CHESHIRE >> Cheshire head coach Don Drust knew he would have to pick his poison Friday night against West Haven and its running game. With plenty of depth on the offensive side, the Westies presented numerous problems for the Rams.
Cheshire was unable to contain the Westies as quarterback Duane Gary and backs Ervin Philips and Marshont Little combined for 278 yards on the ground in a 48-20 victory in Southern Connecticut Conference action at the Maclary Athletic Complex.
Tied at 13, Zatrell Lyons scored on a 75-yard kickoff return to take some air out of the Rams and give West Haven the lead. Then Gary made the play of the night, scoring on a 10-yard touchdown run as time expired in the first half to give the Westies a 27-13 lead.
“Both plays were big,” Gary said after his team improved to 2-1. “I knew we had to get in there. I think it sparked us. This offense can be really good. We have a lot of threats.”
Gary finished with 107 yards rushing and Philips ran for 95 yards. Both scored two touchdowns. Gary also threw a 55-yard touchdown strike to Philips in the second quarter which gave West Haven a 13-7 lead.
“I think this showed our balance,” Philips said after his team amassed 373 yards of total offense. “We have a lot of guys who can score. It was huge to get the kickoff for a score and then we just did what we had to do. This is a big win for us.”
Philips gave West Haven a 7-0 lead 3:44 into the game as he raced 28 yards for a score one play after Norm Doss picked off Cheshire quarterback Josh MacNiven.
“They are a good team,” Drust said of West Haven. “They are very athletic. You can’t make mistakes against them. If you do, it’s not a 5-yard gain, it’s a touchdown.
“High school football is all about momentum. I think it swung a little bit, but we had our chances. We did not capitalize on the opportunities we had. We did not make some plays that were there for us.”
MacNiven answered with a 6-yard touchdown run to tie the game on the first play of the second quarter. Gary responded by hitting Philips for the long score 3:17 later before Tony Marcucilli’s 1-yard touchdown run evened the game for the Rams.
“We had some balance tonight,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. “That is what we are trying to do. We know what the one guy (Philips) can do, but our fullback (Little) is tough, too. And our quarterback did some good things.”
The momentum would end there for Cheshire as Lyons took the ensuing kickoff to the house.
“The kickoff was huge,” McCarthy said as he moved within four wins of owning the state record. “Then we get the score right before the half. We were out of timeouts and I think (Gary) just made the play up.”
Lyons’ score marked the first of five straight touchdowns for the Westies. Gary increased the West Haven lead to 34-13 with a 29-yard score in the third quarter and Philips (12 yards) and Little (45 yards) put West Haven ahead 48-13.
Cheshire (1-2) was in this game through three quarters, but turnovers hurt the Rams. John Brolet picked off MacNiven in the second quarter to set up Gary’s score before the half and Marshall Davis also recovered a fumble.
MacNiven finished 5 of 16 for 89 yards and Jack Cunningham rushed for 98 yards in the loss for Cheshire.
West Haven 48, Cheshire 20
West Haven 7 20 7 14 0 — 48
Cheshire 0 13 0 7 0 — 20
- W—Ervin Philips 28 run (Tayvon Gibbs kick)
- C—Josh McNiven 6 run (Matt DAndrea kick)
- W—Ervin Philips 55 pass from Duane Gary (kick failed)
- C—Tony Marcucilli 1 run (kick failed)
- W—Zatrell Lyons 75 kickoff ret (Gibbs kick)
- W—Duane Gary 10 run (Gibbs kick)
- W—Duane Gary 29 run (Gibbs kick)
- W—Ervin Philips 12 run (Gibbs kick)
- W—Marshont Little 45 run (Gibbs kick)
- C—Tony Marcucilli 1 run (DAndrea kick)
Team records: Cheshire 2-1; West Haven 2-1