Lions over power Mustangs

Fueled by five touchdowns from Jake Kasuba, the Foran High football team sailed past visiting Fairfield Warde, 39-20, in the season-opening SCC-FCIAC Challenge at DeVito Sports Complex on Sept. 11.

Kasuba threw four long touchdown passes to lead the Lions to victory— two apiece to senior wide receivers Nick Weissauer (60 and 33 yards) and Sean Deegan (50 and 65 yards).

The junior quarterback added a five-yard rushing down in the first half, as the Lions opened up a 24-7 advantage and never looked back.

“We did a lot of good things,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “There are a lot of things we need to work on, but we’ll take it. We were big when we needed to be big.”

Warde quarterback Brendan Bisack fired a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ryan Brown to pull the Mustangs within 8-7 in the first quarter. That was as close as the Mustangs got, as Foran pulled away for the win.

Colin Ventura accounted for Warde’s other touchdowns, punching in a 3-yard run in the third quarter and returning a punt 72 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.

Anthony Kopatch and Dave McLenithan intercepted passes for the Lions.

Foran takes on West Haven High Friday at 4 p.m. at Ken Strong Stadium.

Warde hosts league rival Trumbull High (0-1) at Tetreau/Davis Field on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Kasuba connected on 17-of-33 passes for 318 yards and added 36 yards rushing on 10 carries.

Junior tailback Stephen Longley rushed for 98 yards on 18 attempts, while Weissauer carried four times for 46 yards.

Weissauer caught passes for 138 yards and Deegan had four for 137 yards.

“They set up the big plays,” Warde coach Duncan Dellavolpe said. “They out-conditioned us.”

After Foran’s defense forced a three-and-out on the first Mustangs’ possession, Kasuba sold the Warde defense on a fake before whipping a 60-yard scoring strike to Weissauer on the first Lion play from scrimmage.

Zach White caught the two-point conversion pass from Kasuba and Foran led 8-0 just 47 seconds into the game.

“That was lovely,” Bevino said. “It was well-orchestrated. He (Kasuba) did a great job with that, he hid the ball. It’s a play we’ve been working on and he did a tremendous job putting it out there... It was well-executed by everybody.”

Warde responded with a six-play, 59-yard drive to narrow its deficit to 8-7. Bisack’s 48-yard touchdown pass to Brown on third-and-13 put the Mustangs right back in the contest with just under nine minutes left in the first quarter.

But, the Lions offense could not be slowed down.

With Longley picking up the tough yards between the tackles, and Kasuba cutting up the defense with quick passes, the Lions rolled 53 yards in 12 plays for a score.

Longley, running behind Luke Edmonson, Jesse Allredge, Anthony Raccio, Esteban Velez and Zach Hubler, gained 14 yards on the drive’s first play, before Kasuba scrambled up the middle for a 5-yard touchdown. Weissauer ran in the two-point conversion to make it 16-7.

The Mustangs then had a 10-play drive, aided by a Lions’ personal foul, stall deep Foran territory.

“I was a little disappointed in our penalties... We can’t afford to do that,” Bevino said.

The teams traded punts, until Kasuba hit Weissauer from 33 yards out. White’s conversion run made it 24-7 with 2:20 left in the first half.

Coming out of the break, Foran scored on the third play of the second half, with Kasuba and Deegan hooking up for a 50-yard touchdown.

Kopatch caught the conversion to make it 32-7.

Warde rallied back behind Ventura’s one-yard plunge at the 1:12 mark of the third quarter, and his 72-yard punt return for a touchdown with 8:50 left in the fourth quarter.

Kasuba erased any thoughts of a comeback bid, tossing a 65-yard touchdown pass to Deegan on first play of the ensuing possession.

“That’s what that kid is capable of,” Bevino said of Kasuba.

Up next is West Haven High. Bevino summed up the Westies in two words, “well-coached.”

“They got the man over there,” said Bevino, in reference to the Westies’ legendary head coach Ed McCarthy — who is six wins shy of the Connecticut’s all-time wins record.