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Hassett, Weston rally past Bunnell

Updated 1:26 pm, Saturday, October 13, 2012

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  • Senior quarterback Tyler Hassett fumbles the ball during second half action at Bunnell High School on Friday evening in Stratford. Bunnell led by a few long runs and receptions and opened up to a 18-7 halftime margin

© J. Gregory Raymond Photo: J. Gregory Raymond / Stamford Advocate Freelance;  © J. Gregory Raymond
    Senior quarterback Tyler Hassett fumbles the ball during second half action at Bunnell High School on Friday evening in Stratford. Bunnell led by a few long runs and receptions and opened up to a 18-7 halftime margin © J. Gregory Raymond Photo: J. Gregory Raymond

 

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STRATFORD -- Coming in, undefeated Weston had every reason to expect a walkover playing at one-win Bunnell. What it got instead was a dogfight.

After trailing for most of the game, the Trojans scored 20 unanswered points in the second half and overtime to win 27-20 Friday night at Bulldog Field.

"These kids, they just don't give in," Weston head coach Joe Lato said. "We didn't play a great game, but they found a way to overcome the adversity and stay together and get it done in the fourth.

"Bunnell played a good game, a very spirited game. I give them credit. We were just happy to get out of here with what we did."

Weston quarterback Tyler Hassett had a great night running and passing. He had 233 yards through the air, 83 on the ground and three touchdowns, including the tying and go-ahead scores.

Early on, though, it was Bunnell (1-4) that came out firing. Weston (5-0) fumbled on just the third play of the game and Bunnell recovered on the Weston 15-yard line. Justin Townsend scored on a 10-yard run to put Bunnell up 6-0.

Weston answered with a 47-yard kick return by Zach Cannon and scored three plays later on a Hassett run. From there on, though, the constant pressure by Bunnell's defense gave Weston fits.

"They were being really aggressive blitzing and we were a little late with getting rid of the ball and they got some timely sacks," Lato said.

Bunnell scored two more times in the first half, both by way of the big play. Nolan Auriela hauled in an 80-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Bryan Castelot. Two drives later, Terrence D'Nabian scored on a 30-yard run to put his team up 20-7 going into the break.

After the half, Weston began to chip away. The Trojans would score on a trick play: Wide eceiver Erik Dammen-Brower took a reverse handoff and then stopped and threw a 53-yard pass down field to a wide open Thomas McGlone for a touchdown.

It was the Trojan defense that stepped up next, stopping Bunnell on fourth down and then forcing a three-and-out. With just over seven minutes left, Weston would have a shot at the go-ahead score.

Hassett drove his team 63 yards, at one point converting a fourth down on a fake punt by completing a 33-yard pass. Down at the Bunnell 1-yard line, Weston let Hassett keep the ball four straight times. He finally scored on the fourth attempt, diving over the line to knot the score at 20-20.

However, resilient Bunnell stepped up yet again. Defensive end Isaiah Arthur-Brown blocked the pivotal extra-point attempt to keep the game tied. With the ball one last time before the end of regulation, Bunnell was unable to score, missing a 42-yard field goal attempt.

Weston got the ball first in overtime. Facing a third-and-5, Hassett dropped back and found McGlone in the back of the end zone. The receiver juggled but was able to hold onto the ball.

"They were blitzing everyone so I knew he was going to be open," Hassett said, "and I kind of threw it off my back foot while I was being hit and Thomas made a good catch."

After the extra point, Weston led 27-20. With 10 yards to go and a chance to tie the game, Bunnell made a costly error at the worst possible time. Weston's defense forced a fumble and the two teams piled on the ball, the game hanging in the balance. As the referees signaled Weston ball, the Trojan players rushed off the field cheering.

"It doesn't come down to one football play," Bunnell head coach Craig Bruno said. "There were a lot of plays in the game that we could've made and they made them and we came up short. They beat us fair and square."

WESTON 7 0 7 6 7--27

BUNNELL 12 8 0 0 0--20

B--Justin Townsend 10 run (run failed)

W--Tyler Hassett 4 run (Cannon kick)

B--Nolan Aurelia 80 pass from Bryan Castelot (run failed)

B--Terrence N'Dabian 30 run (N'Dabian run)

W--Thomas McGlone 53 pass from Erik Dammen-Brower (Cannon kick)

W--Hassett 4 run (kick blocked)

W--McGlone 5 pass from Hassett (Cannon kick)

Records: Weston 5-0; Bunnell 1-4.

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