Football: Law wins third straight, shuts out Stratford
Jonathan Law’s football team shut out Stratford High, 35-0, in a non-conference matchup at Lawmen Stadium on Friday night.
It was Law’s third consecutive victory after an 0-2 start to the season. The locals will play host to Branford High (4-1) next Friday at 7.
“The defense kept us in it,” Law coach Erik Larka said. “We came out a little sloppy on offense at first. Because of the way our defense played, that allowed me to stay in our game plan and call the plays we wanted.”
Many of the calls went to Mike Plaskon and the senior running back didn’t disappoint the large crowd of Law students on hand.
Plaskon rushed for three touchdowns and caught a pass for another score.
“I can’t do anything without my o-line and the blocking of our receivers on the perimeter,” said the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Plaskon. “What bothers me more than anything is that they don’t get the credit.”
Ryan Mola centers the o-line of Austin Danville, Nick Hannah, Zachary Gluhanic and Erik Borgerson.
The only thing ahead of his teammates not garnering headlines on Plaskon’s don’t list was the injury that forced him to miss the first two games, both losses.
“One of the hardest things for me ever on a football field was having to watch and not help my teammates,” Plaskon said. “It was devastating, because I love the sport and being able to compete with the rest of the guys.”
Law opened the scoring when quarterback Zach Smith connected with Ethan Saley for a 77-yard touchdown with under two minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
Saley caught the ball on the Stratford 46 and outraced two Red Devil defenders the rest of the way.
Spencer Hannon made the first of five conversion kicks for a 7-0 lead.
Naheim Washington recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at the Stratford 18.
On the first play of the second quarter, Smith found Plaskon on a center screen.
Plaskon made two tacklers miss at the point of the reception. He went the rest of the 23 yards and finished it with a jump by two players at the goal line.
The defense, and judicious use of timeouts by Larka, forced a punt late in the half and Saley returned the kick 15 yards to the Red Devil 33.
Smith hooked up with Vinny Schulte on a slant, and the senior motored for 19 yards.
After Saley caught another pass, and a penalty was tacked on, Plaskon finished the short drive with a 4-yard run and a 21-0 lead with 1:13 left to play in the half.
Stratford came out hard in the third quarter.
Coach Jack Petion’s Red Devils moved the chains three times on 4th-and situations to keep a 17-play drive going.
Stratford took 8:43 off the clock, before being denied by Zach Merchant, Michael Becker, Gargano, Danville and finally Hanna at the Law 5-yard line.
To further frustrate the Red Devils, Law went from its own six to paydirt in only four plays.
Plaskin broke off a 71-yard run on first down. Smith had a keeper for a yard. Plaskon then ran 16 and 6 yards to up the score to 28-0.
Stratford put together another short-yardage type of drive, only to again be stymied by the Lawmen who took over on downs at their 21.
After Jasen Docteur returned his second interception to the Law 32, the Johnnies had to dig in once again.
Anthony DiFederico, Merchant, Jacob Karas and Hanna were in on stops, before Danville tackled Docteur on fourth down at the 21.
“You don’t see a lot of that in high school football,” said Danville when asked what it was like to be part of a defense that didn’t allow a point. “To achieve that you need the d-line, the linebackers and the guys in the secondary communicating and playing hard every down.”
Sheldon Gargano, Hanna, DiFederico, Vaughn Weston, Mola and Karas manned the front.
Merchant, Becker and Walker Stebbins, and Curtis Murphy joined Danville at linebacker.
Raeshaun Jacobs, Saley and Plaskon came up fast from the secondary.
Law added its final touchdown with 58 seconds remaining.
The Lawmen went 79 yards in nine plays with Washington making a pair of receptions, including a 29-yard gain off a good pump fake and throw by Smith.
Schulte had a 22-yard catch, before Plaskon took a direct snap from Mola and went off left tackle for a 17-yard TD.