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Strong running game lifts Windsor Locks co-op team to emotional win over Bears

The Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby football team was thrilled after their 27-20 win over Granby/Canton. It was their first win over the Bears since 2014.  More game photos

GRANBY, October 25 – The Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby football team didn’t have a great first half in Friday night’s Pequot Conference game against Granby/Canton.

The visiting Raiders turned the ball over three times on a pair of fumbles and an interception. Locks drove to the Granby one-yard line on their first possession of the game but couldn’t get into the end zone.

The host Bears were excited when they took a seven-point lead on a 32-yard touchdown run with 2:53 left in the third quarter.

But Windsor Locks scored touchdowns on their next three possessions and came up with some big defensive plays to earn an emotional 27-20 victory Friday night. The Raiders celebrated with gusto and joy after the win.

It was their first victory over Granby since 2014. “We haven’t beaten Granby in years. This is amazing,” said Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby’s Eric Pino, who scored three touchdowns and ran for a game-high 240 yards on 24 carries.

“The seniors wanted this game so bad,” Windsor Locks co-op coach Jason Qua said. “It has been on their radar since summer passing league and they lost to Granby in the summer passing league. They were aching to get this win.”

The win gave the Raiders their fifth win in six games – their best start to a season since going 5-1 in 1986.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of these kids. They got it done,” Qua said.

Granby/Canton’s Sam Attianese (24) is bottled up by Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby in Friday night’s Pequot Conference game in Granby. More game photos

Granby/Canton (4-2) took a 14-7 lead on Sam Attianese’s 32-yard run and his extra point with 2:53 left in the third quarter. The Bears had stopped Windsor Locks for a loss on a fourth down-and-three play on the Raiders 43-yard line. That gave Granby/Canton possession in Windsor Locks’ territory.

Windsor Locks bore down after the Bears took the lead. They marched 64 yards on 11 plays on the backs of Pino and Jon Savalier, who ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. The Raiders only attempted two passes in the game.

“We just couldn’t stop the run,” Granby/Canton coach Erik Shortell said. “They ran their offense to perfection. Hats off to them. (Pino) was an animal out there.”

Pino ran for 41 yards on five carries on the drive, including a two-yard run around the left side with 9:47 left in the fourth quarter. But Granby/Canton was able to block the extra point to preserve their 14-13 lead.

Windsor Locks’ defense overwhelmed the Bears on their next possession. They threw Dylan Disabella for a six-yard loss and dropped Sam Schock for a nine-yard loss. Attainese gained 15 yards to get back to the original line of scrimmage but the Bears had to punt.

The Raiders took over on their own 37-yard line and marched down the field in just six plays – all runs. Pino’s 29-yard run down the left side of the field gave the Raiders a 19-14 lead with 4:57 left in the game. The conversion run failed.

On the kickoff, Schock returned the ball to the Granby/Canton 44-yard line. But on first down, Attianese tried to pass on a halfback option play. Windsor Locks’ Luke Holsey got his arm up and deflected the pass up into the air and into the arms of teammate Jaden Joaquin, who cradled the ball before getting tackled on the Granby/Canton 36-yard line with 4:38 left to go in the game.

Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby’s Savalier scored from five yards away with 1:51 remaining to give the Raiders an 11-point lead. Pino’s two-point conversion run made it 27-14.

Granby/Canton quickly marched downfield with Rome scrambling for a 23-yard gain to the Raider 15-yard line. Rome completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Disabella with 16 seconds left to cut the lead to seven. Windsor Locks gobbled up the onside kick to clinch the victory.

Guard Michael Quinlan (36) leads Eric Pino (22) in Friday night’s Pequot Conference win over Granby/Canton. Pino ran for a game-high 240 yards. More game photos

“Everyone did their job on defense,” Pino said. “Everyone payed to the while and no one gave up. Everybody fought.”

Windsor Locks/Suffield/East Granby savored the hard-fought win. “The love is strong. The brotherhood is strong. It’s really real,” Qua said.

Added Shortell, “We will go over the film and learn from this.”

Windsor Locks drove 61 yards to the Granby/Canton 1-yard line on their opening drive. But the Bears stopped the Raiders on fourth down. Locks scored on their next possession with Raines scoring from eight yards away for a 7-0 lead.

Granby/Canton responded with their best offensive drive of the game, marching 67 yards on nine plays with Attianese scoring from two yards away with nine seconds left in the first quarter. Attianese kicked the extra point for a 7-7 tie.

Defensively, Attianese had an interception and a 24-yard return. Teammates Devin Flagg and Brady Kaluna each recovered fumbles. Malik Brown-Smith led Granby/Canton with 13 tackles and six solo stops. Dontel Williams had 11 tackles and five solo tackles. Flagg had seven tackles while Attianese had seven tackles and one fumble caused. Malique Thompson and Simon Matthews had six tackles each.

Granby/Canton returns to action next week when they travel to Durham to face the Coginchaug/Hale Ray/East Hampton co-op team.

Windsor Locks/Suffield/EG 27, Granby/Canton 20
At Granby
Windsor Locks (5-1)        7  0  0  20 – 27
Granby/Canton (4-2)      7  0  7  6 – 20
First quarter
WL: Matt Raine 8 run (Nick Romano kick), 4:18
G/C: Sam Attianese 2 run (Attianese kick), 09.8
Third quarter
G/C: Attianese 32 run (Attianese kick), 2:53
Fourth quarter
WL: Eric Pino 2 run (kick blocked), 9:47
WL: Pino 29 run (run fails), 4:57
WL: Jon Savalier 5 run (Pino run), 1:51
G/C: Dylan Disabella 10 pass from Jackson Rome (kick wide), 16.4
Individual statistics
RUSHING: Granby/Canton – Jackson Rome 13-71, Sam Attianese 7-44, Dylan Disabella 11-62; Windsor Locks – Jon Savalier 20-101, Eric Pino 24-240
PASSING: Granby/Canton – Jackson Rome 6-8-0, 61; Attianese 0-1-1; Windsor Locks – Matt Raine 0-2-1, 0
RECEIVING: Granby/Canton – Dylan Disabella 4-44, Attianese 1-15, Simon Matthews 1-minus 1

2019 Pequot Conference leaders

Team League Overall
Rockville 5-0 5-0
Windsor Locks/Suffield/EG 5-1 5-1
Stafford/EW/Somers 4-1 4-1
SMSA/Univ/Classical 4-1 4-1
Granby/Canton 4-2 4-2
Coginchaug/Hale Ray/East Hampton 3-2 3-2
North Branford 3-2 3-2
Gilbert/Northwestern 2-2 2-2


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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