Law topples Guilford in SCC football opener

John Neider ran for three touchdowns in Law's 34-7 win against Guilford.

John Neider ran for three touchdowns in Law's 34-7 win against Guilford.

John DiFederico / Contributed photo

Jonathan Law defeated Guilford 34-7 to give coach Chris Haley his first victory in a SCC Tier III football game held in North Branford on Friday night.

“John Neider showed his stuff,” Haley said of his first-time starting junior quarterback. “He ran (110 yards) and threw (158 yards) well. John had three rushing touchdowns.”

Guilford scored two-plus minutes into the game when Eric Dolmus caught a pass and went the distance for a 7-0 lead.

“We had a blitz on, and they found a nice window to get Dolmus open for the score. We bent a lot but didn’t break. That kid is a weapon,” Haley said. “Our defense played 45-plus minutes of shutout ball against a team with two outstanding players (Dolmus and running back Mike O’Brien).”

Law tied it on Neider’s two-yard run and Spencer Hannon’s conversion kick.

Neider, who was 8 of 14 passing, connected with Anthony Andriolas from 25 yards out with 4:06 left in the half to give Law the lead for good.

“This wasn’t just Anthony’s first TD catch; it was the first time he played in a football game,” Haley said of the sophomore. “John Neider, Spencer Hannon and (two-way tackle) Louis Sabo are the only ones on the team with varsity experience. We have a handful of starters who had never played any type of football.”

Law added to its 13-7 halftime lead when Neider ran it in on a fourth-down play. Lucas Pincus-Coyle’s two-point conversion run made it 21-7 lead midway through the third quarter.

Sam Costantini’s long reception set up Neider’s 1-yard run to take the score to 28-7 after a Hannon PAT.

“Sam is a sophomore who had a great night (5 catches, 120 yards),” Haley said.

Matt Hagerty punched it in from a yard out to close the scoring with 4:01 remaining.

Haley liked his defense’s bend but don’t break approach.

“Our linebackers (Hannon, Ryan McNellis JT Nelly and Luke Iaffaldano) combined for 20 tackles, five for losses,” Haley said. “Ryan had the interception and played a great game. J.T. Nelly and Luke each had sacks”

The defensive front, led by Brandon Leslie, Joey Rogers and Gary Schulte, gave the quartet room to roam.

Haley said: “The front kept our linebackers clean. O’Brien is quite a running back for them. The front three were able to close things up inside and let the linebackers run clean. And coach Jimmy Esposito adjusted on defense and went with a 5-man box to try to limit Dolmus’ ability to get open.”

Louis Sabo, Devin Calvin, Dom DiFederico, Kyle Chy and Evan Nash on the o-line earned praise for their ability to give Neider time to throw.

On a side note, Haley said: “Lucas Pincus-Coyle was one trip of the ankle of returning a kickoff for a touchdown. He had 30 yards rushing and caught a pass for 10. The beauty of it is when they key on Luke it opens John up to run the option.”

Law will host Bassick on Friday at 4. The Lions lost 48-12 to Wilbur Cross in their opener.

“Our players responded to the coaching in the preseason. It was good to get off on the right foot. We had the physicality we were looking for,” Haley said. “There are things we didn’t do well. There are things we can improve on. To me that is a bonus. You get the good result, the confidence, and the kids are open to improving.” Twitter: @blox354