Lawmen win second straight game
Derrick Lewis is attempting to breathe new life into an old football program at Jonathan Law High School. The big, and often-times emotional, head coach of the Lawmen is doing just that.
After losing their first four contests by a combined margin of 156-17 (to Harding, Wilbur Cross, Hillhouse and Hamden, respectively), the Lawmen are now on a two-game winning streak, thanks to an electrifying 35-34 home victory over Sheehan of Wallingford on Oct. 24.
It took an interception by two-way standout Giovanni Marzullo, on a two-point conversion attempt by the Titans after time had run out, to preserve the victory. Coupled with a 38-6 win over East Haven the previous weekend, it gives Law a 2-4 record as the locals began preparation for today’s game at SCC rival Guilford High at 7 p.m.
“There isn’t a better way to build a program and take positive strides than what we did tonight,” Lewis said in the afterglow of the victory and a long talk with his players.
“Here we were down two touchdowns at the half (Law trailed the Titans, 21-7, at intermission), and we clawed and fought our way back into the game. I see our kids getting more comfortable and confident. This win can’t help but produce more of that.”
A pair of touchdown passes by Tyler Selmecki, the third quarterback that Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi has had to use so far in 2014, allowed the Titans to build up their 21-7 margin.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Lawmen were able to strike first after Tim Caldwell, a junior tailback, rushed in from three yards out at 7:14 of the second quarter. His only carry of the game culminated a 15-play, 72-yard drive that began with 2:50 to play in the opening quarter.
Mick Murray’s conversion kick gave Law a 7-0 lead. But, from that point on in the second 12-minute session, the game belonged to Sheehan.
Selmecki, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 221 yards and three scores, got his first on a 34-yard completion to Zach Davis with 4:14 remaining. The Titans chose to go for one-point and Tristan Bianco tied the game at 7-7.
A fumble on the ensuing kick-off gave Sheehan good field position at the Law 28. Six attempts later, Selmecki ran it in from 19 yards out and Bianco’s kick made it 14-7.
Just two plays into their drive, the Lawmen turned it over again at the Law 39. Another Selmecki to Davis touchdown pass, covering 39 yards, and a Bianco kick gave Sheehan a 21-7 lead going into the locker room. The touchdown was scored with 23 seconds left.
Sheehan, which deferred after winning the coin toss, got the ball to start the second half.
Three plays after the kick-off, however, Law’s Tucker Saley recovered a Sheehan fumble on the Titans’ 30-yard line.
Given an early opportunity, Law’s offense went to work. A total of 12 plays later (all on runs), Marzullo punched it in from two yards out at 6:08 and the Lawmen had closed to 21-13. Murray’s PAT kick attempt was blocked.
Max German, who carried the ball 39 times for 194 yards, then scored from 30 yards out at 1:21. He took a hand-off from Tim Edson, broke to his left and beat two defenders into the end zone.
Down 21-19, the Eagles went for the two-pointer. Caldwell carried it in and the two teams were tied, 21-21.
Another Titan turnover at the Sheehan 33 with 1:16 to go in the third quarter gave Law the ball once again.
Five straight carries by German brought the ball to the Sheehan 11.
Marzullo’s 9-yard run gave Law a third-and-goal from the two. German got the call again, scoring on the play and giving Law a 27-21 lead.
With 10:08 left in the game, Murray kicked off. Davis took the kick, returning it 15 yards out to the Sheehan 34. Selmecki showed his grit on the next two plays.
First, he completed a pass to Bobby Carey, good for 27 yards. Then, with a first-and-10 from the Law 39, he hit Jim Shelton on a 36 yarder, giving his team a first down on the Eagles’ three-yard line.
Law was assessed a half-the-distance to the goal-line penalty on the play. Davis then took it in from a yard out and Bianco’s kick put the Titans out in front once again, 28-27.
Law got the ball back with 9:19 to play on its own 18-yard line.
“We wanted to kill some time (after getting the ball),” German said. “But we didn’t want to waste time, either.”
Running with authority on some holes opened up by its offensive line of Drew Carolan , Brandon Chairaluce, Dylan Lucas, Brendan Ahern and Sean Rice, Marzullo (four carries) and German (eight carries) did the bulk of the work.
It was German who went in from 10 yards out at 2:27. Caldwell again provided the two-point conversion and the Eagles led, 35-28.
Law, however, still had to deal with a Titans’ potent offense led by Selmecki. He skillfully led his team down the field, completing 6 of 9 passes, the last one covering 10 yards to Davis and bringing Sheehan to within a point, at 35-34.
“There wasn’t any doubt about it, we were going for the win,” said Ferrazzi. “And, it was going to be a pass. We tried to go to Davis on the strong side.”
Law had 324 yards of offense. Of that total, 315 on 60 running plays came on the ground. The Lawmen had 17 first downs and scored 28 points in the second half.
“Our kids have been hitting the weight room three days per week,” said Lewis. “It’s showed. We were ready to play in the second half. We looked fresh. That’s what I want to see.”
German is excited about what the team has done in the past two weeks.
“We were able to make this happen (a win) tonight,” he said. “It’s amazing. It’s almost impossible to put into words right now just how happy I am.”