Hassett sparks Weston football over Pomperaug
SOUTHBURY -- Trailing Pomperaug by a point with 4:48 left on the clock, Weston head coach Joe Lato didn't want to let his team's bid for history to depend on a single kick.
With the Trojans' regular kicker, Zach Cannon, out the entire night with a shoulder injury, Lato let the team's fate rest in the hands of quarterback Tyler Hassett on a gutsy two-point conversion call.
Hassett, who seconds earlier connected with wide receiver Thomas McGlone for an 11-yard touchdown, rolled out of the pocket and saw his favorite target, Justin Schaffer standing alone in the end zone on the conversion attempt.
Hassett lightly tossed the ball to Schaffer and the senior wide receiver corralled it, lifting Weston to a dramatic 22-21 win over Pomperaug on Friday evening.
"Coach said on the kickoff, `We're going to get it, score and go for two and get out of here. That's what we did," Hassett said.
After Pomperaug (0-3) took the lead with 7:11 left on fullback John Yule's 7-yard burst into the end zone, Hassett helped set up Weston's game-winning seven-play drive by returning the kick to the Panthers' 46. Hassett went 3-for-4 on the drive and finished the evening 10-of-14 for 131 yards and two scores. He added 89 yards on the ground.
"I was just so proud of our kids," said Lato, who said it was Weston's first win over Pomperaug since 1990. "We were up against it and we were missing some key people, we had a short week. We didn't make excuses. We just said, `We're going to find a way' and the kids did.
"This is really sweet because Pomperaug is a storied program."
"It was probably the biggest (win) in our history," Hassett added.
Weston (3-0) put Pomperaug into an early hole as Hassett--also a starting defensive back--intercepted a pass in the first quarter, and then directed a 74-yard scoring drive. His 14-yard quarterback draw put the Trojans ahead 6-0 just 48 seconds into the second quarter.
The next drive, after a Pomperaug three-and-out, Hassett connected with tight end Erik Dammen-Brower on a 7-yard pass to make it 14-0.
"Like I've said for the past three weeks, we don't have an offense that can wow anybody. We can't be down 14-0," Pomperaug head coach Dave Roach said. "At the same time, we talked about at halftime about the kids coming out and making plays."
Pomperaug, which was outscored 89-17 in its first two losses this year, took until the second half to find its rhythm on offense. The Panthers, who missed two field goal attempts in the first half, got on the board in the third on Wade Prajer's 20-yard strike to wide receiver Steven Croce.
Running back Dylan McAllister added an 11-yard touchdown run with 10:13 left to tie it 14-14, capping the third of four straight drives in which Pomperaug opened in Weston territory.
Although Pomperaug eventually took the lead, it wasn't long before Weston grabbed it right back.
"I don't know what was going on, but they definitely were taking it to us," Lato said. "We were desperate to get the momentum back and Tyler did that for us."
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WESTON 22, POMPERAUG 21
WESTON 0 14 0 8--22
POMPERAUG 0 0 7 14--21
W--Tyler Hassett 14 run (Kick failed)
W--Erik Dammen-Brower 7 pass from Hassett (Justin Schaffer catch)
P--Dylan McAllister 11 run (Beatty kick)
P--John Yule 7 run (Beatty kick)
W--Thomas McGlone 11 pass from Hassett (Schaffer catch)
Records: Weston 3-0; Pomperaug 0-3.