Defense wins games is not just a cliché in football, it's a fact. Proof of it was Saturday when the Weston football team defeated Immaculate 29-12 at home because of the strength of its defense. Weston raised its record to 3-1. Immaculate dropped to 1-3.

"We never panicked on defense," Trojans Coach Joe Lato said. "The one score our defense allowed was a technique issue and it was more attention to detail."

Senior Carmine Magnoli spearheaded Weston's defense with eight tackles, four quarterback pressures, two sacks and two fumble recoveries. His first fumble recovery was at the Mustang 38-yard line in the first q uarter after senior Jacob Spencer forced the fumble.

"I just saw the ball on the ground and I jumped on it," Magnoli said.

That recovery set up senior quad-captain Eddie Hutchins' 3-yard touchdown run. Junior J.D. Simons kicked the extra point and the Trojans led, 7-0.

A poor Weston snap from center off a punt forced the team to lose 29 yards on the play and the Mustangs had a first down on the Trojan 24. However, senior quad-captain Drew Clevenger tackled Immaculate senior tri-captain Eddie Joseph for a four-yard loss and Magnoli tackled McCorkle after only a three-yard gain and the Mustangs turned it over on downs.

Immaculate scored twice in the second quarter with senior tri-captain Greg Wax throwing a 43-yard touchdown pass to junior Dan McCorkle. Magnoli's tackle of Wax nixed the two-point conversion attempt and Weston led, 7-6.

Fumbling was an issue for the Trojans as they lost three balls on them. Spencer (one catc for 15 yards) put two balls on the ground but after his second miscue, senior quad-captain Eddie Hutchins forced a fumble that Magnoli recovered on the Immaculate 49. However, Hutchins gave it back on a missed exchange and Mustang junior Sheldon Irving took advantage of the faux pas and returned it 62 yards for the score. The pass for two points was no good.

"We had a lack of focus and had trouble with ball security," Lato said.

Weston took the lead for good when sophomore Aaron Pomerance recovered Hutchins' fumble in the end zone with 2:58 remaining in the half. Hutchins ran it in for the two-point conversion and the Trojans led 15-12 at the break. On the go-ahead drive, sophomore quarterback Tyler Hassett (5-10 for 53 yards) hit Hutchins for 14 yards and juniors Matt Keeney (three catches for 24 yards) and Connor Johnson for seven and six yards, respectively.

Although Weston was ahead, it wasn't pleased with its first half performance.

"My players were put in an adverse situation but they came together," Lato said. "I'm very proud of them because they figured things out for themselves and fixed the problems."

Hutchins said, "We came out flat but our team handled adversity pretty well and we bounced back in the second."

The seniors, especially, took the lead in jumpstarting the team.

"We didn't come out like we wanted to and it was the seniors' job to get the team together and come out harder in the second half than we did in the first half," senior quad-captain Jack Crowell said.

On offense, Hutchins (36 carries for 128 yards) was the team's workhorse. He touched the ball on more than half of the Trojans' plays.

"I just ran hard," Hutchins said.

In the second half, the Mustangs figured Hutchins was going to run with it and designed their defense to stop him, which they did a few times. Senior Jamie Terrell (four carries for 48 yards) Pomerance (two carries for 25 yards) were effective change-of-pace running backs for the Trojans. After Hutchins was tackled for a one-yard loss, Terrell found a hole and ran for 15 yards to give Weston a first down on Immaculate's 40. Terrell finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run with 2:52 left in the third quarter. Simons kicked the extra point to make it 22-12.

"Compliments go to Eddie because they [the Mustangs] waited for him," Terrell said. "The linemen and receivers blocked well, which left the perimeter open and all I had to do was look for the open field."

Clevenger (four tackles, one quarterback pressure), Crowell (four tackles, one sack, one quarterback pressure), junior Ryan Savage (five tackles) and Keeney bottled up the opposing offense.

"I think we came out hard and hit hard," Clevenger said. "Once they saw they can't run on us, we hit the quarterback over and over."

Crowell said, "All week, we stressed getting pressure on the quarterback. Clevs [Clevenger], Carmine and Ryan Savage pressured the quarterback as much as possible."

Magnoli was the go-to defender and made it impossible for the Mustangs.

"I just did what I did in practice and it worked out in the end," Magnoli said. "As Eddie Hutchins said, `it's a battle of the defense.'"

Simons (three tackles, three passes broken up), Hassett (two passes broken up) and junior Sebastian Valin (two tackles, two passes broken up) came up big in the secondary.

Hutchins threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to junior Matt Keeney with 6:52 to go in the game off the wildcat formation. Simons kicked the extra point to account for the final.

Weston will face a tough Pomperaug team on Saturday at home.

"We'll definitely come out and be ready," Crowell said.