The Gaels’ Jack Carr’s 82-yard touchdown run on the second to last play of the first half, signified how prepared coach Jeff Roy’s squad were to defeat the Xavier Falcons, 38-7, at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven on Thursday night.
“Anytime Jack can touch the football he can break it,” Roy said after Shelton, the 5th-ranked team in the latest GameTimeCT/Register football poll, improved to 2-0 with a thorough 38-7 victory over its SCC rival from Middletown.
“We worked on our short yardage offense in practice. You don’t expect to take it in from there (the Shelton 18 with 33 seconds remaining before halftime), but if there is a seam there Jack will hit it.”
The unbalanced line saw Jake Breton, Ray Weiner, Kyle Corby, David Youngquist, Isaiah DeLoatch and James Anderson each getting a helmet between a defender and Carr took the snap and powered to his right behind fullback Michai Lynch Barnes.
“Coach said we weren’t looking to run clock, we were going to run/score, so I went,” Carr said. “As a team we wanted to come out fast and then keep going.”
Shelton was ready from the start, after having to use all 48 minutes to get back Cheshire High, 17-10, in its season opener.
The fact that the defense didn’t allow Xavier a first down until midway through the second quarter closed the deal.
“I challenged the kids,” Roy said. “We got healthy, had a great week of practice, and got our timing down. Defensively, two weeks in a row, our front seven played well. We got after it. We try to utilize our speed and aggressiveness. Our defense was tremendous in the first half.”
Jordino Mutale, Philip Sissick, Breton and Zachary McEwen pushed up field from the d-line, with Michael Lockavitch,and Carr at the ends.
Tyler Janik, Weiner and Tyler Pjatak covered the gaps, with Brian Berritto, David Yakowicz, Jake Falanga and Jake Oddo in the secondary.
Shelton took a 7-0 lead into the second quarter on Jack Robert’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Carr and the first of five conversion kicks by Nick Andrade.
The Gaels needed only three plays to go 69 yards to open the second stanza with another touchdown.
Roberts found Yakowicz on a slant pattern for 28 yards, followed his blockers then cut up field for a 17-yard gain, then dropped a rainbow pass to Yakowicz in full stride for the 24-yard score.
After another empty possession by Xavier (0-2), Shelton got the ball back on its 28 with 9:48 left in the half.
Roberts rambled 36 yards on first down and Georgio Ghazal then moved his feet and a pair of Falcon defenders for eight more yards. Roberts ran for eight then found Falanga between three Falcons over the middle for 25 yards to move the markers to the two.
Lynch Barnes went off the right side for the touchdown and it was 21-0 with 7:53 left in the second period.
Just over a minute and a half later, Yakowicz provided the block on the edge and Carr went around the left end for a 60-yard scamper to paydirt.
“It’s nice to have him healthy,” said Roy of his speedster. “Any time he touches the ball, obviously, he can go the distance. Those breakaway runs are back-breakers for the other team.”
A juggling interception by Osiah Wiggins resulted in a 50-yard return to give Xavier its best field position at the Gaels’ 39 with 3:07 left before intermission.
A penalty brought the ball to the 24, but Janik had a tackle for a three-yard loss.
Weiner stopped Nick Hasselman after a one-yard gain, and on fourth down Janik nailed a scrambling Matt Ryan to get the ball back on downs.
Instead of running the clock and going into the half up by four touchdowns, Roy went to Carr and it was soon 35-0.
Roberts completed 8-of-16 passes for 174 yards in his one half of work.
He ran for 66 yards, before Michael Callinan and James Curley alternated at quarterback the final two quarters.
Pjatak recovered a fumble at the Falcons’ 22 on Xavier’s second play from scrimmage in the third quarter. Three plays later, Andrade booted a 31-yard field goal.
Xavier’s went 72 yards in 10 plays to get on the scoreboard, with Ryan Milner bucking in from two yards out and Sam Norris hitting the PAT.
The Gaels’ Will Zaccagnini end the game with an interception.