Football: Shelton defense locks down Cheshire

The Shelton High football team used a strong second-half defensive effort to surge past Cheshire High, 34-20, on Friday night in an SCC Tier 1 matchup.

It was the 29th consecutive regular-season victory for coach Jeff Roy's Gaels, as they improved to 7-0 overall. Cheshire dropped to 5-2.

The Rams rallied back from a 21-0 deficit in the first quarter, narrowing their gap to 28-20 with 3:29 left in the first half. That was as close as Cheshire got though, as Joe Zoppi kicked a pair of second-half field goals to provide the Gaels insurance. Shelton had four takeaways, three on defense and one on special teams, while also blocking an Ethan Bronson punt.

Paul Ferrigno intercepted a pair of Ram quarterback Jack Raba's passes, while Armando Martinez picked off another and blocked the punt. Shelton also turned the ball over three times, with Nick Nelson and Michael Jeffery notching INTs. Nelson added a fumble recovery.

Jack Carr's 1-yard dive gave Shelton a 7-0 lead with 8:57 left in the first quarter, following's Zoppi's PAT, before Wells doubled the margin with a 1-yard sneak. The Rams fumbled the kickoff after Carr's TD run, setting the stage for Wells' plunge at 7:55.

The next Gael tally came at 2:37 of the first quarter, but in unconventional fashion. Wells connected with Zoppi on a 52-yard strike, but the ball was stripped away by the Rams at their 1. David D'Amore pounced on the loose ball in the end zone, extending the lead to 21-0.

Raba's 1-yard run with 1.3 seconds left in the frame got Cheshire on the scoreboard, before he hit Jeffery for an 81-yard scoring strike at the 9:57 mark of the second quarter. Wells connected with Anthony Schiavo for a 9-yard score at 5:16 to make it 28-13, before Raba's 36-yard TD to Thomas Wnuck helped Cheshire get within 28-20 with 3:29 left in the half.

The Gaels travel to Rafferty Stadium in Fairfield to face Prep (4-3) next Friday at 6 p.m.