NORTH HAVEN — It’s hard for teams who have seen the North Haven single wing offense to stop it.
When you haven’t seen it, it’s even harder.
Staples found out what Southern Connecticut Conference opponents have known for years Friday night as the Indians rushed for 347 yards and eight touchdowns in a 53-20 Connecticut Football Alliance victory over the Wreckers at Vanacore Field.
“I’m sure they had difficulty simulating us,” North Haven coach Tony Sagnella. “If you don’t see it, it’s hard.”
— Dave Phillips (@davephillips41) October 19, 2019
Staples not only one week, but with a bye last week, the Wreckers had two weeks to prepare for a total change in the offensive philosophy they are used to seeing.
“It’s tough, and not only is it tough, but they do a really good job of it,” Staples coach Adam Behrends said. “The teams we’re used to playing it’s a lot more of the spread stuff. For one week, you have to scrap all the stuff you’ve built and get ready for what they’re doing. Hats off to them. They have tough kids and they run it very well.”
Jaden Watson did a lot of the damage with five touchdowns and rushed for 105 yards, while Corey Hooks added 165 yards and 2 touchdowns for North Haven.
“My line did what they were supposed to do,” Watson said. “They stayed on their blocks and I tried to get into the end zone as much as possible.”
Sagnella was happy with the Indians’ performance.
“We had to play well,” Sagnella said. “We’ve struggled to do that. We have some ability and hard working guys. I think we can be pretty good if we can get out of our own way.”
Watson scored four of his touchdowns in the opening half as North Haven dominated the first 22 minutes, taking a 27-0 early in the second quarter.
Staples never was able to run the ball much at all and quarterback Jackson Zager struggled for most of the first half throwing the ball as he completed just one of his first 13 passes. He ended the night 13 for 38 for 185 yards.
Staples finally got on the board with 28 seconds left in the first half when Zager connected with Jake Thaw for a 12-yard touchdown pass.
“It was hard for us to get the run game going,” Behrends said. “It’s tough to run the ball when you’re down. We have to play better collectively as a team.”
Zager threw a pair of touchdown passes in the second half, one for 12 yards to Thaw and another to A.J. Konstanty as the Wreckers closed it to 40-20 at one point before North Haven scored the final 13 points.
“I’m proud of our kids. They kept swinging,” Behrends said. “I heard a lot of kids with 12 minutes left who were saying how we could come back. I’m really proud of how our culture is changing at Staples.”
North Haven improved to 2-3, while Staples fell to 2-3.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Jaden Watson, North Haven: Rushed for 105 yards and five touchdowns. Corey Hooks, North Haven, rushed for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns.
“If he played football for four years, he would be really special. He’s starting to figure it all out. Tonight was one of the nights, he looked at his best.” – North Haven coach Tony Sagnella on running back Jaden Watson.
NORTH HAVEN 53, STAPLES 20
STAPLES 0 14 6 0 — 20
NORTH HAVEN 19 15 6 13 — 53
- [NH] Jaden Watson: 37-yard run (Chase DiCarlo kick) at 9:17, 1st QTR
- [NH] Corey Hooks: 7-yard run at 5:55, 1st QTR
- [NH] Jaden Watson: 16-yard run at 5:04, 1st QTR
- [NH] Jaden Watson: 9-yard run (Corey Hooks run) at 6:55, 2nd QTR
- [NH] Jaden Watson: 16-yard run (Chase DiCarlo kick) at 2:59, 2nd QTR
- [STA] Jake Thaw: 12-yard pass from Jackson Zager at 0:28, 2nd QTR
- [STA] AJ Konstanty: 6-yard pass from Jackson Zager (Drew Halperin ) at 8:24, 3rd QTR
- [NH] Corey Hooks: 18-yard run at 7:57, 3rd QTR
- [STA] Henry Beck: 3-yard run (Drew Halperin kick) at 3:41, 3rd QTR
- [NH] Jaden Watson: 2-yard run at 10:08, 4th QTR
- [NH] Joseph Vitale: 16-yard pass from Justin White (Chase DiCarlo kick) at 4:30, 4th QTR