Football: Prep hands Shelton first regular-season loss since 2013

Behind a breakout performance for sophomore tailback Doug Harrison, Fairfield Prep knocked off previously-unbeaten Shelton High, 38-15, on Friday night at Rafferty Stadium in an SCC Tier 1 contest.

Harrison piled up 334 yards and five touchdowns to help the Jesuits (5-3) hand Shelton its first regular-season setback since 2013 — snapping the Gaels’ 29-game non-playoff win streak. That year was also the last time Prep defeated Shelton

Prep surged to an 18-7 halftime edge behind Harrison, who carried 19 times for 173 yards and scored a pair touchdowns in the first half alone.

“He’s an excellent back,” Shelton High head coach Jeff Roy said. “We knew he could run the ball and they’re big up front… He did a great job of running the ball and exploiting some of our weaknesses. Give them credit, they played a heck of a football game out there.”

After the Gaels went three-and-out on the game’s first possession, Harrison spearheaded an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive. His 9-yard plunge at the 5:39 mark staked the Jesuits to a 6-0 advantage.

Shelton responded with a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown march, keyed by completions from Wells to Paul Ferrigno of 12 and 16 yards. Ronnie Rich capped the scoring drive with a 2-yard TD off of a direct snap on the first play of the second quarter, before Joe Zoppi’s conversion kick made it 7-6.

After the teams traded punts, the Jesuits capitalized on quality field position to take a 12-7 lead.

Harrison, picking up a block from OL Nathan Miller who was lined up at fullback, punched in a 4-yard score finish off the nine-play, 58-yard drive.

With under a minute left in the first half, Wells was intercepted deep in Prep territory by Connor Byrne.

Two long runs by Harrison, quarterback Patrick Conte fired a 31-yard scoring strike to Byrne with two seconds left.

“All year long, we’ve kind of been making those plays,” Roy said. “Tonight they were able to make those plays.”

Shelton’s defense, playing without injured starting linebackers Jon Sobotka and Jack Carr and defensive back Santino Durante, stopped Prep on downs just inside midfield on the opening drive of the second half.

Rich then ran for a 13-yard touchdown, while a fake PAT conversion to Justin Greene narrowed the Gael gap to 18-15 with 5:37 left in the third.

Two plays later, Harrison ripped off a 72-yard run down the right sideline before Wells hauled him down at the Shelton 6-yard line. On the next play, the sophomore back went off left tackled for the 6-yard score to establish a two-score margin that Prep never relinquished.

Harrison added two more rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter, from 15 and 5 yards, to provide the final scoreline.

Prep hosts North Haven (3-5) next Friday at Rafferty Stadium at 6, while Shelton hosts unbeaten West Haven High (8-0).

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