Death, taxes and Shelton High defeating Amity High in football; okay, so the last one may not be as certain as the first two but it’s become pretty close the last 20 years.
The seventh-ranked Gaels beat Amity for the 12th straight time, and 19th out of the last 20 times the two teams have played, with a 27-17 victory over the Spartans on a blustery early November Friday night in front of about 1,300 at Finn Stadium.
The orange-and-black of Shelton, 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the Southern Connecticut Conference’s Tier 1 and winners of seven straight games, jumped out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter and then held on against an upset-minded Amity team.
The Spartans, playing in the SCC’s Tier 2 this season, fell to 2-6 overall.
The Gaels played most of the game without banged up junior quarterback Jake Roberts (sprained knee), including all of the second half.
Junior tailback Jack Carr played some out of the wildcat formation and sophomore backup quarterback James Curley saw some of his first varsity action.
“Our kids came through,” said Shelton coach Jeff Roy. “Our quarterback tried to play a little bit but he couldn’t. So, we went to the wildcat with Carr and he had a heck of a game. And at times we went to our sophomore quarterback Curley, who threw a couple nice balls and managed the game at the end.”
Carr was the workhorse for Shelton, carrying the ball 36 times for 248 yards — both career-highs by a wide margin — and two touchdowns.
He had plenty of help from his offensive line of Eddie Radzion, Jake Breton, Eric Zelanin, Ray Weiner and David Youngquist.
Up 17-0 on a Georgio Ghazal 11-yard touchdown run, a Nick Andrade 31-yard field goal and Carr’s 7-yard touchdown run, the Spartans put a scare into Shelton by scoring 10 straight points in about four minutes spanning the end of the first half and beginning of the second.
With their lead cut to one score and their starting quarterback out, the Gaels came up with a critical drive late in the third quarter moving from their own 30 to the Amity 23.
With a helping wind, Andrade converted a career-long 40-yard field goal with six seconds left in the quarter to make it a two-score game at 20-10.
Carr added a 3-yard scoring run to make it 27-10 Shelton with 2:54 left in the game.
But the Spartans answered quickly, moving 73 yards in just 43 seconds to cut Shelton’s lead back to 27-17.
Ghazal recovered Amity’s following onside kick, and Shelton was able to run out the clock for its seventh straight victory.
Shelton’s defense had another solid performance in the victory.
Tyler Janik recorded a team-high nine tackles and senior tri-captain Michael Casinelli recorded a sacked, forced a fumble and recovered it all on the same play to set up Carr’s first touchdown.
“We were down Paul Ferrigno also,” said Roy of his junior receiver/defensive back who didn’t dress due to an injury. “So, we were down a couple guys. The other guys went out there and did what they had to do, they grinded out a win.”
The Gaels will look to move one step closer to their fourth straight state playoff appearance on Friday when they host Notre Dame of West Haven (2-6 overall, 0-4 SCC Tier 1) in a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Gael notes: Shelton was tied for second in the CIAC Class LL point rankings entering Friday night’s game. The Gaels need to win at least one of their final two games, and possibly both, to qualify for the state playoffs for a fourth straight year. Shelton hasn’t lost to Amity since the 2005 season.