The Shelton High football team is growing up.
The Gaels picked off another Southern Connecticut Conference Tier 1 opponent Friday night, handing North Haven a 31-20 loss before about 1,400 on a warm early October night at Finn Stadium.
“We are a much better team than we were week one,” said Shelton coach Jeff Roy. “We are getting better every week. It’s a young team. We’re growing. We’ve got [three] really good wins under our belt against Hand, Prep and [North Haven].
Shelton, winners of four in a row, led for all but the first 30 seconds of the game.
That’s how long it took the Gaels (4-1 overall, 3-1 SCC Tier 1) to drive 83 yards, with Jake Roberts opening the game with a 14-yard pass to Brian Berritto, and sophomore running back Georgio Ghazal then busting loose for a 69-yard touchdown run, his first varsity score.
Nick Andrade added the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Andrade made it 10-0 in the second quarter on a 32-yard field goal.
The Indians (3-2 overall, 1-2 SCC) fought back to within 10-7 at the halftime, and were set to receive the second half kickoff.
But Andrade executed a perfect onside kick, recovering the ball himself at the North Haven 46.
“He did a great job on that surprise onside [kick],” said Roy of Andrade. “We wanted to get the momentum in the second half.”
One play later, Roberts handed off to Paul Ferrigno, who tossed the ball back to Roberts. Roberts found a wide-open David Yakowicz on the flea-flicker for a 17-7 Shelton lead.
Twice in the second half, the Indians would pull within one score of Shelton. Both times, the Gaels had answers.
Roberts threw a 1-yard jump pass to Michael Lockavitch for one score, and Ghazal sealed the win with a 27-yard touchdown run with 8:39 left in the fourth quarter.
“That was a big win for us,” said Roy. “Good team (North Haven), a well-coached team. We knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle with them.”
The win was hard earned, not only by the players, but also Roy, who suffered a torn achilles in the second half while roaming the Shelton sidelines.
The veteran Shelton coach continued to direct the team from the sidelines using crutches.
On the field, the Gaels were led by Roberts who completed 15-of-22 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
Berritto caught seven passes for 84 yards while Lockavitch and Yakowicz caught touchdown passes.
Ghazal had a career night with 119 yards and two touchdowns while playing in place of the injured Jack Carr.
Defensively, the Gaels recorded six sacks and kept North Haven’s single wing offense in check.
Shelton travels to Newtown on Friday night to play the 3-1 Nighthawks. Game time is 7 p.m.
Shelton inducted Dan Orlovsky into the school’s Hall of Fame at halftime.
Orlovsky, a 2001 Shelton grad, was the Connecticut State Player of the Year in 2000, leading Shelton to an undefeated state championship season.
Orlovsky recently retired after a 12-year NFL career.