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11/08/2022 04:03 PM

Valley-Old Lyme Posts 29-14 Victory Over Stafford Co-op

Senior Didi Jean-Pierre and the Valley Regional-Old Lyme football team improved to 6-1 on the year after earning a 29-14 home win over Stafford-East Windsor-Somers on Nov. 4. Photo by Kenneth Marangell/The Courier
Senior Allison Safran and the Valley Regional field hockey team gave Old Saybrook a great game in a Shoreline semifinal loss and now get ready to play in states this week. Photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier Photo courtesy of Wesley Bunnell
Senior Riley Burch (No. 5) and the Valley girls’ volleyball team defeated H-K in the Shoreline quarterfinals last week and then took a loss against Hale-Ray in the semifinal round. Pictured on the left for the Warriors is No. 8, Joanna Petrone. Photo by Wesley Bunnell/The Courier Photo courtesy of Wesley Bunnell


The Valley Regional-Old Lyme (VR-OL) football team hit the road to square off against the Stafford-East Windsor-Somers (S-EW-S) co-op squad on Nov. 4. The Warriors claimed a 29-14 victory in the matchup at Stafford High School to improve their overall record to 6-1 on the season. S-EW-S dropped to 3-5 on the year with the loss.

The Warriors took control early by scoring the first three touchdowns of the game to grab a 22-0 lead over the Bulldogs in the second quarter. The two teams traded TDs the rest of the way as the Warriors went on to win the contest by a 15-point margin.

Junior quarterback Grady Lacourciere went 5-of-9 passing for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns with a 2-point conversion pass for the Warriors in the victory. Senior Nick Cox caught both of Lacourciere’s TD tosses and finished the game with 4 receptions for 65 yards to go with 7 tackles on defense.

Senior Didi Jean-Pierre played a solid all-around game for VR-OL in the win. Jean-Pierre had 3 carries for 70 yards and a running touchdown, along with 3 catches for 47 yards on the night. Jean-Pierre also had a sack with an interception and 2 tackles on defense.

Senior Jake Rand rushed for a touchdown and also had 9 tackles with a sack on the defensive side of the ball. In the kicking game, Rand went 3-for-3 on his extra point attempts and recorded touchbacks on 4 of his 5 kickoffs.

All of the Warriors’ starting offensive linemen had a pancake block in the game. VR-OL’s line was anchored by senior Adam Metz, senior Sam Bourez, senior Joe Montazella, freshman Reed Schmelzer, and freshman Eli Torres.

Montazella also had 6 tackles with a fumble recovery on defense for the Warriors. Sophomore Max Novak had 6 tackles and a sack, sophomore Matt Cooper posted 5 tackles with a sack, and junior Shane Gagne-Lemay made 4 tackles to go with a forced fumble. Senior Andrew Yermenson snagged an interception to help Head Coach Hill Gbunblee’s team get the win.

Rand put the Warriors on the board when he rushed for a 3-yard touchdown during the first quarter. Rand followed by kicking the extra point to give VR-OL a 7-0 lead.

Later in the period, Lacourciere threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Cox to put the Warriors up by two scores. VR-OL held a 15-0 advantage after the first quarter.

The Warriors scored their third touchdown of the game when senior Didi Jean-Pierre broke off a 67-yard TD run in the second quarter. Rand’s extra point put VR-OL up by a 22-0 score.

S-EW-S recorded its first score of the night on a 24-yard touchdown pass to cut the deficit to 22-7. However, VR-OL came right back when Lacourciere threw his second touchdown pass of the night to Cox. Rand hit another PAT to give the Warriors a 29-7 lead at halftime.

Following a scoreless third quarter, the Bulldogs scored the only touchdown of the second half in the fourth quarter. That score sliced the Warriors’ lead to 29-14, but VR-OL allowed nothing more and was able to chew up enough clock to walk off the field with its sixth victory of the season.

The Warriors are in the No. 7 spot in the Class SS State Playoff rankings in which the top seven squads qualify. VR-OL is hosting the CREC co-op team, which has a record of (2-5) for its next contest on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Valley Regional High School. The Warriors will then play a home game versus Old Saybrook-Westbrook at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17. After that, VR-OL will be on the road to face Haddam-Killingworth in the annual clash for the Principal’s Cup on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Field Hockey

The Valley Regional field hockey team faced Old Saybrook in the semifinals of the Shoreline Conference Tournament last week. The Warriors lost to Old Saybrook in a game that came down to penalty strokes to put their overall record at 8-6-3 as they get ready to play in states this week.

On Nov. 1, No. 3 seed Valley Regional took on No. 2 Old Saybrook in a Shoreline Conference Tournament semifinal contest. The Rams claimed a 1-0 victory versus Valley in the game when they prevailed by a 2-1 margin in penalty strokes after the two sides were tied through regulation and overtime. Old Saybrook went on to take a 1-0 loss to North Branford in the championship game.

Valley Regional enters the Class S State Tournament as the No. 11 seed and is playing at No. 6 seed Granby in the first round on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 4 p.m. With a victory, the Warriors would move on to play a second-round game on Thursday, Nov. 10. The semifinals are on Tuesday, Nov. 16 and Wednesday, Nov. 17; and the Class S state final takes place at Wethersfield High School on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Prior to playing in Shorelines, Valley took a 3-1 road loss to Granby in its regular-season finale on Oct. 29. Freshman Bella Rice scored a 1 goal, and senior Lily Grow had an assist for the Warriors in the match.

Girls’ Volleyball

The Valley Regional girls’ volleyball team earned a win versus Haddam-Killingworth in the quarterfinals of the Shoreline Conference Tournament before taking a semifinal loss against Hale-Ray last week. The Warriors are sporting an overall record of 13-9 as they get ready to compete in the Class M State Tournament this week.

No. 4 seed Valley Regional began the Shoreline Conference Tournament by notching a 3-1 victory over No. 5 seed Haddam-Killingworth in a quarterfinal contest on Nov. 1. The Warriors won the matchup by the final tally of 25-15, 25-17, 20-15, 25-19.

Two days later, Valley was on the road to face top-seeded Hale-Ray in the Shoreline semifinals. The Warriors took a 3-2 defeat to the Noises in the match.

Valley is the No. 17 seed in the Class M State Tournament and will open up the draw by playing a first-round match versus No. 16 seed Weston on Monday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. If the Warriors win that match, they will play at No. 1 seed Seymour in the second round on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.

The Class M semifinals are being played on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. The semis will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 15; and the championship match is at East Haven High School on Saturday, Nov. 19.

Girls’ Soccer

The Valley Regional girls’ soccer team is competing in the Class M State Tournament this week.

The Warriors, who have an overall record of 6-5-5, are the No. 25 seed in the Class M bracket and will play a first-round road game versus No. 8 seed Watertown on Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. If Valley wins, it will move on to play the winner of No. 9 seed Sheehan and No. 24 Lauralton Hall on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.

The quarterfinals of the Class M State Tournament are being played on Saturday, Nov. 12. The semifinals will take place from Tuesday, Nov. 15 to Thursday, Nov. 17; and the Class M state final will be hosted at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford on either Saturday, Nov. 19 or Sunday, Nov. 20.