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Senior captain Ryan Cordova ran for two touchdowns and also caught a touchdown pass to lift the East Haven football team to a 51-0 home victory versus Bassick in the Yellowjackets’ first game with new Head Coach Scott Benoit. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Michael Manning ran for a pair of scores as the Yellowjackets dispatched Bassick by the final score of 51-0 in an SCC Tier 3 matchup at East Haven High School on Sept. 7. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Junior quarterback Tanner DiVito rushed for a touchdown and threw a TD pass to Ryan Cordova when East Haven blanked Bassick 51-0 in the team’s first game of the 2018 season. (Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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It was a perfect start to the 2018 season for the East Haven football team as the Yellowjackets crushed Bassick by a 51-0 final in an SCC Tier 3 matchup at East Haven High School on Sept. 7. The Easties’ opening-night victory marked their first with new Head Coach Scott Benoit at the helm. While Benoit has seen plenty of success in the SCC, he certainly isn’t going to take this win for granted.
“Wins are not easy,” said Benoit. “You need to enjoy the wins.”
East Haven wasted no time getting the jump on Bassick. The Yellowjackets held a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and led by a 44-0 score at halftime. Senior captain Ryan Cordova scored three touchdowns for East Haven, while fellow senior Michael Manning recorded a pair of TDs in the lopsided victory. Junior quarterback Tanner DiVito threw a touchdown pass and also ran for a score.
“I think we came out and did what we wanted to do early in the game. We wanted to score early on them and take them out of this game as early as we could,” Coach Benoit said. “[Bassick is a] well-coached team and have some kids that can play, so for us to see a team like that was really good.”
The recent heat wave prevented the Yellowjackets from hitting the practice field as much as they wanted to these past few weeks. Coach Benoit said that his team’s convincing win over Bassick was the perfect recipe to give East Haven some confidence to start the season.
“With the preseason the way it went—with the heat where we missed practice, the lack of preseason before we started school—we needed a game like this tonight,” he said. “We needed a game like this tonight, but it will certainly get rougher down the road.”
After East Haven’s defense forced Bassick to turn the ball over on downs to begin the game, the Yellowjackets drove 73 yards on six plays for their first TD of the season. Senior captain fullback Cordova got the Easties on the board early by converting a 10-yard touchdown run.
On Bassick’s next possession, junior lineman Calvin Nelson sacked Lions’ quarterback Julio De Los Santos in the end zone for a safety to make it 9-0. The Yellowjackets returned the ensuing kickoff into Bassick territory and, three plays later, DiVito scampered into the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown that extended the lead to 16-0.
Senior lineman Steve Mingione recovered a fumble at midfield on Bassick’s next possession. A few plays later, senior tailback Manning ran one into the end zone from 20 yards out to give the Yellowjackets’ a 23-0 advantage. Shortly after that, senior captain linebacker later Josh Rao scooped up a fumble and took it back 30 yards to the house to push the lead to 30-0.
Cordova followed by scoring two TDs that extended the lead to 44-0 going into halftime. Cordova reeled in a 28-yard touchdown reception from DiVito and later scored on a 3-yard run.
“I thought offensively we ran the ball really well. I thought defensively we made some plays, were great against the run, had some turnovers, and even scored a defensive touchdown,” Coach Benoit said. “I think it was a good job overall.”
The only score in the second half was a 4-yard run by Manning that gave East Haven a 51-0 cushion. The Yellowjackets’ offense finished with 365 total yards, 337 of which came on the ground. Cordova led the way with 11 carries for 101 yards, while Manning ran five times for 92 yards. DiVito finished the game 1-of-2 passing for 28 yards with a TD, and his lone carry went 20 yards for a touchdown.
“With what we do, the quarterback is in command. Everything we run is pretty much read plays, so he’s reading the defense, and he did a good job of getting the ball in the right people’s hands,” Benoit said. “Our fullbacks ran well, our tailbacks ran well, and Tanner did a good job of commanding the whole thing. We would’ve liked to throw it a bit more, but when you’re up that big, you’re just not going to do it.”
On defense, East Haven got after De Los Santos and didn’t give him much time to throw. The Yellowjackest also prevented Bassick from doing any damage on the ground. Coach Benoit thinks that East Haven will benefit from having faced a spread offense in its first game of the season.
“The thing now in football that you see every week, everyone is in shotgun. Everyone plays with four wide receivers. That’s really what you see in today’s game. The competition is going to get better as time goes on, but I think they did a decent job,” said Benoit. “They were prepared, and we really have some good skill kids. We have some kids that can run, and we’re really pleased with that.”
Benoit knows that the schedule will get tougher for the Yellowjackets as the season wears on. Next up, East Haven hits the road for a non-conference matchup against Notre Dame-Fairfield at noon on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“These kids have been great and done everything we’ve asked of them. They practice hard, show up on time, and have really done a great job,” Benoit said. “Hopefully, we’ll just keep getting better.”
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