Of the two football teams in West Haven, one may have been a little overlooked so far this season.West Haven
, coming off a 5-5 season, pulled off a stunning upset of No. 6 and defending Class L champion Notre Dame (West Haven)
28-27 Friday night in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I East game when Rodrigo Echeandia's PAT attempt to tie the game missed to the right late in the fourth quarter.
ND received one more chance, but senior Tremayne Barnes
intercepted a pass by Notre Dame senior quarterback Sean Goldrich with less than a minute to go to seal it.
West Haven's ability to run on the usually staunch ND run defense was a key factor in the upset and even surprised Westies head coach Ed McCarthy a little.
"We ran our base plays really well," McCarthy said. "We ran for 331 yards and we had 440-something yards total offense. We were mildly surprised or pleasantly surprised that we were able to do it with our base plays."
McCarthy said his run game features two breakaway-style backs.
"We like to think so," McCarthy said of having breakaway capability. "We're very small. The smallest team we've ever coached but good overall quickness and we have two brothers a senior and a freshman and they both can go at any time."
Those brothers, senior Kevin Philips
and freshman Ervin Philips
, who scored the winning touchdown on a 68-yard run, each ran for more than 150 yards.
Though ND (2-2, 0-1 SCC Div. I East) also put some numbers up on offense, the Westies defense came through in big moments. One Green Knights' score came on a 10-yard drive on a highly disputed turnover when Westies junior quarterback Nick Nieves' pass to Barnes was ruled complete and became a fumble recovered by ND.
"(ND's) got some weapons on offense," McCarthy said. "The first drive they went right through us. They scored in about nine or 10 plays, in less than three minutes. It's hard to emulate their speed with scout teams, so I think we had a little problem. But other than that and the 10-yard drive, I thought we did some good things. As I said, they've got some weapons and it's kind of tough to totally shut them down to say the least.
"Up front, we're solid," McCarthy added. "Our defense, we're light as we say, but we do have good team quickness. Our D-Line has played really well. Probably our best player on defense is (senior tackle) Shaun Reiss
(6-2, 244). But last night they did not play particularly well. (ND) had almost 300 yards, too. Our outside linebackers, Kevin Philips
and Pat Burroughs
, have really been outstanding for us."
It appears West Haven (4-0, 1-0) has to be added to the mix for an SCC Division title and a state playoff spot in LL, something that was considered unlikely at the beginning of the season.
"We're coming off 5-5, so we certainly can't say anything," said McCarthy, who entered the season second in state career coaching victories and now has 297 since 1971 at St. Joseph (Trumbull) and West Haven. "But Notre Dame was No. 1 last year and Cheshire was the state champion in LL and (current No. 1) Xavier obviously, there's a lot of very good teams in our league. That did a lot to put (us) under the radar a little bit.
"There was a time when that wasn't the case. From '01 to '06, those six years, we lost a total of five (regular season) games. We were the hunted during that time."STORYLINES
* In football, Hand (Madison)
handed No. 8 Cheshire
its second loss in a row with a 14-13 victory in another SCC Division I East game. The Rams' late-game rally fell short after trailing 14-0 at halftime.
came back after trailing early against Bridgeport Central to win 34-12 in a big FCIAC matchup. Reserve quarterback Brian Gallo
, subbing for Ian Milne who was injured in the third quarter, ran 38 yards for one score and the Eagles defense and special teams provided two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
* St. Joseph (Trumbull)
and Trinity Catholic (Stamford)
put up 105 points in the Cadets' 55-50 FCIAC victory. The teams combined for 927 yards of total offense, including 284 in the air by St. Joseph quarterback Joe Della Vecchia
* Brendan Lesch, Staples (Westport) soccer:
Scored two goals for the No. 9 Wreckers in a 3-0 victory over Danbury.* Mitchell Taintor and Arthur Atkin, Edwin O. Smith (Storrs) soccer:
Each scored a goal in the No. 1 Panthers' 2-1 victory over Tolland.* Connor Rog, Fairfield Prep cross country:
Won the championship race and led Prep to the team victory at the Wickham Invitational in Manchester with a time of 15 minutes, 49 seconds over 3.1 miles.* Lindsay Crevoiserat, Glastonbury cross country:
Won the Wickham Invitational championship race in 18:23 while helping the Tomahawks to the team title.* Dan Manfredi and Adrian Kukula, Farmington soccer:
Each scored once in No. 7 Farmington's 2-1 victory over No. 2 Simsbury.* Alexis Gilhuly, Guilford soccer:
Scored a second-half goal to lift the unranked Indians to a 1-1 tie with large school No. 8 Hand (Madison).* Sam Russell, Glastonbury soccer:
Scored two goals in the No. 5 Tomahawks' 3-2 victory over No. 8 Wethersfield.* Steven Buczek, Bunnell (Stratford) football:
Gained 230 yards rushing on 20 carries and scored two second-half touchdowns in a 29-23 SWC victory over New Fairfield.* Ryan Belote, Maloney (Meriden) football:
Threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-7 victory over Fermi (Enfield).LOOKING AHEAD
* In football, No. 4 Masuk (Monroe)
, 4-0, and junior quarterback Casey Cochran
travel to Startford for a big Friday night SWC matchup with Bunnell (Stratford) and sophomore quarterback Bryan Castelot
* In boys soccer, small school No. 1 Old Lyme
(9-0) meets No. 6 Cromwell
* In girls soccer, small school No. 2 Northwest Catholic (West Hartford)
(9-0) plays large school Hall (West Hartford)
boys soccer and golf head coach Ed Lynch earned his 1,000th high school coaching victory with a win over Northwest Catholic (West Hartford) Monday. After a loss to Farmington Tuesday, Lynch is 273-100-42 in soccer since taking over in 1988. He is also the national high school leader in golf victories with a record of 727-53-10 since 1981.
girls swimming head coach Ed Aston notched his 400th coaching victory Friday with a 116-70 win over Glastonbury. Aston is 400-19-1 in dual meets in 36 years. His teams have won 25 Class and 13 State Open championships. The Rams also hold the national record for consecutive dual-meet victories with a current streak of 271.Paul Rosano, the former assistant sport editor of The Hartford Courant and sports editor of The New Haven Register, covers Connecticut for MaxPreps.com. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.