New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


- — Sean Patrick Bowley

If Week 1 serves as a player’s introducti­on to the state, then Week 2 becomes “The Encore.” What do you do for a followup?

There were a bunch of players who followed up great Week 1 performanc­es with equally great encores in Week 2. Here were six that really stood out from the crowd. Four of these guys weren’t even listed on our 25 players to watch, either.

Christian Garcia, Hartford Public — The Debut: In his first game since transferri­ng from Bloomfield, he accounted for four touchdowns — two on fumble recoveries and one on an intercepti­on return — in Hartford Public’s 43-7 victory over Northwest Catholic. The Encore: He had an intercepti­on and returned a punt 53 yards for a touchdown with 5:56 remaining, setting up Tasane Roach’s winning 2-point conversion run in the Owls’ 14-13 victory over Lewis Mills. The Owls are 2-0 for the first time in nine years.

Nick Saccu, Masuk — The Debut: Masuk’s “quarterbac­k” (he’s more of a Swiss Army knife) ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns in Masuk’s 37-15 win at Bunnell (now 1-1) in Week 1. The Encore: Masuk defeated Stratford 58-14 with Saccu rushing for 239 yards and five touchdowns, and throwing for another two.

Leo Perreira, Hall — The Debut: The senior broke a singlegame school record with six touchdowns and also ran for 171 yards on 27 carries in a 46-42 Monday night victory over East Hartford. The Encore: He followed with a 34 carry, 208-yard, four touchdown performanc­e in a 43-27 victory over Simsbury, including the eventual winner late in the third quarter.

Soren Reif, Killingly — The Debut: With the focus all on headlining senior Jack Sharpe, Reif ran for a team-best 170 yards, had two TDs and two intercepti­ons in a 42-14 victory over Waterford. The Encore: Wasn’t the leading rusher (Sharpe had 123), but followed with 102 yards and two scores to help Killingly beat East Lyme, 42-14.

Cam Edwards, Norwalk — The Debut: Ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns in Norwalk’s 28-20 win over Ludlowe. The Encore: Ran for 5-touchdowns (four rushing, one from 82 yards out; and one receiving) in a 46-13 victory over Warde.

Austyn Howe, Newington — The Debut: Returned a kickoff for a TD, caught two more TDs, had an an intercepti­on and three 2-point conversion­s as Newington outlasted Enfield, 34-24. The Encore: Followed it up by catching three TDs, running for another and converting five 2-pointers — tied for second-best all-time for a game — in a 52-42 victory over Manchester.

James Caswell, New Fairfield — The Debut: Ripped through Weston for 306 yards and five touchdowns in the Rebels’ 42-14 victory Week 1. The Encore: Brookfield had him marked, but he still managed to run for 128 yards and one touchdown, a 75-yarder. The rest of the team took advantage in a 36-10 victory.


Who had and played Stafford/Somers/East Windsor or Fairfield Prep defense/special teams in their Connecticu­t HS football fantasy leagues? Both teams turned in two of the craziest statlines of Week 2. But only one team managed to win.

Fairfield Prep, No. 7-ranked thanks to its victory over Hand the week before, rallied to a 20-13 victory over Hillhouse thanks to three blocked punts. Two of them produced backto-back touchdowns in the third quarter to give Fairfield Prep its first lead before the offense finally came through with the winning 47-yard TD catch by Tim Pearson in the fourth quarter.

Stafford/Somers/East Windsor had an equally ridiculous statline at home vs. Granby/Canton, but wasn’t as fortunate in a 20-19 loss at home. The Bulldogs returned three Granby/ Canton turnovers for touchdowns — two by Logan Briggs, who had an intercepti­on return TD and a fumble-recovery TD.

In fact, this game featured three-consecutiv­e intercepti­on return touchdowns: Luke Maher’s 12-yard pick-6 for Granby/ Canton; Briggs’ 20-yard pick-6 for SSEW and, finally, Timmy Dickinson’s 50-yard intercepti­on TD to end the first half with Granby up 14-13.

Finally, Camryan Winder could have been his own personal DST. The Senior had a pair of blocked punts, an 81-yard intercepti­on return and even broke up West Haven’s last-ditch 4th-down pass in overtime to win it, 13-6. It was Hamden’s first victory over West Haven since 2009, and the first under coach and athletic director Tom Dyer.


Woodstock Academy has been an ECC punchline throughout its 15 years as a football program. Despite being among the largest three or four schools in the conference, the Class L Centaurs came into the 2021 season having won just five of 71 games all-time against ECC schools.

But maybe this year is different. The Centaurs took out Windham 40-27 in the season opener and followed that up with an excruciati­ng, 21-20 loss to Norwich Free Academy on Saturday, 21-20.

The night before, Guilford was down 13-6 to New London, but had fourth-and-goal at the 3 with seconds remaining. Quarterbac­k Nico Messina, who’d come in for injured Tyler Higert just moments before, hit Brady Hallihan at the goal line, but he was just short of the touchdown.

On Saturday night, Ludlowe rallied from a 14-0 deficit to tie its game vs. Wilton with just minutes remaining. But the Warriors won it, 21-14, on a 2-yard touchdown plunge by quarterbac­k Grant Masterson with 10 seconds remaining.


Torrington knocked off Naugatuck for the second-straight season to improve to 2-0 for the first time since starting the 2015 season with six straight wins. This is the first time Torrington has defeated Naugy in back-to-back years since winning three straight over the Greyhounds from 1982-84, according to WATR’s Christophe­r Saunders.

Law defeated Bassick to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2008. The Lawmen topped Guilford 34-7 in Week 1.


Middletown starting 0-2 with losses to Berlin and Platt is a little surprising. How the Blue Dragons have lost is very surprising. Coach Sal Morello had high hopes going into this season, but Middletown has been outscored 76-7, falling to Platt 43-7. Middletown, a team we’re used to seeing in the CIAC playoff discussion annually, has not started 0-2 since an 0-8 start in 2009.


Week 3 marks the first major week of the Connecticu­t High School Football Alliance with 30 crossover games between the SCC, SWC, ECC, FCIAC and the CCC scheduled.

Among the more intriguing matchup are: No. 6 New Canaan (2-0) at No 9 Hand (1-1); Windsor (2-0) at No. 2 St. Joseph; No. 3 Greenwich (2-0) at Shelton (2-0); No. 8 Xavier (2-0) at Ridgefield (0-1); Staples (1-1) at Cheshire (2-0); and, of course No. 4 Newtown at No. 1 Darien, a rematch of the 2019 Class LL championsh­ip game, won by Newtown on a walk-off touchdown pass. All are Friday night games.


1,058 — Days since Stonington’s last victory before Friday’s 60-0 victory over Griswold/Wheeler, which snapped a 14game losing streak dating back to Oct. 26, 2018 — a 42-28 win over Waterford.

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