Division III (Grades 3-4)
The Division III Princeton Tigers played a hard fought game against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday at the Triangle Road Football Complex. On offense, the Tigers moved the ball up and down the field with runs by Andrew SantaBarbara, Luke Popaduik, Cole Psemeneki and Michael Hoffman. The Tigers fought hard but were unable to convert any of their long runs into touchdowns. The Tigers played aggressive defense with notable tackles by Ryan Diaz, Patrick O’Kane, Joey Schwarz , Ryan Vierbuchen, Samir Guzman, David Ortiz and James Vandervliet. Despite their efforts, the Tigers were unable to score and fell to the Crimson Tide by the score of 6-0.
Also in Division III UConn beat USC for the second time this season on Saturday, by the score of 24-19, to improve its record to 6-0. This was only the second game of the season that the Huskies hard-hitting defense allowed more than one touchdown.
The Huskies were led by halfback Thomas Amankwaa who had 225 total yards and 4 touchdowns. Amankwaa ran for 145 yards on 6 carries, caught a pass for 35 yards, and returned a punt for 55 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Drew Ryan ran for 52 yards on 12 carries and threw a 10-yard pass. Fullback Loukas Ganas also added 29 yards, and James SanFillippo, Hunter Jorgensen, Kyle Elmalis, Chris DiNardi, and Nicholas West all carried the ball for positive yardage.
UConn won the toss and elected to receive the ball first. On the second play of the game, Amankwaa broke away with one of his signature runs for a 63-yard touchdown. The extra point failed and UConn took the lead early with a score of 6-0.
On USC’s first possession, they were held to a run for a loss and two short gains before punting on 4th & 5. Linebacker Jorgensen and defensive end Amankwaa both had hard hitting tackles on the stop.
UConn’s Amankwaa received the punt on their own 45-yard line, and once again put on a show as he danced down the field, eluding defenders for a 55-yard return for a touchdown. The extra point failed and UConn retained the lead by the score 12-0.
The Trojans were again held on their second possession, with a short run, a run for a loss with a backfield tackle by defensive end Cameron Hill, and a fumble recovered in the backfield. They punted to the sideline on 4th & 8, and the ball was spotted on the 50-yard line.
The Huskies took over and fumbled the next two runs, recovering both in the backfield. On 4th & 15, Ryan sprinted down the field for a 25-yard gain. DiNardi ran up the middle for a 4-yard gain, and Ganas pounded 5 and 8-yard gains for another 1st down. After a couple short runs and an illegal motion penalty, the Huskies were faced with 4th & 5 on the USC 20-yard line. Instead of going for it, they elected to punt and Ganas kicked the ball to the ½ yard line where the ball was downed and USC was backed up into their own endzone.
On the next play, with the hopes of scoring a safety, UConn was too eager and called for lining up in the Neutral Zone. USC was relieved of 5 more yards, but couldn’t muster up enough yards to get a first down. They elected the 25-yard walk-off in lieu of kicking the ball, since they were inside the 20-yard line. Ganas made a great backfield tackle and Ryan and SanFillippo also made defensive plays.
UConn took over on the USC 30-yard line for its 4th possession, and the Huskies began to pull away. Ryan ran the ball up the middle for a 5-yard gain, and Amankwaa scrambled for another touchdown, this time from 27 yards out. The extra point failed and UConn led 18-0.
USC scored on their next possession. On 2nd & 8, the Trojan running back broke away as he was chased by UConn defenders, scoring their first points on the 63-yard run. The extra point was successful, and UConn led 18-7.
On UConn’s 5th possession, Ryan and SanFillippo made runs of 8 and 5 yards, but another illegal motion penalty set back the Huskies offense, and they punted on 4th & 3 to the USC 45-yard line.
USC was called for holding on the next play, but UConn declined the penalty with the tackle in the backfield. The Trojans were stuffed again without a first down, as SanFillippo, Hill, Ganas, and Jorgensen made tackles on short runs, but the drive was halted when Jason Ortman made a sack on 4th & 5, for a 6-yard loss.
UConn took over on downs on the USC 43-yard line, but after a fumble recovered in the backfield, time expired and the 1st half was over. UConn led 18-7.
USC opened the 2nd half with their sixth possession and were stopped again. Amankwaa and Elmalis both made tackles for losses, and USC punted on 4th & 9. The ball was picked up by UConn on the 38-yard line, but a 5-yard loss resulted when the Huskies tried to return it. UConn’s next drive resulted in a turnover, as they fumbled the ball in the backfield and it was recovered by USC.
USC took over on the 50-yard line, and after a UConn gang-tackle by Jorgensen, Ryan, DiNardi, and Brandon Rodriguez, Huskies hard-hitter Amankwaa popped the Trojan running back in the backfield, caused a fumble, and recovered the ball for the turnover.
UConn took over on its own 40-yard line and began marching down the field. Ryan ran for 6, Ganas ran for 12, and Amankwaa had runs of 8 and 21 yards as UConn made three 1st downs on its second drive of the game with more than 10 plays. On 4th & 4 at the 13-yard line, UConn went for it and the Huskies running back got jammed in the backfield for a 2-yard loss. UConn turned the ball over.
USC then took over on their own 15-yard line, but again got stifled by the tough UConn defense. A gang tackle by Ryan, Hill, Ganas, Jorgensen, Elmalis, and Holden Stack, a recovered fumble by USC, and a backfield blow for a loss by Amankwaa and Hill all led to a 4th & 6 on the 19-yard line. USC again elected the 25-yard walk-off to give up the ball.
On UConn’s 9th drive of the game, they opened it up with a 10-yard completed pass from Ryan to Amankwaa and an additional 25 yards after the reception for a gain of 35 yards. Two plays and a holding penalty later, Amankwaa was handed the ball on 2nd & 25. West made a key block for Amankwaa to turn the corner, and he broke down the sideline for 25-yard touchdown run. The extra point failed and UConn led 24-7.
On USC’s ninth drive of the game, they ran two plays for short gains and recovered a fumble to bring up 4th & 4. Then when USC went for it, UConn thought they were getting the ball back with a backfield tackle, but a horse collar penalty gave USC a 1st down. Amankwaa then made another punishing blow to a Trojan back for a loss of yards. But a second 1st down on the drive set the table for 31-yard touchdown run by USC. The extra point failed, but USC was inching closer with a score of 24-13.
UConn had yet another recovered fumble and no positive yardage on their last drive of the game, going 3 and out. They punted on 4th & 15 to their own 45-yard line, and USC lost 2 yards on the attempted return.
The Trojans then took over on their last drive of the game. After two no-gain runs, and with time expiring, USC ran one in on the last play of the game for a 45-yard touchdown. UConn won 24-19 for its sixth straight game to remain undefeated and clinching first place for a top seed in the playoffs.
UConn takes on the Alabama Crimson Tide next week, who will be looking to avoid a hat-trick of 3 losses on the season to UConn.
Flag (Grades 1-2)
The 49ers flag team showed their might on Saturday with an impressive performance against the Lions. On offense, Cole Thornton once again showed his prowess for the endzone by scoring twice. The scoring highlight was delivered by Charlie Volpe as he took a sweep around the defense and up the sidelines for an 80-yard touchdown run. Shane Donahue also starred with a long pass to Aiden Casey. The offensive line, led by Stephen Kotz, created good holes for the running game. On defense, Jake Battagliese once had numerous flag pulls. Joey Kachorsky and Graham Ross also spent a lot of time chasing ball carriers in the opponent’s backfield. Patrick Irwin and Dillon Cace did an outstanding job running down the Lions on their side of the field.
The Redskins kept on track this week when they faced a very tough Vikings team and scored 6 touchdowns. Nicholas Donnelly, Tanner Boczon, Dominic Bonsignore, Joe McChesney and Kevin Shelton all had long TD runs. M. J. Cohen got his first point of his young football career on a point after and Joe Witcoski, Donnelly and Austin Quandt also made the point afters. On Redskins defense, Christian Quandt pulled an incredible eleven flags with Witcoski and Boczon getting three each.
The Vikings offense was led by key runs from James Ruh (20 and 25 yards), both on full back dives. Owen Albert had a 20-yard run on a quarterback keeper which set up a reverse with Nick Koll (20 yards) on the next play. Matt Gaspar added to his touchdown total with a 60-yard run to start off the second half. The strong offensive display was set up by blocking from Damian Candon, Jack McLaughlin, Ryan Soli, and Daniel Allen. On Viking defense, Tommy Rice and James Barone had stops with a loss of yardage. Ryan Siwiec led the way with 4 flag pulls followed by Josh Reilly with 3 pulls.
The Broncos and Bears squared off for the second time this season in flag play at the Triangle Road Football Complex. The Broncos defense limited the Bears offense and behind the flag pulling of Dominick Monsorno and Max Treonze helped the Broncos gain possession of the ball. On the Broncos first offensive series, the Broncos offensive line did a great job of blocking and opened a hole for Logan Eilbacher to go 75 yards for the touchdown run.
The Broncos defense saw flag pulling from Jehki Williams, Brandon Lobello, Tyler Jackson and Logan Eilbacher. Once back on offense, the Broncos moved the ball down the field with a 30-yard run from Tyler Jackson. Monsorno followed that up with a 20-yard run of his own. That set up a 15-yard TD run to the left by Lance Eilbacher. The extra point was completed by Sanav Sathish with a nice run and cut back to get into the endzone.
The Broncos final score came on another long run of 65 yards by Jehki Williams. That touchdown run was set up with the excellent blocking of the Broncos offensive line. Nate Kondratiuk also added a big run of 40 yards during the Broncos offensive series.
As time was winding down, the Bears managed to break off an exciting 55-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. The Broncos defense managed to deny the extra point as the game came to an end.