MILFORD – The last time Bill Weyrauch and his Lyman Hall football team traveled south to Milford, Weyrauch felt his team was not ready to answer the bell in a season-opening loss against Law.
Three games later, those feelings have changed.
Behind three touchdowns and an interception from Shakespeare Rodriguez, and a quick start by the Trojans, Lyman Hall defeated Foran 20-12 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Tier 3 contest at Vito DeVito Field at Foran High Friday evening.
“I told the guys the last time we came to Milford, we came off the bus and we were not ready to play,” Weyrauch said. “I said we are not going to let that happen again. We made some big plays to start the game and I think that set the tone.”
— Lyman Hall Trojans (@LHHSAthletics) October 5, 2019
While Rodriguez was one of the stars of the game for the Trojans, it was a team effort which helped sealed the win, including an interception by Jabari Robinson in the final seconds with Foran looking to even the game.
“I thought the defense was awesome tonight,” Weyrauch said. “We played a tough game tonight. I thought it was big for us to hold them in the second half.”
The Lions (2-2) had to adjust on the fly as starting quarterback Andrew Janik left with an injury in the second quarter and did not return until Foran’s opening drive of the fourth quarter.
In between, receiver turned quarterback Ben Geier completed 4-of-9 passes for 62 yards, including leading a drive of 79 yards in eight plays, capped with a 19-yard scoring run by Teddy Mauro with 2 minutes, 26 seconds to go in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 14-12.
“I am certainly unbelievably proud of these guys,” Foran coach Tom Drew said. “Ben (Geier) is one of our better receivers and he is also our backup quarterback. I thought he did a fantastic job running the show with very little reps. I am very proud of him. We had a lot of guys showing a lot of grit tonight.”
With a 14-12 lead, Lyman Hall quarterback S.P. Pragano connected with Rodriguez for their second touchdown connection of the game. The 73-yard strike put the Trojans up by eight with 3:51 gone by in the second half.
“I thought this was a great team win,” Rodriguez said. “I loved the effort we got from everyone. I thought the biggest play was the sealing interception by Jabari Robinson. That sealed the game for us. This was a great team win. We made some big plays defensively. We knew coming in they were a tough team and were not going to back down. We knew they hit hard, but we had to hit them harder.”
The first half started quickly and ended evenly in statistics, but different on the scoreboard. Two first quarter touchdowns by Rodriguez helped lead the Trojans to a 14-12 halftime lead, but it was the Foran defense which prevented further damage.
After the Trojans accumulated 158 yards in the first 12 minutes, Foran held Lyman Hall to 45 yards of offense in the second quarter. Included in the defensive resurgence in the first half for the Lions was an interception in the end zone by Will Phelan with 20 seconds to go in the first half.
Lyman Hall (3-1) needed just 48 seconds of the contest to get on the scoreboard as quarterback Pragano hit Rodrriguez with a 20 yard pass and Rodriguez then went the distance untouched for a 79-yard touchdown reception. Pragano then hit Luke O’Reardon on the two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Lions needed just seven plays to respond and get in the end zone as a 65-yard drive was capped when Janik hit Jack Dawid with a 35-yard scoring strike, capping a drive which saw Janik connect on three passes for 61 yards. The extra point was blocked and Foran trailed by two points with 2:58 gone by in the contest.
The early fireworks continued on Lyman Hall’s next drive as the Trojans marched 70 yards in 13 plays, with nine of those plays on the ground. The drive was capped with a 1-yard scoring run by Rodriguez for a 14-6 lead with 3:35 remaining in the opening quarter.
The pace of the game slowed in the second quarter, with the only scoring coming from the Lions. After Foran missed a short field goal early in the quarter, the Lions got within 14-12 with 2:26 remaining in the half.
An 8-play drive saw Geier replace an injured Janik and direct the Lions 79 yards for the score. Geier had a big 22-yard strike to Phelan, before Mauro ran in from 19 yards. The conversion run failed, keeping Lyman Hall on top 14-12, before the Phelan interception.
Pragano finished 14-of-20, for 237 yards and two touchdowns for Lyman Hall. Janik was 13-of-22 for 164 yards in the loss for the Lions.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Shakespeare Rodriguez, Lyman Hall: Senior scored three touchdown, two in the air and one on the ground, while also coming up with a big third quarter interception.
“Three (wins) in a row feels good, especially going into the bye week. We have a lot to work on the rest of the way, but this is a nice win for us.” — Lyman Hall coach Bill Weyrauch