Guilford earned its first win of the season with a 35-15 victory over Lyman Hall on Friday.
It’s reward? A game on the road against SCC Division I power West Haven (2-1).
It’s one of three contests against Division I opponents for the Indians, members of Division II, this season.
Guilford lost to Shelton 41-7 on Sept. 19. The Indians visit rival Hand in the regular-season finale on Nov. 26.
West Haven is coming off its first loss of the season, 42-28, to unbeaten Cheshire.
“The schedule is the schedule,” Guilford coach Tom Unger said. “We tell them that we will compete, and we tell them to make it a game going into the fourth quarter, and to put the pressure on our opponent. We just teach our guys to compete no matter who we’re playing and what the odds are.”
Unger said he’s never tried to make excuses for the schedule, and that his squad enjoys the challenge of facing these Division I opponents.
The Indians have not defeated a Division I opponent since knocking off both Hamden and Hand in 2006. Guilford tied Hamden in 2007.
“It’s a neat test,” Unger said. “We’ve always tried to put our best foot forward in those games. It’s a fun challenge for the kids. It’s a good chance to fire them up and build on that underdog role.”
In the victory over Lyman Hall, junior quarterback Jack Jankura rushed 21 times for 224 yards. He also threw a touchdown pass.
Jankura is in his first year as the team’s starter after the graduation of Joe Nault. Jankura started against East Haven last season and played the second half in a victory over Branford.
The Indians run an option-based offense.
“He runs the offense well,” Unger said. “He’s a smart kid and a very good athlete. He’s made a ton of progress. You’ve seen him start to play faster. We’ve put a lot on his plate, but he’s starting to become more comfortable.”
Juniors Mike Filley, Nate Tepley and Ben Fazzina have all seen action in the backfield. Tepley rushed 14 times for 81 yards and two scores against the Trojans.
Seniors Tom Stokes and Tyler Mulone have anchored the offensive line.
Senior Tony Pensa is the team’s top receiver with seven catches for 115 yards and one touchdown.
“He’s a very good wide receiver,” Unger said. “He does a lot of little things that people don’t see.”
Tepley leads the team with 21 tackles, while senior Jake Lundberg has made a team-high three sacks. The 5-foot-11, 185 pound Lundberg is also a standout wrestler.
“He’s a bit undersized,” Unger said. “We have him in a hybrid defensive end/linebacker role, but he’s extremely strong and a very hard worker in the weight room. He’s quick off the ball, and he has a motor, which really helps him.”
New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli earned his 300th career victory with a 35-20 win over Greenwich this past Saturday.
Marinelli, whose daughter Francesca followed up her father’s milestone by giving birth to a granddaughter, Theresa, on Sunday, will now attempt to win the program’s 500th game when the Rams travel to Fairfield Warde for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Thursday.
New Canaan has an overall record of 499-273-24 since fielding its first team in 1928.
According to the Connecticut High School Record Book, the Rams’ 499 wins are sixth-best in state history.
Ansonia owns the state record for wins with 763 followed by New Britain (743), Hillhouse (607), Southington (530) and Derby (521). Shelton (495) is closing in on the 500 win club.
Marinelli has a 281-90-6 record, including nine state championships, since becoming New Canaan’s coach in 1981, and an overall record of 300-97-7. Marinelli previously coached at Mamaroneck and Yorktown, New York.
Marinelli will square off against a familiar face when the Rams and Mustangs meet. Warde coach Duncan Della Volpe was an assistant at New Canaan for 10 seasons.
“He was one of those guys that helped me get to where I am (300 wins),” Marinelli said. “I’ll be forever grateful to him. He’s a great coach and a good friend.”
Warde (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season when a last-second field goal lifted Trinity Catholic to a 17-14 victory over the Mustangs on Saturday. Warde participated in New Canaan’s Grip It & Rip It passing league this past summer.
“I was very impressed with how they handled themselves,” Marinelli said. “They’re a program that’s starting to turn around.”
Fourth-ranked Ansonia (3-0) may be without quarterback Jai’Quan McKnight and tailback Tajik Bagley for its Naugatuck Valley League showdown against Seymour (2-0) on Thursday.
Bagley suffered a sprained ankle during the Chargers’ 36-6 victory over rival Derby on Sept. 19 and did not play in last week’s win over Wilby. McKnight also missed the Wilby game with a lower leg issue.
Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said he is uncertain about either players’ status for the highly anticipated contest against the Wildcats.
The Chargers host Seymour at 6 p.m. at Jarvis Stadium. Ansonia has won 46 straight games, but the winning streak could be in jeopardy if Bagley and McKnight are inactive.
Mike Pucci’s Game Balls
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
- Bridgeport Central’s Mykel Morris: Had 22 carries for 285 yards and three touchdowns and completed 7 of 14 passes for 220 yards in a 24-21 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe. Scored a 79-yard TD run with a minute remaining and no timeouts.
- Cheshire’s Andrew Yamin: Rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-28 win over West Haven.
- Hand’s Nick van Dell: Passed for 339 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-24 win over Wilbur Cross.
- Ledyard’s JoJo Shumaker: Rushed for 189 yards and scored four times in a 42-13 victory over Stonington.
- Connor Field, Granby: Ran for a school-record 337 yards and four touchdowns to lead Granby to its first victory of the season, 51-20 over SMSA/University.
- Dario Highsmith, Middletown: Ran for 220 yards and four TDs in the first half of Middletown’s 34-7 win over Bristol Eastern.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
- Cheshire’s Chris Hillburn: Had two sacks and recovered a fumble in a 42-28 victory over West Haven.
- Derby’s Mike Mauro: Made 15 tackles, including five for a loss, in a 46-20 win over Crosby.
- North Branford’s Austin Calamita: Scored on fumble returns of 47 and 54 yards in a 68-19 win over Lewis Mills. Calamita also had three rushing touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
- Maloney’s Nashawn Rhodes: Returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown in a 49-20 victory over Farmington.
- Staples’ Paul Tricarico: Kicked field goals of 37 and 24 yards and made all four extra points he attempted in a 34-0 win over Westhill.
- St. Joseph’s Lars Pedersen: Scored on a 99-yard kickoff return in a 21-17 victory over Ridgefield.
- Trinity Catholic’s Sam Ruzzi: Kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1.1 seconds remaining in a 17-14 victory over Fairfield Warde.
TEAMS OF THE WEEK
- Cheshire: Handed then No. 8 West Haven its first loss in a 42-28 victory as the Rams remained unbeaten.
- New Canaan: Defeated rival Greenwich 35-20 to earn coach Lou Marinelli his 300th career victory.
- Plainfield: Knocked off previously unbeaten New London 21-17 to move to 3-0.
- Maloney: Defeated Farmington 49-20 and moved to 3-0 under new coach Kevin Frederick
PLAYS OF THE WEEK
ON THE AIR
- Seymour at Ansonia, Thursday, 6 p.m. — WELI 960-AM, CPTV Sports (tape delay for Oct. 7)
- Fairfield Prep at Branford, Friday, 7 p.m. — WELI 960-AM
- Fitch at East Lyme, Thursday, 6:30 p.m. — WJJF 94.9-FM
- St. Paul at Woodland, Friday, 7 — CPTV Sports
- Trinity Catholic at Greenwich, Thursday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. — WGCH 1490-AM
- Wilby at Wolcott, Friday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m. — WATR 1320-AM
- St. Joseph at Darien, Thursday, Oct. 2, 3 p.m. — MSG Varsity
- Stamford at Staples, Thursday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. — WWPT 90.3-FM
GET OUT AND GO
- St. Joseph (3-0) at Darien (3-0), Thursday, 3 p.m.: Clash of Top 10 teams should be one of Week 4’s most competitive games.
- Seymour (2-0) at Ansonia (3-0), Thursday, 6 p.m.: Seymour, coming off a bye, had two weeks to prepare for the Chargers, who are riding a 46-game winning streak.
- Glastonbury (1-2) at Norwich Free Academy (2-0), Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: Intriguing non-conference battle between Class LL schools.
- North Branford (3-0) at Valley Regional/Old Lyme (3-0), Thursday, 6:30 p.m.: We’ll know more about both teams after this Pequot Conference contest.
- Hand (2-1) at North Haven (2-1), Thursday, 7 p.m.: Never easy to play at Vanacore Field. Just ask 2013 Xavier.