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Senior Jaden Watson rushed for 210 yards and three touchdowns to lead the North Haven football team to a 49-13 win at Amity on Thanksgiving Eve. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
Senior Corey Hooks and the Indians completed their year with a mark of 6-4 following a one-sided victory versus Amity in their final game of the 2019 season. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Buy This Photo)
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The turkey always tastes a little better after you win your Thanksgiving game. On Thanksgiving Eve, the North Haven football team savored the flavor of a 49-13 road victory over Amity when the Indians and Spartans squared off for their 24th annual meeting in Woodbridge on Nov. 27.
North Haven’s offense turned in a dominating performance by rushing for 485 yards in its win versus Amity. Senior Jaden Watson ran for 210 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries to highlight a huge night for the Indians. Fellow senior Corey Hooks also had a big game by gaining 150 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 13 rushes. Watson was named the Offensive MVP of the game, while senior captain Luke Maruca earned Defensive MVP honors by recording 10 tackles and a sack.
North Haven finished with a record of 6-4 after winning its last three games of the season. The Indians have now won 11-straight games in their Thanksgiving series with Amity (4-6).
“We were able to control the line of scrimmage, played very physical, and we got the ball in the hands of just about everybody. No matter where we attacked them, we seemed to block well, and that boded well for the person who had the ball,” Head Coach Anthony Sagnella said. “I have to credit the seniors for staying together, working through the difficulties, and capping off the season with three-straight wins. I was very happy for them to be able to go out on top in that fashion.”
Watson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to finish off North Haven’s opening drive of the night. Chase DiCarlo kicked the first of his six extra points and Indians had a 7-0 lead 3:45 into the game.
North Haven took its seven-point lead to the second quarter. Albert Hooks plunged in for a 1-yard TD rush to increase the Indians’ lead to 14-0 just 48 seconds into the frame.
Amity used a 10-yard touchdown run from Sam Sachs to make it 14-6 with 8:44 remaining in the first half. North Haven responded with a score when Corey Hooks broke off a 30-yard touchdown run to give the Indians a 21-6 lead with 2:27 to go.
After North Haven stopped Amity on fake punt attempt, Corey Hooks scored on a 6-yard run for another touchdown with 26 seconds left in the half. DiCarlo’s extra point put North Haven up 28-6 at intermission.
“Corey has a lot of experience and runs with power,” said Sagnella. “Even though he’s not a huge back, under 200 pounds, he does run with power very well. He had a couple of impressive runs, breaking tackles and moving the pile.”
On the first play of the second half, Sachs ran for a 67-yard touchdown to cut the Indians’ lead to 28-13 just 17 seconds in. North Haven came right back with a touchdown as Watson took home a 59-yard score to give the Indians a 35-13 advantage at the 10:50 mark of the third quarter.
“We allowed Amity to get on the board right after halftime, so that got our attention. Jaden made it clear that we were going to establish control again by scoring quickly, and that took a little pressure off of us,” Coach Sagnella said. “Jaden is a first-year player who got better and better as the season went on. He has that explosive gear.”
Later in the third quarter, senior captain Pat DaSilva rushed for a 1-yard touchdown with 2:38 to play in the frame. DiCarlo’s sixth extra point of the night made it 42-13.
Watson scored his third touchdown of the game on a 13-yard run with 7:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. Senior Raven Tebbetts came on to kick the extra point and put the final trimmings on the Indians’ 49-13 victory.
Sophomore Matt Dodge had an interception for North Haven in the game. Senior captain Joe Vitale forced a fumble and was the team’s second-leading tackler.
North Haven rebounded from a 1-3 start to win five of its last six games and finish at 6-4 this year. Coach Sagnella was proud of his team for preserving through the tough times to grind out a winning record.
“Mentally, that’s challenging for a team to stay together and stay focused. It’s very easy to jump ship and feel sorry for yourself, but they didn’t do that. They hung in there,” said Sagnella. “We had a difficult schedule, so we had to show up every week to finish it out, and we did. We won five of our last six, and that’s a testament to our senior class, their resilience, their focus, and their faith in one another.”
• The athletes in North Haven’s senior class are captains Joe Vitale (tight end/linebacker), Pat DaSilva (blocking black /defensive line), and Luke Maruca (offensive line/defensive line), along with fellow seniors Albert Hooks (running back/linebacker), Corey Hooks (running back/linebacker), Noah Perillie (tight end/linebacker), Jeff Williston (running back/linebacker), Jaden Watson (running back/defensive back), Justin White (quarterback/defensive back), Max Augustine (running back/linebacker), Kyle Rollier (running back/defensive back), Raven Tebbetts (kicker), Joe Urtel (tight end/defensive back), Josh Blumenthal (tight end/defensive line), Kyle Maruca (offensive line/defensive line), Carlo Frunzio (offensive line/defensive line), Jonathan Priebe (offensive line/defensive line), Dominic Borrelli (offensive line/defensive line), Joe Ranciato (offensive line/defensive line), and Frank Squeglia (offensive line/defensive line).
• During the regular season, North Haven notched victories against Bunnell (56-16), Staples (53-20), Pomperaug (41-0), Sheehan (28-14), Xavier (42-14), and Amity (49-13). The Indians took losses to Fairfield Prep (14-7), Maloney (18-14), West Haven (27-23), and Shelton (41-12).
• North Haven finished with a record of 1-3 in SCC Tier 1 play this season. The Indians defeated Xavier, while losing to Fairfield Prep, West Haven, and Shelton in their divisional games
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