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11/01/2021 12:00 AM

Warriors Take 34-21 Loss to Stafford Co-op

Senior captain James Marsden tossed a 12-yard TD to junior captain DiAngelo Jean-Pierre when the Warriors took a 34-21 defeat to Stafford-East Windsor-Somers last week. Also pictured is No. 76, junior Adam Metz. File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier

The Valley Regional-Old Lyme (VR-OL) football team hosted the Stafford-East Windsor-Somers (S-EW-S) co-op squad for a Pequot Conference contest last week. The Warriors took a lead in the second quarter, but ultimately dropped a 34-21 decision against the Bulldogs at Richard B. Blythe Field on Oct. 29.

VR-OL moved to 2-4 on the season with the defeat. Despite that setback, first-year Head Coach Hill Gbunblee is hoping that with the return a few key players, the Warriors can run the table and win their last four games of the campaign.

S-EW-S used a 6-yard touchdown run to take an early 6-0 lead over VR-OL. Later in the first quarter, junior captain DiAngelo Jean-Pierre recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Warriors’ first score of the night. Senior Michael Marino kicked the extra point, and the Warriors had a 7-6 lead after one.

Junior Jacob Rand opened the scoring in the second quarter by plunging in the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run for VR-OL. The extra point was no good, but the Warriors still had a 13-6 advantage. The Bulldogs used a 10-yard touchdown pass and a 38-yard TD pass later in the frame to take a 20-13 lead into the halftime.

The Warriors struck first in the third quarter as senior captain James Marsden threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jean-Pierre to bring their team within one. Rand followed by rushing in the 2-point conversion to put VR-OL up 21-20.

However, S-EW-S scored the last two touchdowns of the game to come away with the win. First, the Bulldogs scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to take a 27-21 lead through three. The Bulldogs went on to score an insurance touchdown on a 15-yard run during the fourth quarter, finishing off the 34-21 victory.

Rand had returned to lineup for the Warriors’ previous contest, which was a 35-0 road win over the CREC Co-op on Oct. 23. He had been sidelined since the team’s season-opening win against North Branford. Rand’s return was coupled with that of junior Samuel Bourez, a starting right tackle.

Coach Gbunblee said that having Rand back in action gives the Warriors a major boost and benefits what the team is trying to do on offense.

“He is a fantastic running back for us. He has been the starting running back since day one. Our offense and our offensive line works best with him. He’s a one-cut, north-south runner,” Gbunblee said of Rand. “He has allowed our guys to really engage and drive, knowing that Jake will be right there with a cut. Whatever the play may be, you can trust that Jake will be running hard.”

The Warriors’ next game is at home against Granby-Canton at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 5. After that, team has road games versus Old Saybrook-Westbrook and Rockville and will then finish the year by hosting Haddam-Killingworth two days before Thanksgiving.

Coach Gbunblee is looking for his squad to quickly get back in the win column and pursue a winning record for the season.

“We want to finish the year strong,” said Gbunblee.

The Valley Regional-Old Lyme football team’s roster features senior captains James Beckman and James Marsden; seniors Samuel Mullaney, Michael Marino, Tommy Rapp, Connor Lunz, Sean Cordock, Joseph Kuhn, John Baczewski, Daniel Stack, Race Greenawalt, Ian Mackenzie, and Samuel Ibbitson; junior captain DiAngelo Jean-Pierre; juniors Jacob Rand, Andrew Yermenson, Michael Galberth, Dylan Sheehan, Nicholas Cox, Ford Macadam, Samuel Bourez, Kevin King, and Adam Metz; sophomores Grady Lacourciere, Jack Driscoll and Ryder Goss; and freshmen Max Novak, Matthew Cooper, and Adam Schmeltzer.