SHELTON — Jake Roberts hit Paul Ferrigno for two long touchdown passes as Shelton stayed unbeaten and moved closer to earning a home playoff game in Saturday’s 42-12 win over West Haven.
Shelton (9-0) can clinch a home quarterfinal game by beating Derby (4-5) on Thanksgiving. A win would give the Gaels either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, while a loss could drop them only as far as fifth. They entered Saturday’s game first in the Class LL playoff point rankings and No. 4 in the GameTimeCT poll.
“We’re playing our best football right now,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “We’re hitting on all cylinders right now and we’re healthy. … We just have to keep it rolling.”
The loss officially eliminated West Haven from playoff contention. The Blue Devils (5-4) entered the day as the last team mathematically alive, though they would’ve needed to beat Shelton on Saturday and Fairfield Prep (8-1) next week, and have New Canaan (7-2), Staples (7-2) and East Hartford (7-2) all lose their regular-season finales.
Shelton running back Jack Carr carried six times for 38 yards and two touchdowns on Senior Night, taking direct snaps in the red zone and following his blockers all the way to the end zone. Roberts completed 10 of 15 passes for 196 yards and two scores before coming out at halftime. Georgio Ghazal added 52 rushing yards on five carries.
Shelton effectively put the game out of reach in the second quarter when it onside kicked after going up 21-0, recovered it, and scored one play later when receiver David Yakowicz took a reverse 44 yards to the end zone. Shelton scored twice more before halftime to make it 42-0 at the break.
West Haven eliminated Shelton in last year’s playoffs, 46-7, but was hit hard by graduation after appearing in the Class LL semifinals. The Blue Devils’ Wing-T offense led by first-year quarterback Jordan Berrios had trouble moving the ball against Shelton’s starting defense, but running back Jaden Grant was able to find the end zone twice in the second half.
The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was postponed due to wet, heavy snow on Shelton’s new turf. Players, coaches and parents shoveled off the field Friday night to get it ready for Saturday’s game.
“It was actually a good time,” said Carr, who went home after Friday’s practice, grabbed a shovel and came back to the field. “It was great team bonding. We were here for 2-3 hours just shoveling. It was fun.
“We didn’t make it mandatory,” the running back added. “We just said we’re going out if anyone wants to come. It was nice to see that people actually care enough to come out. We’re all one team.”
Roy could only remember having to shovel off a field one time before, roughly 15 years ago.
“There was a lot of snow on this field and we knew we probably wouldn’t be able to play this football game (without shoveling),” Roy said. “It’s unique. It doesn’t happen very often, but it was the only way to get it done. We came together, we got some pizzas and shoveled the field off.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Shelton’s Paul Ferrigno. He was Roberts’ security blanket on offense, hauling in seven passes for 151 yards and touchdowns from 57 and 49 yards out.
Shelton coach Jeff Roy on the versatility of his offense: “We mix it up. We run the no-huddle, wristband offense and we take what the defense gives us. If they want to take way the running game, we can throw it. If they want to take away the passing game, we can run the ball. We like mixing it up and try keep teams off balance and see what they give us and try to execute our offense.”
West Haven closes the regular season by hosting Fairfield Prep (8-1) Wednesday night. Shelton hosts Derby (4-5) on Thanksgiving morning.
SHELTON 42, WEST HAVEN 12
WEST HAVEN 0 0 6 6 – 12
SHELTON 14 28 0 0 – 42
S – Jake Roberts 1 run (Nicholas Andrade kick)
S – Paul Ferrigno 57 pass from Roberts (Andrade kick)
S – Jack Carr 4 run (Andrade kick)
S – David Yakowicz 44 run (Andrade kick)
S – Ferrigno 49 pass from Roberts (Andrade kick)
S – Carr 2 run (Andrade kick)
WH – Jaden Grant 4 run (pass failed)
WH – Grant 20 run (run failed)
Records: Shelton 9-0, West Haven 5-4