Lions weather Sheehan Titans
Maybe it should rain every Friday night.
While many area high school football teams opted not to play its games, Sheehan of Wallingford decided to go against the norm and maintained its invitation to Foran High to pay a visit to Richitelli Field.
The Lions, seeking their first win of the season after consecutive losses to Hillhouse-New Haven (55-34) and Shelton (31-8), rolled into Wallingford and subsequently steamrolled the Titans, 26-7.
As the downpours intensified in the second half, Foran, led by sophomore quarterback Jake Kasuba, picked up the pace and scored three times to overcome a 7-6 deficit.
“I’m very proud of our guys tonight,” said Foran coach Jeff Bevino, whose team heads off to East Haven this week for another Southern Connecticut Conference Division II East game.
“This was a tough time for us to play. What was nice is we proved how well we could play under some very adverse weather conditions.”
Foran put up 385 yards of offense, with 300 of it coming on the ground.
Kasuba completed 12-of-18 passes for 85 yards, while sophomore Nick Weissauer caught nine passes for 74 yards.
Senior running back Nico DeRosa rushed for 150 yards on 15 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“We worked all week on getting off of the ball, being able to make our offense work well,” Bevino said.
“Those big rushing plays helped to take some of the pressure off of a young kid [Kasuba]. But he also made some big plays when he had to.”
Sheehan (1-2) took the opening drive, and behind the running of junior quarterback Jeremy Gannon, went 63 yards in 12 plays with Gannon scoring on a keeper with 8:19 to play.
Kyle Paolella’s conversion kick gave the Titans, who beat Jonathan Law, 45-42 in their opener, before losing to Amity (58-14) in week two.
It took Foran a good part of the first quarter to get even
After driving to the Sheehan 12 and turning the ball over on downs, the Lions got the ball back at their own 48 following a Titan punt.
Kasuba hooked up with Weissauer for a 12-yard gain on the first play, and DeRosa ended the drive by breaking off a 40-yard run down the right sideline.
A bad snap on the conversion kick forced an incomplete pass and Sheehan retained a one-point lead, 7-6.
During one stretch, DeRosa had runs covering 28, 40 and 33 yards behind the blocks of guards Anthony Detullio and John Haray, center Ed Drapp, and tackles James Monk and Zack Hubler.
Foran put together another lengthy drive, stretching out 65 yards on 11 plays, but the Lions came up short, running out of downs on the Sheehan five.
Kasuba threw three straight completions of 12, three and eight yards in the series.
Trailing by a point and facing possible monsoon conditions for the start of the second half, Foran struck quickly.
Zach White returned the kickoff 87 yards and the Lions jumped out front, 14-7, when White added a conversion run.
Foran steadily pulled away in the second half, going up 20-7, at 2:37 of the third on DeRosa’s three-yard run.
It was 26-7 after Andrew Melendez, normally an offensive lineman, scored from three yards out with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter.
Sheehan’s offense put together a substantial drive right before the Lions’ final score.
Led by Gannon, the Titans got to the Foran 24 before a Justin Lange pass was picked off by Jesse Aldredge at the Lions’ two-yard line.
Following Foran’s final touchdown, the Titans’ turned it over again, this time on a fumble by Gannon at the Lions’ 40.
“Their ability to throw the ball, especially down the stretch, hurt us more than anything,” Sheehan coach John Ferrazzi said of Foran receivers Weissauer, Sean Deegan, White and Chris Hoey.
“Our defense was much better this year, but we did bend a little too much in the second half.
“Overall, we couldn’t catch a break. The fumbles and penalties hurt us too much.”
Foran’s defense was led by an interior of Melendez, Hubler and Chris Young, along with outside linebackers Danny Aldredge and Danny Rivera. Helping out in the secondary were Connor Cadrin and Sam Olsson.