HARTFORD – Every football teams makes mistakes. The Sports Science Medical Academy/University High football team can’t afford to make mistakes and win ballgames.
The Tigerhawks had some impressive drives Thursday night at Dillon Stadium in a 28-6 Pequot North loss to Ellington/Somers at Dillon Stadium. But a few key mistakes kept SMSA/University from hanging with the visiting Purple Knights.
A wide-open receiver dropped a potential touchdown pass. Trailing by 14 points, the Tigerhawks drove to the Ellington/Somers two-yard line on its opening drive of the second half. But they couldn’t advance any further with quarterback Wilfredo Alicea fumbling the snap on fourth down.
SMSA/University gave up only five yards and forced Ellington to punt. But on the punt return, the Tigerhawks’ Kadeem Johnson tried to pick up a rolling ball and couldn’t do it. Ellington’s Trevor Printy knocked Johnson off the ball and recovered to keep the Knights’ drive alive.
Five plays later, Ellington QB Joseph Lesile scored on a six-yard run to extend the Purple Knights’ lead to a comfortable 21-point advantage.
“We play pretty good football, we move the ball and then we break down,” SMSA/University coach Graham Martin said. “Mistakes killed us. We need some size.”
The Tigerhawks (2-3, 1-2 Pequot North) aren’t the most experienced team in the league. Due to injuries and a small number of juniors and seniors on the roster, SMSA/University plays plenty of sophomores and several freshmen. It leads to inconsistent play.
“Our young kids have really stepped up,” Martin said. “We’re getting some good play from our young kids.”
Sophomore Eliyah Nyama played at running back for the first time due to injuries to Eziquel Ortiz and Kadeem Johnson. Nyama scored his first touchdown on a 26-yard run in the fourth quarter. He ran for a game-leading 146 yards on 23 carries.
Ellington/Somers coach Sean Byrne is looking for his young team to stop making mistakes, especially carrying the ball. The Purple Knights (3-3, 3-1 Pequot North) had four fumbles in the first half and lost one when SMSA/University’s Jesse Etienne pounced on the loose ball.
“We’ve been sloppy,” Byrne said. “We’re trying to work on taking care of the ball. We still haven’t figured that out.”
The passing from Ellington QB Joe Lesile gave the Purple Knights an advantage. Lesile completed 9-of-13 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown.
SMSA/University stopped Ellington/Somers’ first drive when Etienne recovered a fumble on the Tigerhawk 35-yard line. SMSA/University drove to the Ellington 27-yard line. Tigerhawk QB Wilfredo Alicea completed a 14-yard pass over the middle to Devyn Lozada on third down and six while Johnson ran for four yards on a fourth-and-two play to keep the drive alive.
But on fourth down and one at the Ellington 26-yard line, Alicea was stopped for no gain and the Tigerhawks turned the ball over on downs.
Ellington/Somers marched 74 yards on 12 plays to take the lead on a 12-yard run from Christian Schneider with 7:35 left in the second quarter. The Purple Knights converted on third down twice to keep the drive alive with a 21-yard pass play from Lesile to Michael Casciano and a 12-yard pass play from Lesile to Ben Kloter.
On its next possession, Ellington converted on a fourth down and six play at the Tigerhawk 29-yard line to keep the drive alive. Lesile completed a 19-yard pass to Schneider over the middle to the Tigerhawk 10-yard line.
Two plays later, Lesile completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Izaiah Castro-Vega for a 14-0 lead with 0:51 left in the second quarter.
Nyama picked up some big yardage late in the game to get the Tigerhawks on the board. He had runs of two and 16 yards and Alicea ran to the 23-yard line to the Ellington 26-yard line. Nyama scored from the 26 for his first career touchdown.
NOTES: Shawn Lozada had another excellent game for the Tigerhawks. He had at least four plays for no gain or a loss. … Derrick Mitchell returned three punts for SMSA/University for 51 yards. He also returned two kickoffs for six yards. … The Tigerhawks have another challenging game next week when they host Cromwell at Dillon Stadium.
Ellington/Somers 28, SMSA/University 6
Ellington/Somers 0 14 7 7 — 28
SMSA/University 0 0 0 6 – 6
E: Christian Schneider 12 run (Ben Kloter kick), 7:35
E: Izaiah Castro-Vega 10 pass from Joseph Lesile, 1:17
E: Scheneider 6 run (Kloter kick), 1:10
E: Joseph Lesile 18 run (Kloter kick), 10:24
S: Eliyah Nyama 26 run (run fails), 3:51
RUSHING – Ellington/Somers: Joseph Lesile 10-65, Christian Schneider 9-57, Jeremiah Mason 4-15, Shane McGowan 2-26, Mark Hickman 1-2, Izaiah Castro-Vega 1-31, Tyreik Noel 4-minus 2, Wellington Silva 2-minus 4, Zach Luginbuhl 1-4; SMSA/University: Wilfredo Alicea 19-41, Eliyah Nyama 23-146, Kadeem Johnson 6-37, Allen Walker 3-15, Kevyn Brown 1-2, Pharoh Mathis 1-3
PASSING: Ellington/Somers: Lesile 9-13-0, 147, Schneider 1-3-1, 0; McGowan 0-1-0; SMSA/University: Alicea 2-8-0, 12
RECEIVING: Ellington/Somers: Michael Casciano 2-51, Ben Kloter 2-50, Schneider 1-6, Mason 1-16, Lesile 2-19, McGowan 1-16, Vega 1-10; SMSA/University: Johnson 1-minus 2, Devyn Lozada 1-14