Football: Defense pitches in big, Gaels top Masuk

Shelton High’s football team came up with some timely defensive plays and racked up five touchdowns en route to a 38-10 triumph over host Masuk of Monroe on Friday night.

The Gaels, from the Southern Connecticut Conference, improved to 5-0. Masuk, out of the South-West Conference, dropped to 2-3.

The Gaels, after a slow start on offense, put things together to build a 21-3 halftime cushion over the Panthers.

Masuk threatened to score first, but the Shelton defense stood tall.

The Panthers appeared poised to get back into the game with a monster 60-plus yard pass play on the first play from scrimmage to begin the second half. But a penalty negated the play and Paul Ferrigno intercepted a pass and set the Gaels up with great field position at the Panther 24-yard line.

David Yakowicz made a leaping touchdown reception over the middle on 3rd-and-7 from 21 yards out. Shelton went up 28-3 just 1:41 into the half.

That was one of two Shelton interceptions that led to points in the second half.

Ray Weiner’s pick led to a 34-yard field goal by lefty booter Nick Andrade for a 31-3 lead late in the third.

Michai Lynch Barnes and Michael Lockavitch combined on a sack of Masuk quarterback Thomas Juliano for a big loss late in the third, and Lockavitch and James Anderson combined to bring the Masuk QB down in the backfield in the fourth.

“When our offense isn’t looking too good for a drive, I feel fine walking off to the sideline with my defense on the field,” Shelton quarterback Jake Roberts said.

Shelton coach Jeff Roy agreed that the defense a played significant role in the team success.

“I think the defense kept us in there the whole time, and we got the offense clicking,” Roy said.

Masuk was poised to score first, and Roy credited Panther coach Joe Lato for getting a bit creative with his offense.

“Coach Lato put a few wrinkles in there,” Roy said. “Our defense stepped up and made some big plays to stop them.”

Shelton’s first TD came on a 22-yard pass from Roberts to Ferrigno.

Roberts did it himself with a 15-yard scamper for a score, as the Gaels went ahead 14-0.

It remained a two-touchdown game until late in the second quarter. A long carry by Jack Carr set up an eight-yard Roberts-to-Jake Oddo scoring play with just over two minutes left before the half.

Masuk marched down the field and put points on the board as time expired, but Shelton’s bend-but-don’t-break defense limited the Panthers to Nolan McCarter’s 39-yard field goal.

Masuk didn’t score again until the Gaels stretched their lead to four TDs. A penalty-filled drive led to Chris Tillotson’s four-yard TD catch with 8:18 left in the fourth quarter.

Shelton’s Georgio Ghazal capped the scoring with a six-yard run into the end zone late in the fourth.

Andrade had four conversion kicks to go with his field goal.

Shelton has scored a combined 87 points in its last two games and has limited every opponent to just one TD thus far.

The Gaels will try to keep it going with a visit to unbeaten North Haven on Friday, Oct. 19, beginning at 7 o’clock.

“We’ve got a lot of momentum right now. We’ve just got to keep fighting,” Roberts said.