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Guilford (0-0) at North Haven (0-0): First Game Jitters
Vanacore Field, North Haven, CT
Friday September 14, 2012
            It was a perfect fall football night in North Haven for the Guilford Indians’ season opener against the Indians of North Haven. After a decent season last year, the Guilford Indians were looking forward to come out and make a statement on opening nigh. Unfortunately, it did not work out as planned for Guilford. The Indians had a tough night offensively and defensively and were not able to give their crowd much to cheer about.
            The Indians of Guilford stated out will jitters right as the clock started in the first quarter. They had to re-kick the kickoff after a formation penalty that cost them five yards. Once the Indians of North Haven got set on their own 35 yard line, running back Jalon White was able to comfortably start his dominating running game against the Guilford defense. He was able to run for 30 yards to Guilford’s 35 yard line on his first carry and on the next play, it seemed like he had a lane to the end zone, but was wrapped up by Fred Trotta. On 3rd down, Colon Schilling was able to break through the offensive line and sac Javon White who also had the responsibility of quarterback. Guilford was able to stop North Haven on 4th down with Anthony Pensa’s tackle on Alex Baglioni to take over the ball on downs.
            On Guilford’s first possession of the season, running backs Eric Zergiebel, David Knapp, and K.C. Horton all tried to run the ball up field, but were unsuccessful and Guilford was forced to punt facing 4th down and seven yards to go. On the punt, the ball bounced off a North Haven player so it was a live ball. Guilford was able to pounce on the football and got another chance on offense. Guilford had the jitters getting to them again and fumbled two snaps but was able to get them both. On 3rd down, Zergiebel was able to get Guilford’s running game going and gained 10 yards and the first down. Nault quickly got another first down but fumbled two more snaps that were recovered by Guilford again. North Haven then took over on downs when Nault’s attempted pass to Horton was incomplete out of bounds to end the first quarter.
            North Haven made and electrifying start to the second quarter when Quincy Pecora was able to run for a 32 yard touchdown. The extra point attempt was blocked by Guilford so the score was only 6-0 with 10:36 left to play in the second quarter. Guilford’s first possession of the quarter looked promising with Zergiebel running for a quick first down but the momentum stopped when Guilford lost a combined ten yards on a motion then delay of game penalties. Faced with a 3rd and seventeen, Nault dropped back to pass but the pocket collapsed and he was tackled for no gain.
            On North Haven’s ensuing possession, they lost 5 yards on a motion penalty and then White was sacked by Ford Linell. Their negative yards did not last for long when Pecora was able to run for 32 yards to the Guilford 32 yard line. Ethan Suraci was able to get another North Haven first down but White was intercepted on his next play by Anthony Pensa of Guilford. Zergiebel was able to gain another Guilford 1st down and on 2nd down Fred Trotta, who usually plays a lineman position, was able to make a nice six yard run on his running back debut. Guilford failed to get another first down and punted again. The punt appeared to hit the one yard line and then bounce to the two, but the referees ruled it a touchback. The field possession did not hurt Guilford too much because the half ended before North Haven could get anything started offensively.
            With Guilford trailing only trailing 6-0 after the first half, it looked possible that they could still pull out a win. This possibility was abandoned early when Nault threw two incomplete passes and then Horton was tackled by a mass of defenders for a gain of only two yards. On the punt, the snap went high over Nault’s head and the North Haven Indians got to start their first possession of the third quarter on Guilford’s 19 yard line. It was now up to Guilford’s defense to set the tone with a big stop against North Haven. The defense was able to hold Suraci, White, and Pecora to make it 4th down and two. They then failed to stop White again when he ran for an 11 yard touchdown. With a successful two point conversion throw to Pecora the game was now 14-0 with 8:22 left in the third.
            On the ensuing possession, the Indians from Guilford looked much improved. Because of great blocking upfront, Nault was able to get 21 yards and two 1st downs on two plays to start out the drive. An illegal motion penalty backed them up shortly and after a few short runs, they were faced with a 4th and three situation. Nault made a perfect pitch to Horton and with other running backs making blocks up field; Horton was able to gain 13 yards and the 1st down. With a fresh set of downs, Guilford got forced into another 3rd down situation and this time Nault kept the ball and was just short of the 1st by a half of a yard. It did not take North Haven long to score again. On their first play, White was able to burst through the Guiflord line and score an 80 yard touchdown at 2:53. With a good extra point, North Haven was up 21-0 to close out the third.
            On Guilford’s next two possessions, Nault threw two interceptions, the first intercepted by Jordan Delucia and the second by Carlos Martinez. On the first interception, North Haven was forced to punt. After the second, Knapp and Michael Serra were able to make a strong tackle each to force North Haven to lose yards. White quickly adjusted to the defense and ran for a 1st down to set up a 1st and goal on the 10 yard line. White was then able to run a quick 10 yards up the middle to score another touchdown. After the extra point was added, it was a 28-0 game with only 7:23 left in the game.
            To at least try to put a score on the board, Guilford made a great drive down the field to close out the game. Nault completed a 15 yard pass to Pensa and then Nault made added another 15 yards on the ground. Guilford ran the ball closer and closer to the end zone until after a 16 yard run, Horton fumbled the ball on the two yard line. North Haven took a knee to end the game.
            It was a disappointing first game for the Indians of Guilford. Their hopes were high to start out the season 1-0 and it was even more disappointing to not get a point on the board. In the 4th quarter, they were able to shake off some of the jitters and get a well put together drive down the field that included a good passing play by Nault. Although it did not end as desired, it showed the Indians’ offensive potential. Now with the first game over with and the jitters out of their systems, you should expect the Indians to try to put together a great performance next week even though they are against powerhouse West Haven. The game is at the Kavanaugh Turf Field at Guilford High School. Hopefully there will be a great fan turn out for the Indians home opener and a great fight against the powerful West Haven Blue Devils by the home team.