De­fense, spe­cial teams spark Notre Dame-WH

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) - - GAMETIMECT - By Jim Fuller

MID­DLE­TOWN — The Notre Dame of West Haven foot­ball pro­gram has won more than a few games in its sto­ried his­tory with dom­i­nat­ing ef­forts on de­fense and spe­cial teams.

The Green Knights went back to that fa­mil­iar script to post a 21-6 South­ern Con­necti­cut Con­fer­ence Tier I vic­tory over host Xavier on Fri­day night.

“Spe­cial team turnovers are very im­por­tant,” said Notre Dame se­nior re­ceiver Zackary Hochmann. “We al­ways stress to have three plus turnovers be­fore the game, and I think it is cru­cial to get them. It is great to get them on spe­cial teams so it takes some pres­sure off.”

Hochmann had a pair of touch­down re­cep­tions and an im­pres­sive night of punt­ing that was high­lighted by a 51-yard boot that was downed in­side the 5. He also had a 26-yard punt re­turn in a game where the Green Knights cap­i­tal­ized on two spe­cial teams turnovers by Xavier.

“I thought we punted the ball pretty well and we lim­ited our turnovers, thank good­ness,” Notre Dame coach Joe DeCaprio said. “It is some­thing we re­ally worked on in the bye week and lets face it, our de­fense won the game.”

Jamar De­je­sus keyed the de­fen­sive ef­fort with 10 tack­les and was a part of two stops be­hind the line of scrim­mage.

Notre Dame (3-2) ap­peared to be stopped on its open­ing drive, but af­ter a time­out by Xavier, the Fal­cons were called for a too many men on the field penalty with the Green Knights back to punt to ex­tend the drive. Xavier’s de­fense did come up with the stop when a third-down pass was bat­ted down at the line of scrim­mage.

Xavier’s de­fense was back on the field af­ter its of­fense failed to get a first down. One play af­ter the Green Knights con­verted on 4th and inches, Jack­son Zalin­sky con­nected with Zackary Hochmann on the 22-yard scor­ing pass with 2:55 left in the first quar­ter.

Xavier failed to cover the en­su­ing kick­off to give the ball right back to Notre Dame. How­ever, a fourth­down pass from Zalin­sky to Robert Oliv­e­rio was just short of the first down.

Notre Dame had a bet­ter re­sult on its next fourth­down play as Oliv­e­rio broke free down the mid­dle of the field and was hit in stride by Zalin­sky for a 29-yard scor­ing pass. Ai­dan

Walsh’s sec­ond ex­tra point of the game make it 14-0 with 7:07 re­main­ing in the first half. The touch­down was set up when Notre Dame’s Thomas Can­de­lora fell on a fum­ble on an at­tempted punt re­turn.

Xavier did move the ball near mid­field on the next pos­ses­sion but back to back de­fen­sive plays by Bran­don Atkins forced a punt by the Fal­cons.

Zalin­sky and Hochmann con­nected again for a 23yard touch­down re­cep­tion with Hochmann caught a pass near the Notre Dame side­line, made a cou­ple of cuts and raced the fi­nal 15 yards for his sec­ond scor­ing re­cep­tion of the game to make it 21-0 with 3:06 left in the third quar­ter.

Xavier (1-4) ended the shutout bid on a 38-yard scor­ing pass from Ryan Miner to Ka­reem Gr­isham on the fi­nal play of the game.

“Give them the credit be­cause they took ad­van­tage of us mak­ing mis­take af­ter mis­take af­ter mis­take,” Xavier coach Andy Guyon said. “It is very dis­heart­en­ing. They are get­ting bet­ter but you can’t make mis­takes like that against any­body and they have a good of­fense, good play­ers and you can’t give them a short field.”

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