Morgan Football Defeats Old Saybrook-Westbrook in Turkey Week Tussle
The Morgan and Old Saybrook-Westbrook (OS-W) football teams met on Nov. 23 for the squads’ annual Thanksgiving week clash. The Huskies prevailed with a 32-14 victory at Old Saybrook High School to finish their season campaign 3-7 overall and 3-5 in the Sassacus Division of the Pequot Conference, while the Rams concluded their 2022 season at 0-10.
OS-W did get things moving in the opening stages of the showdown and were able to find the end zone, yet the Huskies were able to charge back at the Rams and stuff their ground game.
“It was great to go out with a win at the end of the year,” said Morgan Head Coach Kevin Sullivan on his team’s triumph. “It was also great to send off the seniors with a win on Thanksgiving. Early on, they [OS-W] kept us a little off balance and put points on the board. We had trouble stopping the run early, but then we made big stops later.”
In the first quarter, the Rams fired the opening shot with a 7-0 lead via a 33-yard touchdown rush and they would carry the command entering the second.
Junior Casey Corrigan then cut the Morgan deficit to one after a 20-yard scoring scamper and failed two-point conversion. Later in the frame, OS-W took a 14-6 edge thanks to a 4-yard TD dash for what ended up being the hosts’ final points of the night.
Morgan went to intermission up 20-14 when junior Tyler Baldwin fired a 33-yard scoring strike to Jack Nye and then the two connected on the ensuing two-point play. Then, senior captain Jake Caprio made it a six-point contest after hauling in a 24-yard TD reception from Baldwin.
The Huskies then added a 5-yard TD sprint from Baldwin in the third and a 1-yard touchdown dash from Corrigan for the fourth as they cruised to the 18-point decision.
The Huskies outgained the Rams 370-273 in total yards. Baldwin finished the day 13-of-18 passing with 213 yards through the air. He also added 30 rushing yards with eight attempts. On the ground, Corrigan rushed for 128 yards on 16 carries. In the receiving department, Nye was the leading ball hawk–pulling down six receptions for 104 yards. Defensively, Corrigan and senior Aidan Staunton each had a sack.
Sullivan commended his club for having the ability to take on new challenges in different roles on the field, as the Huskies had to develop their own depth at various positions due to the low number of returning players.
“As a group, we didn’t have a lot of experience coming back this year,” said Sullivan. “For the kids that did return, they had to learn new positions. We just concentrated on getting better each week. They hit bumps in the road, but they did a good job of battling back. They kept trying to improve and never hung their heads. From seeing them in practice every day, they finished a better team than the one they were in August.”
Morgan boasted only nine seniors this fall. Still, they made up for the small veteran numbers with gigantic commitment and heart in helping the young Huskies mature both collectively and individually as time wore on.
“They had a lot on their shoulders, but the seniors did a great job,” Coach Sullivan stated. “We lost Chris Carmona to a knee injury for several weeks. Luis Mendez stepped up big time, and he never once complained. We had a senior lineman in Luke Bellinger who went both ways on the line and was great. Aidan Staunton was big for us on defense. Our captain Jake Caprio was one of our mainstays at safety. He did a great job getting us lined up, and he also made great plays on offense. The seniors did a great job of leading the team and preparing the other guys for the future.”
In the regular season, Morgan scored wins over Haddam-Killingworth (H-K) (30-23), Coginchaug/Hale-Ray/East Hampton (58-39), and the Rams (32-14). The Huskies took defeats while going up against Cromwell-Portland (41-0), Valley Regional-Old Lyme (48-0), Capital Prep-Achievement (35-28), Rockville (54-14), Granby-Canton (38-22), Ellington (48-28), and North Branford (55-14).
“We only had three wins, but a win is a win,” Coach Sullivan said. “We opened up with a tough Cromwell team that was a defending state champ. We were fortunate to get that win against H-K, a team that just narrowly missed the playoffs. We jumped out to an early lead and held on. We hit a lull and lost a tough one to Capital Prep, but then we had a great game against Coginchaug. It was great to see the kids make strides offensively in that one. We had a tough schedule; five of the 10 teams made the playoffs and seven of the 10 were in playoff contention entering the final week. To finish the year with a win was awesome.”
Morgan may have been short on wins, though they scored major team triumphs by growing as a young group and planting the blueprint to construct even bigger successes in the near future.
“I feel lucky enough to coach these seniors and see what they have done to build a foundation for a successful program,” Sullivan said. “Just being around these kids and helping them grow was what was successful for this year.”
The 2022 Morgan roster was comprised of seniors in Caprio, Seamus Staunton, Mendez, Aidan Staunton, Christopher Carmona, Nathan Schumann, Alex Smith, Christopher Dowd, Bellinger; juniors of John Nye, Jacob Jones, Tyler Baldwin, Ross Treubig, Casey Corrigan, Hayden Walter; sophomores with Luke McComiskey, Dominic Larabee, Hunter Roth, Griffin Ranaudo, Tyshawn Davis, Carson Dowd, Tyler Farrell, Mason Jakober, Logan Ryan; and finally a freshman class of Christian Jacobs-Harris, Johnnie Alexander, Andrew Brown, Jaden Cartagena, Drew Cyr, Nicholas Maenza, Greyson Simes-Vandersloot, Jaidyn Hills, Chayton Kattermann, John Collins, and Jake Beermuender. Sullivan was assisted on the sidelines this fall with coaches John Bozzi and Jimmy Lewis.
Making up the roster for the Rams’ 2022 squad were senior captains Carson Percival, Vinnie Naccarato, Jake Pavlovich, and Alex Barros; fellow seniors of Felipe DaMoura, Reilly Peterson, Joanna Kelly, Josh Kapp, Brendan Novajosky, Joey Donohue, John Witczak; juniors in Zach Taylor, Holden Lemire, Bardh Tharci, Nick Novorio, Ben Freeburg, Aidan Ladd, Juan Vieyra; sophomores of Brandon Hester, Wesley Percival, Ethan Lane, Tyler Fineza, Dominic DeNovellis, Timothy Bollmann, Mateo Guillen; and freshmen with Wyatt Pennington, Dante Vieyra, Luke Surmanis, Finn Speed, Tim Ferraina, and Jason Lee. Head Coach Clay Hillyer’s assistant coaches for OS-W this season were Mike Pantages and Jacob Bridges.