WALLINGFORD — Law’s football team walked onto Fitzgerald Field at Lyman Hall knowing they were going to need a miracle if they were going to return to the Class M playoffs this season, beginning Friday night.
Fortunately, this team has a way with miracles. The Lawmen got a minor one when Wolcott’s administration forced its football team to forfeit this week’s game vs. Sacred Heart/Kaynor Tech, as punishment for vandalizing St. Paul’s locker room several weeks ago.
And with the rain pouring down, virtually eliminating any semblance of a passing game, the Lawmen turned to senior, 5-foot-11, 175-pound back Mike Plaskon to make sure they gave themselves a playoff shot on Thanksgiving Day vs. Foran.
Miracle Mike, as always, delivered.
Plaskon carried a career-high 36 times for 225 yards and scored three touchdowns as Law topped Lyman Hall 20-7.
“We talked at halftime, you’ve got one more game after this if we don’t make states,” Law coach Erik Larka said. “So you’ve got to leave it all out. You’ve to go out a legend.
“Right now, I think he’s one of the best players ever to put on the black and gold.”
By no means was this Plaskon’s best statistical night in a Law uniform — he ran for a career-best 263 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 40-32 victory over Guilford.
But Larka ranked this performance up there with Plaskon’s heroics in last year’s playoff-clinching victory vs. Foran on Thanksgiving.
“I just try to do what the coaches need me to do and what’s best for the team,” said Plaskon, who missed Law’s first three games this year due to injury. “This was probably one of the biggest games of the season for us. I feel great.
“When (the announcer) said I had (36) carries, I was stunned. I’ve never had that many before.”
Both teams’ offense were sputtering in the sloppy conditions. Law (6-3) only led 6-0 at halftime on Plaskon’s 9-yard run.
Finally, Law just put Plaskon in the wildcat formation to start the second half and let him do his thing.
He scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach with a 15-yard score with 6:28 remaining.
“It’s incredible blocking for him,” said senior lineman Austin Danville. “He guides us. As long as we do our jobs up front, he takes it for us.”
Lyman Hall recovered a Law fumble on its own 41-yard line to start the third quarter and drove the field, setting up first and goal from the 10.
But its chance to score died with a tipped-away pass on fourth and goal from the Law 5 midway through the third quarter.
It didn’t crack the end zone until a Zach Kizer scored on a 1-yard run with 3:50 remaining. But it was too late.
Austin Ruiz led Lyman Hall with 136 yards on 21 carries. The Trojans fell to 5-3 and behind a bottleneck of teams in Class M (including Law) for five remaining playoff spots. They face Guilford next week and get Sheehan on Thanksgiving.
Law, meanwhile, needs to beat Foran on Thanksgiving and hopes enough breaks its way to reach the state playoffs — just like last year.
“It’s almost a carbon copy of last year,” Larka said. “It’s almost the exact same scenario. It’s really weird. It’ll be interesting.”
LAW 20, LYMAN HALL 7
LAW 6 0 0 14 — 20
LYMAN HALL 0 0 0 7 — 7
L–Mike Plaskon 9 run (kick failed)
L–Plaskon 3 run (run failed)
L–Plaskon 15 run (Zach Hochman pass from Zach Smith)
LH–Zach Kizer 1 run (Jake Lynn kick)
Law 6-3, Lyman Hall 5-3