HAMDEN >> With Ervin Philips and Duane Gary relegated to the sidelines for the second half of a romp over Hamden Friday night, the two seniors had ample time to figure out how they would execute the ice bath for head coach Ed McCarthy.
Well aware of the situation, McCarthy had one eye on the game and the other on the sidelines.
The duo waited until the final seconds ticked away, and, along with the rest of the team, quickly gave McCarthy the victory bath in recognition of a cherished milestone.
In his 43rd season as head coach, his 31st at West Haven, McCarthy set the Connecticut record for wins by a high school football coach.
With their 49-7 Southern Connecticut Conference Division I win at Hamden, the Westies secured McCarthy’s name in the record book with 322 career wins, surpassing the previous mark set by former Ledyard coach Bill Mignault.
“I will reflect back when it is all over and really be proud of what was accomplished,” McCarthy said after picking up his 230th win with the Westies. “I look back to all the coaches that were before us and what they did. It is really something I will be proud of.
“I have had great players and tremendous assistant coaches. And I have been able to have good health. Some others were in the prime of coaching and had to give it up. I have been fortunate.”
McCarthy, who started his head coaching career at St. Joseph and won 92 games there, had to wait one more week than he would have liked to set the mark. A season-opening loss to Greenwich has put the Westies in must-win mode and the team again responded Friday evening with its sixth straight victory.
West Haven (6-1), ranked No. 7 in the Register Top 10 poll, scored 29 seconds into the game, then finished with 43 unanswered points to cruise to the win.
“It is fitting he holds the record because no one respects, enjoys or loves high school football more than Eddie,” said McCarthy’s assistant coach of 28 years, Rich Boshea.
“I feel a part of it. I can say, for many years, I coached with the winningest high school coach in Connecticut ever. That’s great to be a part of.”
On a milestone night, the Westies were dominant, holding Hamden to 100 total yards of offense while gaining 439. Philips scored three touchdowns and ran for 117 yards on 11 carries, all in the first half.
“It is great he has the most wins as a coach,” Philips said. “It is a great thing just to be part of it. He has helped me elevate my game. He is a funny guy, a great guy. He is a good person who will help out anyone.”
Philips scored on West Haven’s second play of the game when he raced down the right sideline for a 49-yard score and a 6-0 lead.
Hamden’s one shining moment came when Antonio Collins recovered a West Haven fumble at the Westies’ 18. The Green Dragons scored three plays later on Maliek Williamson’s 5-yard run for a 7-6 lead with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
“They scored that quick one on the second play and that hurt,” Hamden coach Todd Dowty said. “We were able to come back with the touchdown, but they got a couple of quick ones. That was big.
“(McCarthy) has been a stalwart in Connecticut football for years. He runs a very successful system. He gets players to come out. Eddie does a great job. It is quite an accomplishment to put together that record. My congratulations to him.”
West Haven held Hamden to just 27 yards for the remainder of the first half and took over the game. Anton Graham scored from 17 yards out and Philips followed with a 14-yard score for a 22-7 lead just 51 seconds into the second quarter.
Philips’ third score of the game, an 8-yard run with 6:35 left in the half, increased the margin to 29-7. Gary hit John Brolet with a 28-yard score and Marshont Little ran in from 11 yards out for a 43-7 halftime lead.
The big lead allowed West Haven to get everyone in the game, including freshman Tim McCarthy, who played the entire second half at quarterback on his father’s record-breaking night.
“It is a well-deserved honor,” West Haven athletic director Jon Capone said. “He puts a lot of hard work into breaking everything down. A lot of people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. They only know what happens on Friday night. It is a year-round preparation.”
Gary finished with 43 yards rushing and 28 yards passing, Chris Franco had 78 yards on the ground and Little had 55 yards.
Hamden, which started the season with two wins but is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, fell to 3-4. Williamson carried 10 times for 73 yards and a score for the Green Dragons.
West Haven 49, Hamden 7
West Haven 14 29 6 0 — 49
Hamden 7 0 0 0 — 7
W—Ervin Philips 49 run (Kick Failed)
H—Maliek Williamson 5 run (Angelo DiMonaco Kick)
W—Anton Graham 17 run (Ervin Philips Run)
W—Ervin Philips 14 run (Philips Run)
W—Ervin Philips 8 run (Philips Run)
W—John Brolet 28 pass from Duane Gary (Tayvon Gibbs Kick)
W—Marshont Little 11 run (Gibbs Kick)
W—Tyree Burke 40 run (Run Failed)
Team records: Hamden 3-4; West Haven 6-1