Law looking forward after loss to Guilford

With only four games to play in his high school football career, Jonathan Law High running back/outside linebacker Joe Ziebell realizes that his team has a fight on its hands.

In what has been a rather trying season for coach Mark Robinson’s Lawmen, in which the injuries have piled up.

Law suffered a 63-28 Southern Connecticut Conference Division II loss to Guilford Friday on Senior Night.

The defeat left Law with a 1-6 mark, with remaining games left at Branford this Friday night, and with Lyman Hall of Wallingford and Plainfield before the traditional Thanksgiving morning battle with cross-city rival Foran. The only home contest left on the schedule is with Foran.

“We’ve got to put something together here real soon,” said Ziebell, who rushed for 143 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns in the loss to Guilford (4-4).

The Indians, with a win against Hillhouse, could clinch their first-ever SCC Division II West title.

“I think it’s time that we stopped letting people believe that Law is a push over,” Ziebell said. “We have winnable games left on our schedule.”

Law put up the good fight in the first half and trailed 27-21 at intermission.

Guilford, behind quarterback Joe Nault (222 yards and five rushing touchdowns to go along with two passing) and running back Dave Knapp (184 yards and two touchdowns), took over in the final 24 minutes by scoring five times. The last time that the two teams met in Milford (in 2010), Guilford scored a 67-53 victory.

“We’ve been hit hard by injuries this year, especially to our key players,” Robinson said. “Most of our best guys have been playing at seventy-five percent. I can’t fault anyone. We played hard tonight.

“Guilford is a physical team and we couldn’t stay with them in the second half.”

Law took a 7-0 lead a little before the midway point of the first quarter after Ryan Siddall recovered a punt dropped by Guilford’s Tony Pensa.

The Lawmen took over on the Indians’ 20 and scored six plays later when quarterback Giovanni Marzullo completed an eight-yard pass to Tim Maher. Mick Murray made the conversion kick.

On the following series, Guilford, which had 504 yards rushing and another 73 through the air, drew within a point when Nault keep the ball on an option and went 87 yards to score with 5:18 to play in the first quarter.

On its next possession, Law, which had five turnovers for the game, gave the ball back when Nash Singleton intercepted a pass on the Law 42 and returned 25 yards to the 17.

The Indians took a 12-7 lead when Nault scored from six yards out. Knapp ran the conversion in and Guilford led, 14-7, with 1:57 left in the quarter.

A one-yard run by Ziebell, one of 13 seniors who were recognized before the game, made it a 14-13 game before Murray’s PAT drew Law even at 14.

“He (Ziebell) plays hard every game,” Robinson said. “It’s always lights out with him. He never worries about himself. Joey wants to make things happen and he’ll wear himself out trying to do it.”

But another long run by Nault, this one covering 78 yards, put Guilford on top, 20-14, at 5:44 of the second quarter.

Law was able to pull even one more time, on a four-yard touchdown run by Ziebell and Murray’s conversion with 2:16 to play.

Guilford rolled again though, as Pensa returned the next kickoff 57 yards to the Law 23.

After Knapp was stopped for no gain, Nault broke off another scoring run and Guilford took a 27-21 lead into halftime.

Only a 20-yard completion for six points from Marzullo to Maher interrupted Guilford’s scoring efforts in the second half.

Honored before the game were Ziebell, Alex Boyd, Nick Casagrande, Jimmy Davenport, Mike DiBartolomeo, Joe Kirschner, Maher, Ian Malone, Luke Mazzeo, Sam McTighe, Efrain Negron, Siddall and Mark Thibault.