Lions lose SCC showdown

North Haven High’s football team forced four turnovers en route to a 27-0 win over Foran High in an SCC Division II East matchup on Nov. 7, at the Vito DeVito Sports Complex.

With the victory, the Indians improved to 8-1 and won the division title for the sixth year in a row. Foran dropped to 4-5 and had its three-game win streak halted.

North Haven quarterback Cole Pecora led the charge for the Indians, rushing 15 times for 162 yards and three touchdowns (39, 56 and 12 yards). Tailback Michael Montano added a 3-yard scoring run, as North Haven turned Foran’s first three turnovers into touchdowns.

The Lions host Guilford High (2-6) Friday at 7 p.m.

Against North Haven, Foran could not slow down the Indians’ wing rushing attack. North Haven rolled up 343 yards on 48 carries, an average of 7.1 yards, and Pecora needed to complete just 1-of-3 passes for seven yards.

“We knew our offensive touches would be limited because they control the clock,” Foran High coach Jeff Bevino said. “We tried to do some things that we don’t usually do. You get down against these guys and you’ve got to try to do things. That’s a good football team, man.”

A fumble by the Lions at midfield defused a promising drive on their second possession, setting up North Haven’s first touchdown.

After a pair of runs by Jake Kastenhuber (nine carries for 95 yards) and Thomas Gallagher, Pecora scrambled 39 yards to paydirt on a keeper. Sabrina Fronte tacked on the extra point, giving the Indians a 7-0 lead they would not relinquish.

Foran quarterback Jake Kasuba connected with Brett Huber and Colin Firmender on completions of 15 and 18 yards to lead the Lions into North Haven territory, but the drive stalled and Joe Radecki punted it back to the Indians at their 23.

North Haven then marched down to the Foran 26-yard line on 15 straight run plays, but turned it over on downs when Gallagher was stacked up at the line of scrimmage with 4:58 left in the half.

The Lions again breached North Haven territory, keyed by a 20-yard Kasuba keeper. Foran was faced with a fourth-and-1 from the North Haven 44 and elected to punt, giving the Indians a long field after Radecki pinned them at the 10.  Pecora completed his only pass of the game, to tight end Mehdi Azizi, but time expired and the teams went into the locker room with North Haven leading 7-0.

Foran’s defense forced a punt coming out of the break, but the Lions muffed it and North Haven covered it at the Foran 16.

“That changed the ball game,” Bevino said. “You can’t do those things against these teams.”

The Indians cashed in again, with Montano capping a six-play scoring drive with a 3-yard plunge to up the North Haven edge to 13-0.

Kasuba had a pass intercepted in the North Haven end zone on Foran’s next drive and Pecora ran 56 yards for a touchdown on a third-and-8. Montano punched in the two-point conversion to make it 21-0 North Haven.

Pecora then scored a 12-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to provide the final scoreline.

Foran will now set its sights on closing out its campaign strong, with games against Guilford and Jonathan Law (4-4), winners of four straight, to finish the year. The Lions are also looking to post their third consecutive winning season.

“I said to my seniors, ‘We have to get these last two,’” Bevino said. “It’s important for our seniors to go out on a winning note. We have to face Guilford, they run that tough option, and Law, Law is rejuvenated.”