Lawmen earned victory at line of scrimmage
If the Jonathan Law football team wanted to turn the corner and end a streak of losing seasons, coach Erik Larka’s knew it would begin at the line of scrimmage.
“When you can run or pass that makes play-calling easy, and that begins with play upfront,” Larka said after his Lawmen guaranteed themselves of at least a 500 season with a dominating four-quarter performance with a 46-0 victory over SCC Tier 3 rival Lyman Hall of Wallingford on Senior Night at Lawmen Stadium last Friday
“Our game plan came to fruition,” said Larka after the Lawmen improved to 5-4. “Our five-front defense (Andrew Paulus, Justin Abe, Sheldon Gargano, Storm Furtado and Jack Bombace) played outstanding. That allowed our linebackers (Ryan Pisacane, Zach Merchant, Colby Primavera and Cole Egersheim) to roam free and make plays.”
Abe, a team captain with Paulus, Dean Pettway and Jimmy Boyle, pinpointed when as a team Law got better.
“In the preseason,” Abe said after making 11 tackles on defense and being part of the o-line that led to six offensive touchdowns. “We lifted every day and more importantly we pushed each other to get better. That carried into the season. We take every play to heart.”
Law quarterback Hayden Hulme threw for three touchdowns against a 5-3 Lyman Hall combine.
Mike Plaskon scored on a pass reception and passed for another touchdown.
Ethan Saley latched onto two TD passes.
Dean Pettway caught a TD pass and returned an interception for another score.
Shelton Gargano ran for a score.
Abe had a tackle for a two-point safety.
Egersheim booted a 34-yard field goal and made all five of his conversion kicks.
The stars of the game came from the line of scrimmage.
Lyman Hall never got into a flow against the Lawmen.
The Trojans first possession was short-lived, and after a punt, Law went into it’s bag of tricks to take the lead.
“We had practiced one play and it came out picture perfect when we needed it,” Larka said.
Hulme pitched the ball to Plaskon, who ran right and then stepped back and threw the ball to a wide-open Saley. He caught the ball on the Lyman Hall 20 and trotted in to complete the 55-yard TD play.
Egersheim added the PAT, and Law had drawn a line in the turf with only 2:20 off the clock in this SCC Tier 3 tilt.
Abe, Merchant, Primavera and Furtado forced another three-and-out, and Law went back to work.
The senior quartet of David Tortora, Paulus, Furtado and Abe were joined on the offensive line by Nick Hannah, and the Lawmen moved the chains four times.
Plaskon bracketed Gargano’s 11-yard run with ball carries worth 10 and 11 yards.
Pettway went over the middle to catch a perfectly thrown pass from Hulme for 23 yards and a first and goal.
An illegal motion penalty, one of only three flags on Law in the game, erased Plaskon’s 7-yard TD run.
On 4th-and-goal from the three, Hulme was chased out of the pocket and threw a desperation pass that was intercepted by Amiri Vaughn on the one.
Law’s only turnover had a silver lining, as on first down Abe broke across to tackle Randy McFarline short of the goal line for a two-point safety.
Law led 9-0 with 3:45 left in the opening stanza.
Lyman Hall then put together its only sustained drive of the game, as the visitors moved from its 26 to the Law 37.
Abe and Gargano had back-to-back tackles for three-yard losses and Merchant stopped Trojan quarterback Matt Velardi short of the marker on a fourth-down carry.
Three plays later, Plaskon caught a ball in the flat and took measure of the defense in front of him. After a jump cut cleared some space, he reversed field and made another move at the Lyman Hall 40 before putting on the jets to complete his 75-yard TD reception.
Boyle got the ball right back when he intercepted a pass at its highest point on the Law 46.
Seven plays later, Hulme bootlegged right and threw a 23-yard pass in the back of the end zone to Saley to make it 22-0 with 3:10 left in the first half.
Pettway turned Lyman Hall’s next play from scrimmage into a 60-yard touchdown, when he intercepted a pass in front of the Trojan bench and scampered across field before heading down the sideline to paydirt.
Law took a 29-0 lead into the Ray Bloxsom Fieldhouse.
Egersheim’s 34-yard field goal came after Law took the second half kickoff.
On its next possession, the Lawmen’s Alex Pratcher went 35 yards on a first-down carry.
Plaskon added a pair of 22-yard gains, before Pettway went high and wrenched away a 9-yard TD pass away from a Trojan defender. It was 39-0 with 6:02 left in the third.
Primavera recovered a fumble on Lyman Hall’s next series, and Gargano gained 44 of the 59 yards needed to get to the end zone. He scored from 4 yards out with 5:39 remaining.
Law’s defense had one more stand in it.
With a running clock, Lyman Hall drove against Law reserves to the 1-yard line.
Walker Stebbins recovered a Trojan fumble on the one-foot line as time expired to preserve Law’s third shutout of the season.