Mountaineers rebound after last week's loss
By PETER WALLACE
Register Citizen Staff
FALLS VILLAGE - Housatonic High School's football team went to 3-1 in the Uncas Division of the Pequot League with a 38-20 win over Canton (0-4) Saturday afternoon.
"Team morale is the highest I've ever seen it," said junior running back Will Kennedy, who led the Mountaineers' considerable charge with 194 yards on 18 carries.
"I'm just having lots of fun," said senior running back Jameson Martin (6 carries, 79 yards), who scored Housy's first two touchdowns, the first one just 3:40 into the game, on a 58-yard scoring run.
"I told my assistant, 'We're scoring too fast,'" said Mountaineer coach Deron Bayer, who was concerned about eating up the clock and keeping the ball away from Canton's offense.
It happened again when Tom Kennedy recovered a Canton fumble at the Warriors' own 32-yard line, and took the ball in for another touchdown in seven plays, capped by a six-yard run by Martin.
"(Scoring too fast) was a nice problem to have," smiled Bayer, whose team ended the first quarter with an 18-6 advantage, after Tom Kennedy (12 carries, 68 yards) answered Canton's first touchdown with a 10-yard dash.
The Mountaineers racked up 162 yards on the ground in that first quarter, and the Warriors, in just their first varsity year after abandoning the sport in 1963, were warned.
"In our first game (a 24-18 loss to Stafford), we got beat in the last 16 seconds, because we were tired out; everybody was going both ways," said Canton coach Graham Martin, a Torrington High School graduate (1965) who went on to coach football at Bulkely-Hartford for 33 years, winning a Class LL State Championship with them in 1991. "Now, we just go one way."
With obvious pluses and minuses. While the offense, featuring 6-1, 295-pound senior running back Justin Rice (25 carries, 117 yards), still churned up yardage by the fourth quarter, more than half of the Warrior defense is freshmen and sophomores.
Housatonic's offense is a nightmare for inexperienced players, as well as some who are experienced. Operating out of a shotgun, there's no real quarterback, and one of two or three running backs may come charging down your throat from any direction on a direct snap, no huddle.
And they do it well.
"We work our offense to death in practice," said Bayer. "Lots of times, the guys will say, 'let's run (a play) 100 times.'"
Rice got into the end zone in the second quarter, with 1:46 left in the half, but Housy showed another offensive wrinkle in their next series - a pass. Tom Kennedy, who takes over as quarterback when he has to, tried three passes in the game. With 1:20 left in the half, one of them went 66 yards to Gian Lodevole for a touchdown. Another went to Martin for the two-point conversion on a jump pass.
The half-time score was 26-12, and Martin, the player, not the coach, had every right to be having fun.
Will Kennedy got into his second-half workhorse mode in the third quarter, grinding out the final four straight plays for the only score in the period, 32-12.
Canton quarterback Nick Delvecchio found passing success with a strong arm and good receivers (10-for-27, 148 yards), but Tom Kennedy ended one Canton passing spree with an interception and Martin killed another the same way.
Michael Frazer got a fourth-quarter touchdown for the Warriors on a five-yard run with 2:12 left in the game, followed by a Delvecchio roll-out for two more points.
By then, the Mountaineers were not only scoring "too quickly," but almost by accident. Starting from their own 40 after the final Canton touchdown, the Mountaineers ground to the 50. Then Will Kennedy burst up the middle for a 50-yard coup de gras with 1:25 left. They took a knee instead of trying for more points.
The score was 38-20, and the classy Mountaineers are 3-1.
The Register Citizen
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