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Granby/Canton’s comeback bid stopped short by Joel Barlow

Granby/Canton QB Will Migliaccio barely gets out of the end zone to avoid a safety in Tuesday night’s Class SS quarterfinal game in Granby. Joel Barlow eliminated the Bears, 28-14.

GRANBY, Nov. 29, 2022 – The game looked like it was getting away from the Granby/Canton co-op football team in the third quarter of Tuesday night’s Class SS quarterfinal game.

Visiting Joel Barlow was on the Granby 40-yard line when Falcon quarterback Danny Shaban fired a pass toward the end zone. Defender Khalil Thomas was there at the goal line to make the play to prevent Falcon receiver Evan Corazzelli from catching the ball.

Thomas leaped up and swatted the ball away from Corazzelli but before it could hit the ground Joel Barlow receiver Dylan Taylor snatched it out of the air and scored to give Barlow a 20-0 lead.

And on Granby’s next possession, Joel Barlow intercepted quarterback Will Migliaccio. Barlow took the ball and moved to the Bears’ eight-yard line.

But Granby/Canton’s pride came through. The Bears forced a fumble to stop the drive and then marched 98 yards in less than two minutes to score their first touchdown.

After a successful onside kick, Granby scored again on a nine-play, 53-yard drive to turn a 20-point deficit into a six points (one score) deficit with 9:49 remaining in the game.

No. 5 Joel Barlow leaned on their star player – Shaban – as the Falcons marched 68 yards on 11 plays to score an insurance touchdown with 4:13 remaining and eliminate pesky No. 4 Granby/Canton, 28-14. Joel Barlow (9-3) advances to Sunday’s Class SS semifinal against top seed Cromwell/Portland at Pierson Park.

Granby/Canton (8-3) goes home knowing that they could play with the Falcons, whose only losses came to Newtown and Masuk. But Barlow just made a few more plays.

Joel Barlow’s Danny Shaban ran for a game-high 149 yards and passed for 149 yards through the air at QB for the Falcons.

“We haven’t got blown out all year,” Granby/Canton coach Erik Shortell said. “We are a touchdown here, a play there, a bad call, one little mistake away from being 10-0 and moving onto the next round. But that is just how it works.

“It’s tough. We’re right there in every game.”

In the regular season, the Bears dropped seven-point decisions to Cromwell/Portland and the SMSA co-op team – squads that won their respective Pequot Conference divisions this fall. Cromwell/Portland won the Sassacus Division with SMSA taking the Uncas Division with the Bears one game behind the Tigerhawks.

Granby/Canton showed the ability to move the ball against Joel Barlow, twice moving inside the 20-yard line in the first half. But each time, the Falcons were able to stop the Bears.

Joel Barlow took a 7-0 lead on a 13-yard run from Taylor with 8:37 left in the first half and an extra point from Cooper Zuccarella.

The Bears responded quickly. Carter Chambers’ 20-yard kickoff return gave the Bears the ball at the Barlow 47-yard line. Will Attianese ran for 11 yards and with a 15-yard facemask penalty added to the play, Granby/Canton found themselves on the Barlow 27-yard line. Luke Maher’s seven-yard run moved the ball to the 20 but the Falcons stiffened and sacked Maher for a five-yard loss on fourth down.

Using Taylor as the main runner, Barlow marched downfield to the Bears’ 35-yard line. Two plays later, it was Shaban breaking through the line for a 32-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead.

Trailing 20-0, the Bears stopped Joel Barlow on their own eight-yard line by causing a fumble.

On the next play, Migliaccio was sacked for a six-yard loss by Kiam Kieman, placing the ball on the Bears’ two-yard line. On third down and 16, Migliaccio found Will Attianese down the right sideline a 68-yard completion. Migliacchio completed three of his next four passes, including a 13-yard completion to Maher to the one.

Will Attianese scored to put the Bears on the board, 20-7 with 50.9 seconds left in the third quarter.

Granby’s Carter Chambers tries to slow down Barlow’s Danny Shaban in Tuesday night’s Class SS quarterfinal game in Granby.

Granby kicker George Horst belted the kickoff off a Falcon defender and Will Attianese recovered the onside kick. Migliaccio completed 8 of his next nine passes, including a 18-yard touchdown reception to Brandon Powell with 9:59 left. With Horst’s extra point, the lead was just six, 20-14, and the Granby/Canton fans were roaring.

Migliaccio completed 26-of-46 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Charles Attianese caught nine passes for 66 yards while Will Attianese pulled in seven receptions for a game-high 118 yards.

“Will is a true leader and it showed today. We rode him hard,” Shortell said. “We moved the ball. There were just a few bad breaks, a lucky bounce. Football is a funny game. You never really know how the ball will fall.”

“We put our heart into our game,” Granby/Canton back and linebacker Luke Maher said. “I am proud of everyone on this team.”

Shaban ran for a game-high 149 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries for Joel Barlow. He completed 6-of-7 passes for 149 yards, an impressive feat since he completed just 15 passes for 452 yards in 10 games this season.

Joel Barlow 28, Granby/Canton 14
At Granby
Joel Barlow (9-2)             0  14  6  8  — 28
Granby/Canton (8-3)      0    0  7  7  — 14
Second quarter
JB: Dylan Taylor 13 run (Cooper Zuccerella kick), 8:37
JB: Danny Shaban 32 run (Zuccerella kick), 3:50
Third quarter
JB: Taylor 40 pass from Shaban (kick failed), 7:16
G: Will Attianese 1 run (George Horst kick), 50.9
Fourth quarter
G: Brandon Powell 18 pass from Will Migliaccio (Horst kick), 9:49
JB: Shaban 5 run (Shaban run), 4:13
Individual leaders
RUSHING: Joel Barlow – Danny Shaban 25-149, Dylan Taylor 15-68, Cole Peterson 2-11, Mason Leavitt 6-56, Scott Roman 2-0; Granby/Canton – Luke Maher 7-17, Will Attianese 6-17, Will Migliaccio 3-4
PASSING: Joel Barlow – Danny Shaban 6-7-0, 149; Granby/Canton – Will Migliaccio 26-46-1, 300
RECEIVING: Joel Barlow – Evan Corazzelli 2-29, Mason Leavitt 1-5, Dylan Taylor 2-44, Charles Basla 1-69; Granby/Canton – Charles Attianese 9-66, Will Attianese 7-118, Brandon Powell 1-18, Luke Maher 5-53, Rob Dlubac 1-3, Connor Richardson 3-42

CIAC tournaments

Tuesday’s quarterfinals
Fairfield Prep 23, Staples 22
Glastonbury 17, West Haven 7
Greenwich 47, Hamden 7
Trumbull 34, Southington 25
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 8 Trumbull (8-3) at No. 5 Fairfield Prep (8-3), noon
No. 6 Glastonbury (9-2) at No. 2 Greenwich (9-2), noon
Saturday, Dec. 10
Arute Field (New Britain) or Rentschler Field (East Hartford)


Tuesday’s quarterfinals
Cheshire 24, St. Joseph 14
New Canaan 17, Naugatuck 7
Shelton 21, Newtown 20
Maloney 27, New Milford 7
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 8 Cheshire (7-4) at No. 4 New Canaan (10-1), 12:30 p.m.
No. 7 Shelton (7-4) vs. No. 3 Maloney (10-1) at Falcon Field, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10
Arute Field (New Britain) or Rentschler Field (East Hartford)


Tuesday’s quarterfinals
Wilton 13, SMSA Coop 6
North Haven 50, Thames River 0
Masuk 46, Northwest United 6
Killingly 34, Wethersfield 13
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 8 Wilton (8-3) at No. 5 North Haven (9-2), 12:30 p.m.
No. 7 Masuk (8-3) at No. 3 Killingly (10-1), 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10
Arute Field (New Britain) or Rentschler Field (East Hartford)


Tuesday’s quarterfinals
Berlin 35, Branford 25
Rockville 28, ATI 7
Notre Dame-West Haven 42, Hartford Public 0
Jonathan Law 42, RHAM 13
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 1 Berlin (11-0) vs. No. 4 Rockville (9-2) at Sage Park, 12:30 p.m.
No. 2 Notre Dame-West Haven (8-3) vs. No. 3 Jonathan Law (10-1) at Veterans Field West Haven, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10
Arute Field (New Britain) or Rentschler Field (East Hartford)


Tuesday’s quarterfinals
Cromwell/Portland 43, Ledyard 34
Joel Barlow 28, Granby/Canton 14
Gilbert/Northwestern/Housy 34, Windham 0
Valley Regional/Old Lyme 26, Foran 13
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 1 Cromwell/Portland (10-1) vs. No. 5 Joel Barlow (9-2) at Pierson Park, 12:30 p.m.
No. 7 Gilbert/Northwestern/Housy (9-2) at No. 6 Valley Regional/Old Lyme, 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10
Arute Field (New Britain) or Rentschler Field (East Hartford)


Tuesday’s quarterfinals
Ansonia 43, North Branford 13
Woodland 35, East Catholic 0
Bloomfield 42, Seymour 21
Holy Cross 42, New Fairfield 36
Saturday’s semifinals
No. 1 Ansonia (11-0) vs. No. 4 Woodland (9-2) at Ryan Field (Derby), 12:30 p.m.
No. 3 Holy Cross (9-2) at No. 2 Bloomfield (9-2), 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 10
Arute Field (New Britain) or Rentschler Field (East Hartford)

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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