Foran takes care of Hillhouse

The Foran High football team’s calling card this season has been its high-octane offense that lights up the scoreboard to a tune of nearly 36 points per game.

After Friday night’s 34-6 Southern Connecticut Conference Division II drubbing of defending Class M state champions Hillhouse High at the DeVito Sports Complex, fueled by a voracious defensive effort, the Lions should be gaining a reputation on the other side of the ball as well.

Colin Lydiksen, Andrew Melendez, Zach Hubler led the charge up front, with Nick Weissauer and Sam Olsson cleaning up from the secondary, as the Lions held Hillhouse’s superlative senior tailback Harold Cooper to a season-low 14 yards on 17 carries.

“Any time you hold him under two hundred you’re good,” Foran High coach Jeff Bevino said. “Our kids played phenomenal tonight. They really, really did. They came to play today.”

Cooper, the state’s fifth leading all-time rusher with over 6,000 career yards, had one carry of 10 yards but was effectively walled off the rest of the night.

Desperate to generate any type of offense against Foran’s swarming defense, the Academics moved Cooper behind center — where he threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Clark in the third quarter to account for the lone Hillhouse touchdown.

It was too little, too late as Weissauer rushed for a pair of touchdowns, while Jake Kasuba ran for a score and threw another to Connor Cadrin to stake Foran to a 28-0 lead.

Melendez punched in a 1-yard touchdown to close out the scoring, as the Lions improved to 5-2 ahead of Friday night’s matchup with visiting East Haven High (1-6) at 7 p.m.

“In order to beat a team like Hillhouse, we have to be going on all cylinders,” Bevino said. “A couple of times, the ball bounced our way. Our kids were flying to the football tonight.”

Foran harassed Academics’ starting quarterback Corey Maddox into committing three turnovers, with Josh Mixie and Weissauer picking off first-half passes and Hubler recovering a fumble.

Weissauer’s interception at the Hillhouse 40-yard line set up Foran’s first score late in the first half.

Following an illegal substitution penalty on the Acs, Weissauer hauled in a 21-yard reception from Kasuba, who then called his own numbers on a quarterback draw, eluding several defenders en route to a 19-yard touchdown run.

Following the first of four conversion kicks from Olsson, Foran had a 7-0 lead with 2:12 remaining in the half.

On the ensuing possession, the Lions’ defense forced a Hillhouse punt. The snap sailed past punter Cedil Ogniovi, who scrambled to pick it up. He got off a punt, but it struck another Hillhouse player behind the line of scrimmage, allowing the Lions to take over on the Academics’ 25.

Kasuba immediately connected with Weissauer for a gain of 24, before Weissauer finished off the drive with a 1-yard plunge with 30.5 seconds left.

Special-teams woes continued to haunt Hillhouse (3-4) on the opening kickoff of the second half.

Hillhouse failed to cover the squib kick, as it bounced off of several Academics before Anthony Kopatch pounced on the ball at the Hillhouse 12.

Two plays later, Weissauer raced in from four yards out to up the Foran advantage to 21-0.

On Hillhouse’s next play from scrimmage, Maddox lost the ball — which Hubler recovered at the Academics’ 36.

The Lions went to their running game, with Luke Edmonson, Esteban Velez, Hubler, Anthony Raccio and Aniber Moras opening holes up front for Weissauer and Cadrin.

Cadrin pulled in a 7-yard scoring strike from Kasuba to make it 28-0.

The teams traded empty possessions from there, until Cooper came in at quarterback and hooked up with Clark for the long touchdown. Cooper missed the PAT and the score remained 28-6 Foran with 34 seconds left in the third quarter.

Melendez’s 1-yard run made it 34-6 midway through the fourth quarter, as the Lions cruised to their third straight victory behind a smothering defense and efficient offense.

“We’re healthy, we’re playing good defense and we’ve had success moving the football,” Bevino said. “I’m happy for our kids beating a team as good as Hillhouse.”