Tigers’ de­fense stands united

Bullard- Havens re­mains un­beaten with a win over ATI

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Sports - By John Nash

BRIDGE­PORT — Ja­mai Dun­can se­ri­ously con­sid­ered not play­ing foot­ball this sea­son.

The Bullard- Havens ju­nior went to take a look at the sea­son’s open­ing prac­tice to give new coach Chris Pace a look- see. The next day, he re­joined the team.

On a cloud- cov­ered Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon at Kennedy Sta­dium, Dun­can came up with two huge de­fen­sive plays on fourth down to give his Tigers a 14- 8, come­from- be­hind win over Ab­bott Tech- Im­mac­u­late.

The vic­tory kept BullardHavens un­de­feated at 5- 0 on the sea­son. ATI slipped to 3- 2

While Dun­can thought about not play­ing this fall, Pace can’t take him off the field now.

“He was a guy that was on the fence about play­ing and we talked to him,” Pace said. “He’s very ath­letic and more than that he’s got a great at­ti­tude and he’s a great kid to coach. He’s fly­ing all around and mak­ing plays for us. He doesn’t come off the field for us.”

Dun­can re­cov­ered a fum­ble in the red zone to thwart one ATI drive in the sec­ond quar­ter and had a huge pass de­flec­tion on fourth down with 5: 25 left to play to help the Tigers se- cure the vic­tory.

“I did re­ally good to­day,” Dun­can said. “It was a hel­luva job by my de­fense. In the first half, we were al­right but in the sec­ond half we did a lot bet­ter. Our de­fense came out re­ally tight.”

In ad­di­tion to prow­ess on de­fense, Dun­can had a bit role in the Bullard- Havens’ of­fense, rack­ing up 65 to­tal yards— 53 in the air on three catches and a 12- yard run.

“I went to prac­tice on the first day and it was re­ally good,” Dun­can said. “The next day, I de­cided I’d play

foot­ball again. I wanted to be a part of the change on the team. I’m feel­ing good right now.”

Dun­can is just the lat­est player to step up and have a big game for the Tigers, Pace said.

“I told the guys af­ter the game, the beauty about us is we’ve got dif­fer­ent guys step­ping up ev­ery week,” Pace said. “This week it was Ja­mai, last week it was some­body dif­fer­ent. We’re a more dan­ger­ous team be­cause we’re not re­ly­ing on one guy and we pick each other up.”

AN­OTHER COME­BACK

Bullard- Havens, which has made a habit out of play­ing from be­hind this sea­son, did so again on Sat­ur­day.

Trail­ing 8- 0 and 8- 6 at the half, the Tigers roared back to take the lead on the open­ing drive of the sec­ond half.

An Ed­die Holmes 7- yard run got things off to a good start and seven plays later he burst in from the 2- yard line to give Bullard- Havens a 12- 8 lead. Holmes 2- point con­ver­sion pushed the lead to 14- 8.

“In the locker room, all ( Pace) kept say­ing was,

‘ This is it, this is it,” Holmes said. “We had to come out for the sec­ond half strong.”

While the of­fense got the lead, it was Bullard- Havens’ de­fense which pre­served it.

Af­ter giv­ing up 186 to­tal yards in the first half, the Tigers only sur­ren­dered 62 in the sec­ond half.

“We just mo­ti­vate our­selves,” Dun­can said. “We get a lit­tle down, but in the sec­ond half we turn it up.”

AN IM­MAC­U­LATE START

Things started well for the United as they jumped on top 2- 0 by forc­ing a fum­ble out of the Bullard- Havens end zone.

Fol­low­ing the Tigers’ free kick, Ab­bott Tech- Im­mac­u­late went 58 yards in four plays— aided by a hit- to- the­head per­sonal foul of 15 yards, as well.

With 5: 20 left in the first quar­ter, it was Matt Christe sweep­ing left for a 38- yard touch­down run and an 8- 0 United lead.

Af­ter Bullard- Havens an­swered with a 31- yard scor­ing pass from Cyrus Crotto to Barry Jean- Pierre to make it 8- 6, ATI twice took the ball into the red zone but came away with zero points.

“We just couldn’t fin­ish it up,” ATI coach Rich Holmes said. “They’re very well coached. We’d get a cou­ple of yards and they’d clean up af­ter that.”

STA­TIS­TI­CALLY SPEAK­ING

Bullard- Havens’ Holmes was a bull of a back in the game, car­ry­ing the ball 26 times for 191 yards.

Other no­table stats for Bullard- Havens, which piled up 316 to­tal yards, in­clude Crotto at QB. He was 8- for- 15 for 104 yards while also gain­ing 39 yards on the ground.

For Ab­bott Tech- Im­mac­u­late, An­thony Frasier ( 85 yards on 30 car­ries) and Christe ( 79 yards on 15 car- ries) com­bined for 154 yards on the ground.

QUOTABLE

“I’m so proud of the fight we showed,” Pace said. “We’ve been down quite a few games this sea­son, but we show a lot of heart. We dig a hole but these guys keep fight­ing out of it. That’s all you can ask.”

John Nash / Hearst Me­dia Con­necti­cut

Bullard- Havens de­fen­sive back Miguel Bush, left, breaks up a pass in­tended for ATI run­ning back An­thony Frasier dur­ing Sat­ur­day’s game at Kennedy Sta­dium in Bridge­port.

John Nash / Hearst Me­dia Con­necti­cut

Bullard- Havens quar­ter­back Cyrus Cotto ( 4) keeps his bal­ance as he cuts in­side Ab­bott Tech- Im­mac­u­late de­fender Matt Christe dur­ing Sat­ur­day’s l game at Kennedy Sta­dium in Bridge­port.

John Nash / Hearst Me­dia Con­necti­cut

Bullard- Havens de­fen­sive back Ja­mai Dun­can ( 21) falls on a fum­ble as team­mates Cris­tian Pagano ( 3) and Jordry Cruz ( 51) dive on top of Ab­bott Tech- Im­mac­u­late quar­ter­back CJ Cian­flone dur­ing Sat­ur­day’s game at Kennedy Sta­dium in Bridge­port.

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