tries to slip from the grip of West Haven’s Shane Clark during their game on Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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West Haven’s Demerick Blackford looks to break free from the tackle effort of North Haven’s Nick Carras Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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West Haven’s Tylen Jennette battle for yardage against North Haven defenders Kevin Annasoulis (7) and Patrick DaSilva on Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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West Haven’s Tylen Jennette battles for yards against North Haven defenders Kevin Annasoulis (7) and Patrick DaSilva Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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North Haven’s Devan Brockamer battles for yards against West Haven defender Mekiel Coates during their game Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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West Haven’s Jordan Berrios gets past North Haven defenders Noah Perille (4) and Nick Carras (8) Friday in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore / For Hearst Connecticut Media
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North Haven’s Nicholas Dodge slips past West Haven defender Devon Coleman during Friday’s game in in West Haven.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
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(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 22 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 23 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 24 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 25 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 26 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 27 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 28 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 29 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 30 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 31 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: (C)JOHN H VANACORE, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 32 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 33 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 34 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 35 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 36 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 37 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 38 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 39 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 40 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

Photo: John Vanacore, John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media
Image 41 of 41

(John Vanacore/For Hearst Connecticut Media) The North Haven Indians traveled to West Haven to take on the Blue Devils for the opening night of High School Football Friday, September 7, 2018.

WEST HAVEN — Heading into Friday evening’s Southern Connecticut Conference tilt, both the West Haven and North Haven football teams knew they would have to establish new identities with an abundance of stars graduated from both teams.

When all was said and done, the Indians had a few more big plays and one more defensive stand, topping the Westies 20-19 in a thriller at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.

Trailing by one point in the final minutes, West Haven converted a fourth down to get inside the North Haven two-yard line, but four plays produced just one yard, including a goal-line stand by the Indians to stop Jordan Berrios a foot short of the goal line with 3 minutes, six seconds left.

“Our defense was amazing,” North Haven coach Tony Sagnella said. “We are a young team and we were forced to grow up quickly tonight. We knew West Haven was going to be a tough team and they were. I am extremely happy with the effort we put in and with how we came up big at the end. We had to be tough today and we were.”

The Indians took a 20-19 lead with 9:32 remaining, capping a 13-play 80-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Nicholas Dodge. After failing on their first two conversions of the game, the Indians turned to Dodge again and his run put the Indians on top for good.

“West Haven came out fast with the blocked punt, but we were able to fight back,” Dodge said. “We made the big plays when we had to.”

For the Westies, it was a heartbreaking end to what was a solid comeback, holding a 19-12 lead into the fourth quarter.

“North Haven made all the big plays,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said. “Give them credit. When we needed to make big plays, we could not get them. They held us at the goal line. When we had to make the big plays, we could not do it. But, I am happy with how we hung tough. We were down and went the length of the field.”

Despite being outgained by 87 yards in the opening quarter and 28-3 in plays to start the contest, West Haven held a 19-12 lead at the half with a pounding ground game and efficient passing.

The Westies opened the scoring just 1:43 into the game when Malachi Wright blocked a North Haven punt from six yards out, and scooped up the loose ball in the endzone for a 7-0 lead.

The Indians, looking for their own set of stars, responded in emphatic fashion, marching 96 yards in 16 plays to get on the scoreboard.

Dodge capped North Haven’s second drive with a 4-yard run, but the the extra point failed and the Westies hung on to a 7-6 lead with 1:59 left in the first quarter.

The Westies were held to just five yards in their only first-quarter drive and punted to North Haven. The Indians then used nine plays, eight on the ground, and took a 12-7 lead when Dodge scored from one-yard out with 9:07 left in the first half.

The rest of the second quarter was all West Haven as the two teams reversed roles. West Haven outgained the Indians 126-7 for the remainder of the half, and more importantly, scored the final two touchdowns to take a seven-point lead at the half.

West Haven marched 82 yards in 10 plays, with runs of 17 yards by Justin Medina, 16 yards by Juan Gutierrez, and 20 yards by Jordan Berrios, before Berrios plowed in from one yard out with 4:51 left in the half for a 13-12 West Haven lead.

After the Indians were held on three plays, West Haven took advantage of a short field, going 38 yards on seven plays. The drive saw the Westies convert a fourth down one play before Berrios hit Demerick Blackford with 28 seconds remaining in the half.

NORTH HAVEN 20, WEST HAVEN 19

NORTH HAVEN  6 6 0 8 — 20
WEST HAVEN  7 12 0 0 — 19

W – Malachi Wright 6 yard punt block (Isaac Morales kick) 10:17
N – Nicholas Dodge 4 run (Kick failed) 1:59
N – Nicholas Dodge 1 run (Run failed) 9:07
W – Jordan Berrios 1 run (Run failed) 4:51
W – Jordan Berrios to Demerick Blackford 13 pass (Kick failed) 0:28
N – Nicholas Dodge 5 run (Dodge run)

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