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Despite record-setting kickoff return, Mills falls; Granby drops opener to T-Birds

COVENTRY, Sept. 7 – Quarterback Grayson LaBerge ran for two touchdowns while teammate Josh Martinotti set a new school record with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown but the Coventry co-op football team was able to hold off Lewis Mills, 32-27 on Friday night in the Pequot Conference season opener for both teams.

Coventry, which features players from Windham Tech, Bolton and Lyman Memorial, was led by sophomore running back Kaleb Carlson, who ran for four touchdowns and a two-point conversion.

The Patriots led 18-7 at halftime but the Spartans closed the gap in the third quarter. Martinotti opened the third quarter with a 92-yard kickoff return to cut the lead to four points, 18-14. He broke the school record held by Bob Martinotti (90 yards) set in September 2011 against Morgan.

Coventry scored another TD to extend the lead to 10 points but Mills again responded with a six-yard touchdown run from LaBerge to cut the lead to four, 24-20. Sean Polinsky ran for 116 yards for Lewis Mills, playing its final year in the Pequot Conference under first-year head coach John Oko. The Spartans will move to the Central Connecticut Conference in 2019.

Coventry/WT/Bolton/Lyman 32, Lewis Mills 27
At Coventry
Lewis Mills (0-1)            0  7  14  6  — 27
Coventry (1-0)             12  6    8  6  — 32
First quarter
C: Kaleb Carlson 13 run (kick fails)
C: Carlson 34 run (run fails)
Second quarter
LM: Nick Romano 7 run (Dylan Hallet kick)
C: Carlson 13 run (kick fails)
Third quarter
LM: Josh Martinotti 92 kickoff return (Hallet kick)
C: Jordan Smith 21 run (Carlson run)
LM: Grayson Laberge 6 run (run fails)
Fourth quarter
C: Carlson 2 run
LM: Laberge 6 run (kick fails)

North Branford 18, Granby 14
GRANBY, Sept. 7 – Tyler DiNapoli scored two touchdowns and ran for a game-high 138 yards to lead the North Branford High football team to an 18-14 victory over Granby in Pequot Conference action Friday night.

DiNapoli scored on a 32-yard run in the fourth quarter to put the Thunderbirds ahead for good. Garrett Strain, who ran for a team-high 77 yards for the Bears, had put Granby up by four points, 14-10, with a two-yard touchdown run earlier in the quarter.

Quarterback Jackson Rome completed 5-of-12 passes for 91 yards for the Bears. Defensively, Ben Kibby made 13 tackles while Conor Hogan had three tackles for a loss.

North Branford 18, Granby 14
At Granby
North Branford (1-0)      0  6  6  6  — 18
Granby (0-1)                     0  0  7  7  — 14
Second quarter
NB: Nick Mancini 1 run (run fails)
Third quarter
G: Sam Attianese 7 run (Zyzdorf kick)
NB: Tyler DiNapoli 54 run (run fails)
Fourth quarter
G: Garrett Strain 2 run (Zyzdorf kick)
NB: DiNapoli 32 run (run fails)
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Granby — Jackson Rome 12-19, Keon Lawrence 4-minus 3, Dylan Disabella 2-13, Sam Attianese 6-37, Garrett Strain 12-77; North Branford — Tyler DiNapoli 12-138, Nick Mancini 16-43, McFadden 2-3, Raymond 1-6
PASSING: Granby — Rome 5-12-1, 91; North Branford — Branda Fratta 7-10-0, 76
RECEIVING: Granby — Disabella 1-20, Attianese 1-12, Strain 1-10, Conor Hogan 2-49; North Branford — Mancini 2-0, Lou Raffone 4-24, Alex Clinton 1-52


Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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