Weston holds on to beat Barlow
Updated 12:56 am, Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Give Danny Rogers the ball and magic happens on the gridiron.
The sophomore Rogers ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries to lead the Weston football team to a 29-23 home victory over Joel Barlow Thursday
He had touchdown runs of 17 and 56 yards in the first half and his 51-yard score with 10:49 left in the third quarter gave Weston the lead for good at 27-23.
Junior quarterback Tyler Hassett (10-14 for 90 yards) hit senior Matt Keeney (four catches for 26 yards) for the two-point conversion to make it 29-23. The Trojans finished at 7-3 and barely missed the Class S playoffs. Weston ended the year in ninth place in Class S, averaging 99 points per game, 14 points behind eighth-place Cromwell (113) and 15 points behind seventh-place Haddam Killingworth (114).
`It hurts a lot but it's a part of life and it's the luck of the draw," Trojans coach Joe Lato said.
If Haddam-Killingworth lost to previously undefeated Valley Regional Nov. 23, Weston would have made the tournament. However, HK defeated Valley Regional, 6-0 in a major upset.
"When I saw that score, it was a dagger in my heart," Lato said.
Barlow finished the year at 3-7 despite coming close to pulling off the upset.
"I think it's a misleading matchup because Barlow played some good teams tough and on paper, this matchup was a tossup," Lato said. "We made a couple more plays than they did."
The Falcons had a strong running game with 275 yards rushing on 41 carries and controlled field possession in the first quarter. Junior Alex Lockwood (nine carries for 72 yards, two catches for 30 yards) gave Barlow the lead on a 49-yard touchdown run. Sophomore Cal Cohane kicked the extra point to make it 7-0.
Although the Falcons ran well, they had no passing game as they completed only two passes for 30 yards. Trojan junior Justin Schaffer intercepted senior halfback Sam Reed's pass to prevent a score in the first quarter.
"I saw the screen coming," Schaffer said.
Reed immediately redeemed himself by intercepting Hassett's pass, which led to sophomore Jack Shaban's (11 carries for 76 yards) 19-yard touchdown run to make it 13-0.
After Rogers scored two touchdowns, Shaban returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown and Barlow led, 20-14.
Hassett (13 carries for 57 yards) answered with a 32-yard touchdown run and senior J.D. Simons hit his third straight extra point to give the Trojans a 21-20 lead.
However, Cohane kicked a 33-yard field goal before the half to give the Falcons a 23-21 lead at the break.
Weston also had a strong ground game, running for 275 yards on 37 carries. Moreover, its defense picked up its game in the second half.
"After the first half, we made the reads and were able to move the ball," Hassett said. "We had an edge with Danny running the ball. The defense did the job in the second half."
"I just went through the line and they didn't block me," Gomar said. "I put one hand on the ball and it went out."
Also playing well defensively for Weston were Hassett (11 tackles), Keeney (11 tackles), sophomore Patrick Rogers (11), Danny Rogers (eight), seniors Austin Delaney (eight), Ryan Savage (five) and (four), Schaffer (six), sophomore Grayson Keith (seven) and freshman Alex Crowell (three).
However, Weston didn't capitalize and it remained a one-possession game and Barlow had one last chance.
Schaffer squelched it by intercepting junior Cooper Brown's pass with 7.8 seconds left in the game.
"He threw behind his receiver and I was able to pick up on it," Schaffer said. "I was excited because I knew it sealed the win."
Simons had five catches for 22 yards in his last high school football game.
"It's a great feeling to get the win, especially against our rival Joel Barlow," Simons said. "It sucks not being in the playoffs, but we're still improving and next year's class can make the playoffs. I'm looking to see good thing from them next year."