Jonathan Law defeats Foran, 21-14, in hard-fought contest

A crowd of 2,250 was treated to top-flight football when Jonathan Law defeated Foran, 21-14 at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex on Thanksgiving.

It was a fitting renewal of a rivalry, interrupted in 2020 by the pandemic, that has now covered 48 games. Law, which finished 6-4, leads the series 24-22. There have been two ties. Foran ended its season at 4-6.

John Neider threw touchdown passes to Anthony Andriolas and Sam Costantini for coach Chris Haley’s Lawmen.

Foran quarterback Jack Cushman hooked up twice with Dean Ross for scores.

Law’s Amadeus Betancourt scooted 11 yards around right end to snap the 14-14 tie at the 11:14 mark of the final period.

“It was a great game between two tough Milford teams that didn’t give an inch,” Haley said. “We played outstanding defense to shut down their running game. Hats off to their defense for slowing us down.”

Defensive units from both teams came up big in this tug-of-war battle between city rivals.

Three plays after Foran’s Joe Gaetano tipped a pass that was intercepted by Anthony Edmond, Cushman dropped a perfect pass into the arms of a streaking Dean Ross down the sideline for a 33-yard touchdown. Dylan Haig’s conversion kick made it 7-0 at the 7:18 mark of the opening quarter.

The Lions’ Jason Cruz, Justin Daniel and James Taylor made plays to get the ball back, even after Law’s Dom DiFederico recovered a Foran fumble near midfield.

Kushman completed 15-yard passes to Gaetano, who made a tough catch in traffic, and Matt Miller, on a well-executed throwback, to help Foran drive from its 19 to the Law 3, where a 20-yard field goal attempt went wide.

Law put together a 63-yard 10-play drive to end the half. Neider ran for a pair of first downs and hit Matt Hagerty for a 24-yard gain. Neider took the snap with 4.6 remaining and found Andriolas for a 4-yard touchdown as time expired. Jesse Viens’ PAT evened the score at 7-7.

The Lawmen took the second half kickoff and went the length of the field behind blocking by Joey Rogers, Louis Sabo, Kyle Chy, Devin Calvin and Evan Nash. Costantini made a spectacular 26-yard catch to keep the drive alive. Three plays later, Neider directed him to switch to a deeper route and hit the sophomore for a 22-yard score. Viens’ kick made it 14-7 at the 9:54 mark of the period.

Foran, with Barry Held, Brandon Payne, Maguire Casey, Jason Cruz, Justin Daniel and Aiden Grant blocking, answered with an 80-yard march. Edmond moved the chains twice, the first time on a 16-yard run. Gaetano caught an 8-yard pass for another first down before Cushman scrambled deeper into Law territory. Cushman then connected again with Ross, this time from 34 yards out, and Haig’s PAT tied things at 14 with 5:54 on the clock.

Defense controlled the next two possessions. The Lions’ Payne broke through on defense to force a turnover on downs when he tackled Neider for a two-yard loss at the Foran 33. Law’s Jack Sellman, Gary Schulte and Mike Merchant had the stops to force a quick three-and out.

Law put together an 88-yard march that featured five first downs before it went on top four plays into the final period. Nine of the 11 plays went for under eight yards before Neider threw a 19-yard pass to Costantini to the Foran 11. Betancourt scored untouched on the next play to break the 14-14 tie.

Foran’s best chance to get the equalizer came after Kyle Pokornowski played his man tough over the middle and came down with an interception at the Lions’ 43 with 8:39 remaining.

Cushman completed a 12-yard pass to Edmond. On third and seven from the Law 40, the ball came loose on a completed pass to Gaetano and Spencer Hannon recovered for Law at its 25-yard line.

Forced to punt, Neider boomed a kick then pinned Foran inside its 20. Foran kicked it back with 3:21 left and Law took the remaining time off the clock to win the Milford Bank-Rotary Club- Mayor’s Trophy for the third consecutive game.

“We put the challenge on our defense to stop John Neider, who I think is one of the best runners in the state,” Foran coach Tom Drew said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. It was a good competitive game. It is what you want from your team in a rivalry game.”

Classy move

Lucas Pincus-Coyle is a Law captain and took a handoff for a two-yard gain and a first down on his team’s second play from scrimmage. Injured coming into the contest, Pincus-Coyle didn’t see the field again until the last series when he took a knee when Law ran out the clock on its victory.

Statistics

Law’s John Neider completed 19 of 33 passes for 201 yards. He rushed for 106 on 15 carries…Amadeus Betancourt ran for 64 yards on 15 carries...Sam Costantini caught 8 passes for 105 yards…Anthony Andriolas had 6 catches for 35 yards…Matt Hagerty had 5 catches for 52 yards…Jack Sellman made 13 tackles, J.T Nelly and Ryan McNellis 8 each, Mike Merchant 7, Solomon Mercado 6 and Spencer Hannon 5…Hannon and Dom DiFederico recovered fumbles…McNellis, Brandon Leslie and Nelly forced fumbles.

Foran’s Jack Cushman completed 14 of 25 passes for 183 yards…Anthony Edmond had 11 carries for 43 yards and a catch for 12 yards…Matt Miller had 7 carries for 26 yards and a 15-yard reception…Joe Gaetano caught 6 passes for 56 yards…Dean Ross had 3 catches for 69 yards…Jack Pietrosanti had 3 catches for 31 yards…Kyle Pokornowski made 14 tackles and intercepted a pass…Anthony Eddmond and Brandon Payne each made 10 tackles…James Taylor had 7 stops…Dean Ross and Justin Daniel 6 each…Joe Gaetano was in on 5 tackles…Edmond intercepted a pass.

Post-game awards

Athletic Directors Anthony Vitelli and V.J. Sarullo addressed the teams gathered at misfield for post-game ceremonies. Foran coach Tom Drew and then Law coach Chris Haley presented awards.

“Be happy you live in a two-school town,” Haley said. “I know people tell you if we had one school that who knows. ... I know you wouldn’t be able to play in a game like this. This is what you wait for all year This is a chance to represent your school, represent Milford, in this game.”

Law senior linebacker Spencer Hannon was presented the Bob Taylor Sportsmanship Award, junior tackle Louis Sabo the Ray Bloxsom Milford High Remembrance Outstanding Lineman Award, junior tight end Matt Hagerty Matthew Hagerty the Lawmen Alumni Award, junior linebacker Jack Sellman the Joe Beler Jr. Defensive Player of Game Award, and junior quarterback John Neider the Paul Kostopoulos Most Valuable Player Award. Brayden Hancock, a freshman who was injured all season but never missed a practice, was presented an Unsung Hero Award by coach Chris Haley.

Foran’s Kyle Pokornowski was presented the Mario Ponsalle Memorial Award, Barry Held the Ray Bloxsom Milford High Remembrance Outstanding Lineman Award, Anthony Edmond the Joe Beler Jr. Memorial Defensive Player of the Game, Jason Cruz the Daniel Wasson Memorial Offensive Player of the Game, and Dean Ross the Ken Walker Memorial MVP Award.

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354