2001 Thanksgiving game one of most memorable

Jonathan Law will play host to Foran High at 10:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day in a rivalry that has been marked by exciting contests.

Among the best of those in the 43-game rivalry came in 2001, when Mark Robinson made his debut as coach at Law with a 19-19 tie with coach Joe Beler’s playoff-bound Lions.

Law brought a three-game win streak and a 5-4 overall record into the 31st meeting (Law led 18-11-2) between the rivals.

Foran was coming off a dramatic 7-6 victory in the SWC championship game against New Milford.

The Lions, who would play on Thanksgiving without injured captains Sean Tracy and Matt Franco, had won seven straight games and brought a 9-1 record into the contest.

In the classic tie before 3,000 fans at Law, the Lawmen took a 19-6 lead in the third quarter.

Garrett Walker, who won the Daniel S Wasson Award as Foran’s MVP, connected with Bob Langan for a 58-yard touchdown pass to give Foran the early lead.

Law answered behind the duo of Jared Rohrig (9-of-14, 160 yards) and Joe Rohrig (four catches, 84 yards), who shared Teddy Paul Kostopolous honors as Law’s MVPs.

Jared Rohrig found Chris Benigni open for a 31-yard gain.

That set up a one-yard run by Matt Patterson (83 yards, 15 carries) and A.J. Grivalsky added the PAT to give Law a 7-6 lead with 1:39 left in the half.

Anthony Pietrini, Jose Salgado, Aaron Flynn, Matt Griswold and George Ayala led the blocking that allowed Law to dominate the third quarter (130 yards to 17).

Benigni, who was the Andrew Cretella Sportsmanship Award winner for Law, caught a 14-yard pass and Law led 13-6.

Anthony Cianciolo later broke multiple tackles to score on a 16-yard run and increase Law’s lead to 19-6.

Walker found Brian LaPlante for a 48-yard touchdown pass to bring Foran within 19-12 with 9:35 remaining in the game.

Walker completed 12-of-28 passes for 222 yards. LaPlante caught four balls for 78 yards.

Langan’s 30-yard catch-and-carry behind a Brian Marino block set up the tying touchdown, which came on Jeff Cash’s one-yard run. Cash ran for 92 yards on 22 carries.

Karl Kurbikoff’s conversion kick with 38 seconds remaining forged the tie and earned Foran a berth in the Class M playoffs.

Langan, who caught three passes for 96 yards, was the winner of the inaugural Michael Miller Memorial Greatest Individual Effort Award.

Chuck Williams was the Mario Ponsalle Unsung Hero Award winner for Foran.

Law’s Matt Griswold was the Ray Bloxsom Milford High Remembrance Award winner, as the game’s best lineman.

Nick Kopazna was Law’s Unsung Hero


A year later in the Ice Bowl, Foran defeated Law 6-2 at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.

The 2002 game marked Willie Vitelli’s debut as Foran High coach and the Lions won the Milford Bank Trophy.

Garrett Walker’s one-yard run completed an 11-play, 54-yard drive to open the second half for Foran (3-7-2).

Jesse Crespo, Chuck Williams, Paul Constantini and Matt Peterson led the Lion ground game, behind the blocking of Dan Lennon, Andrew Flanagan, Brandon Kendzierski, Josh Willey and Jim Hickey.

Ryan Kuhlmeier, Dan Albertson and Matt Saxton added to the blocking from their receiver positions.

Foran gained the lead with 8:18 remaining, and then took 8:17 more off the clock with a drive that carried into the fourth quarter.

Law held on downs here, with Anthony Cianciolo, Steve Narvaez, Kevin Morse and Tim Mars making the plays.

Kevin Kotos, who was voted the Michael Miller Memorial Award winner, later recovered a fumble by Law to keep it a one-touchdown game.

Justin Maher looked to provide a lift late in the game for Law (1-10).

Fine blocking by Bryan Griswold, Andrew Stash, Jeremy Rohrig, Andy Beck, Steve Schlusemeyer and Andrew Turner gave the junior quarterback the time he needed.

Maher threw a deep post pattern to Boomer Murzyn that was good for 36 yards to the Foran 47-yard line.

Flanagan, Mike Gannon, Mike Haray and Saxton made plays for the Lions to stall the drive, however, and Walker took a safety late to insure the victory.

Kendzierski was named the Ray Bloxsom Milford High Remembrance Award winner, as the game’s top lineman.

Seniors Jesse Crespo, Chuck Williams, Garrett Walker, T.J. Faye, Marc Ruggiero, Mike Kloeppner, Scott Warner, Dan Lennon, Andrew Flanagan, Tom Schmid, Ryan Kuhlmeier and Kevin Gibbons led the Lions.

Law senior stalwarts were Anthony Cianciolo, Boomer Murzyn, Lu Valentine, Steve Narvaez, Kevin Morse, Kevin Kotos, George Ayala, Bryan Griswold, Shawn Lawrence, Jesse Hall and Ray Volikas.