Foran defeats Barlow, Edmond, Cushman lead way

Jon Lahow (17) and Kyle Zarnoch (55) make the tackle for Foran in its victory over Barlow.

Jon Lahow (17) and Kyle Zarnoch (55) make the tackle for Foran in its victory over Barlow.

Maria Crocco / Contributed photo

If the Foran High student section gave a roll call for its starting line-up they would have been thrown for a loop when coach Tom Drew’s Lions returned home to play Joel Barlow in a CT Football Alliance game at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.

“We were down nine starters on offense, defense and specials,” Drew said after Foran won 41-37. “We had a great week of practice. The backups became starters and did a great job.”

AJ Edmond and Jack Cushman led the attack for Foran, now 2-2.

Edmond ran for 191 yards on 17 carries and three scores against the 2-2 Falcons.

Cushman passed for 191 yards on 12-for-22 passing. He rushed for 64 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown.

“Our offensive coordinator Mike Farrell made some adjustments on our trap play, how and who we were going to trap block,” Drew said. “It was huge for us. It was a great job changing up our scheme.”

Barry Held, Brandon Payne, Jason Cruz and Kyle Zarnoch were joined on the offensive line by Aiden Grant, who stepped in for Jacob Madarang lost for the season due to injury.

Matt Miller’s two-yard run in the fourth quarter completed a 70-yard drive to put Foran in front for the final time with 50 seconds remaining.

“We got the ball back with under three minutes and ran our offense. We didn’t panic,” Drew said. “Mike (Farrell) preaches balance on offense and we stuck with it. We had two timeouts, didn’t need to use them. We went into our hammer set and ran power. Matt Miller found the gap. It was cool and calm drive, with just a little faster pace.”

The game saw four lead changes.

Cushman’s 27-yard run put the Lions on top before a Cooper Zuccerella field goal made it 6-3 after one period. Barlow quarterback Danny Shaban ran for two touchdowns in the second quarter. Edmond tallied on a 30-yard run to close the gap at the half.

Edmond’s 19-yard jaunt was answered by the third of Shaban’s five touchdown runs in the third period. Shaban finished with 122 yards on 21 carries.

The teams traded touchdowns in the final quarter.

Joe Gaetano made a one-handed catch and outran a defender for a 62-yard touchdown that had Drew singing the praises for his 6-0, 210-pound junior wide receiver.

“Joe had a fantastic game,” he said of Gaetano’s eight catches. “Out of all the players I’ve coached, Joe has the best hands. He comes down with the catch.”

Edmond, who caught three passes for 46 yards, ran for a 17-yard touchdown down the stretch. Dylan Haig made three conversion kicks in the final period.

Drew addressed the injury issue.

“Our secondary was most affected,” he said. “We were out Dan Thanus plus our other corner Dean Ross. Kyle Pokornowski, our free safety, is out. Our strong side linebacker Luca Ubaldi is out. Owen McCabe, who rotated in at linebacker and played on every special team is out. Brett Roeleder has taken over for Luca at backer. On the corners it was Jon Lahov and Ethan Dominque coming in. Jack Pietrosanti was at receiver for Dean Ross. We shuffled other kids. Matt Miller came in for Kyle Pokornowsdki at free safety.”

Drew added: “It is a great team win for us going into the bye week. It is a testament to our kids and my coaching staff. Everyone remained positive throughout the week. You couldn’t tell we had nine starters out. Everyone was locked in. Barlow is a great football team. That was a huge win for our program and our kids.”

Stat line: Justin Daniels led with 10 tackles. Kyle Zarnoch and AJ Edwards each had nine tackles, two for losses. Jason Cruz had six stops. James Taylor (three for losses), Brett Rohleder, and Gaetano each made four tackles. Jonathan Lahav had an interception. Jack Pietrosanti had two catches for 13 yards.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354