Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Guilford Football Routs Brookfield, 43-6


Senior Nico Messina threw three TDs to lift the Guilford football team to a commanding 43-6 victory versus Brookfield on Oct. 28. File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier

Senior Nico Messina threw three TDs to lift the Guilford football team to a commanding 43-6 victory versus Brookfield on Oct. 28. (File photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier)

When the Guilford football team entered its bye week, Head Coach Anthony Salvati knew that the Grizzlies needed some time to recuperate from a hard-fought loss against Hillhouse on Oct. 15. Guilford returned to the field ready and refreshed last week and notched a convincing win versus Brookfield.

Guilford hosted Brookfield for a non-conference contest at the Surf Club in Madison on Oct. 28. The Grizzlies routed the Bobcats by the final score of 43-6 to level their record at 3-3 on the year.

“Brookfield is a very physical team and a team that we knew we couldn’t overlook going into this matchup. I was really proud of the way everyone played,” Coach Salvati said. “Every week, I feel like we get better. We had a rough start with injuries, but I feel like we are really starting to hit our stride now.”

Guilford’s offense essentially turned in a flawless performance in the team’s win over Brookfield (2-5). Senior quarterback Nico Messina went 14-of-17 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns for the Grizzlies in the victory. Two of those touchdowns went to senior captain wide receiver Eric Dolmus, who had seven receptions for 148 yards on the night. Fellow receiver Jack O’Brien, also a senior captain, finished the game with five catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns to help Guilford win with authority.

“I was really proud of the way our senior wide receivers performed in this game,” said Salvati. “Eric has been a consistent playmaker for us all season, as has Jack, and it was nice to see both of them get a couple of touchdowns on the night.”

Junior running back Mike O’Brien had 15 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown for Guilford. Senior Eddie Barlage also found the end zone on an 11-yard TD rush.

Sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilgert got some playing time under center in the game. Hilgert completed seven passes for 65 yards and also ran for a 1-yard touchdown to finish off the scoring for Coach Salvati’s squad. Sophomore Brady Hallihan kicked an extra point in the game.

“I like the way that we rebounded this week. We didn’t really put that Hillhouse team away when we had a chance to a couple weeks ago. This week, our defense was strong all-around,” Salvati said. “We had no missed tackles and made a lot of great plays, which put our offense in a favorable position. It was to our benefit that Brookfield was playing on a short week, as well.”

Junior linebacker Liam Alberti aided the defensive charge for Guilford by making 10 tackles in the win. Sophomore safety Jake Jahnige had a huge game that saw him snag three interceptions to go with five tackles. Barlage had seven tackles for the Grizzlies, while senior defensive end Aiden McBrierty made six tackles to go with one sack.

“I think Aiden had one of the biggest impacts on the game,” said Salvati. “He had several quarterback pressures, which contributed to several bad throws for Brookfield and led to some interceptions for us. He had a tremendous game.”

Coach Salvati views the injuries that his team went through at the beginning of the season as both a curse and a blessing. While it was difficult seeing some of Guilford’s best players get sidelined, those setbacks also gave some of the younger athletes a chance to gain varsity experience—something that has ultimately benefited the entire team.

“The younger kids who didn’t have varsity experience at the beginning of this season are finally playing like varsity players,” Salvati said. “It’s great to see us coming together like this. We’ve got four games left this season, and the kids’ goal is to finish 7-3.”

Guilford’s next game is on the road against fellow SCC Tier 3 opponent Bassick (1-6) on Friday, Nov. 5. The game gets underway at 6 p.m. at Kennedy Stadium in Bridgeport. After that, the Grizzlies will conclude their regular season by playing home games versus Branford and East Haven, followed by their finale at Hand on the night before Thanksgiving.

“I’m looking forward to seeing these guys compete,” said Salvati. “We are finally fully healthy, and my expectations for the team are high for the rest of the year. We just want to take it week by week.”

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