Last Friday, the Cheshire High School football team saw how turnovers and issues in special teams can be costly in a 33-10 loss to Fairfield Prep at Fairfield University.
In coming home a week later, the Rams flipped the script and rebounded from their first defeat. On Friday, CHS (5-1) forced four turnovers inside the 20-yard line in a 27-12 win over Notre Dame-West Haven (4-2).
In special teams, senior Micah Galloza made two field goals and went three-for-three on extra points, while sophomore Coryon Harris had a pair of long punt returns.
Junior quarterback Matt Jeffery got banged up in last week’s game, but in switching to wide receiver, he caught a pair of touchdowns from senior co-captain Michael Simeone.
Led by senior quarterback Matt Piechota, ND-WH moved the ball throughout the first half, but three turnovers hampered them. On the opening drive, the Green Knights marched to the Cheshire 21-yard line, but ND-WH fumbled an exchange and junior Adam Vernon fell on the ball with 8:06 remaining in the first quarter.
After forcing CHS to punt away the next drive, the Green Knights came back to strike first on a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Jacob Staton with 4:26 left in the first quarter. Since the extra point-attempt failed, ND-WH led 6-0.
While facing a deficit, the Rams shifted momentum on a long kick-off return by Harris to the 36-yard line. Simeone completed a 21-yard pass to senior Drew Vagts on the sideline and then junior Jeffery Gonzalez ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 2:49 remaining in the first. Galloza kicked the extra point to put the Rams up 7-6.
Cheshire pushed the Green Knights into a fourth down and then senior lineman Brett Rochford blocked a punt. Senior Riley Wilson recovered the ball at the ND-WH 44-yard line.
The Rams turned the play into their second touchdown. At the 24-yard line, Simeone threw to Jeffery, who caught the ball in the back of the end zone with 5:59 remaining in the second quarter.
After going up 14-6, the Cheshire defense took center stage. ND-WH twice reached the red zone in the final four minutes of the first half, but the Rams created turnovers on both trips.
The first sequence played out with 3:22 left in the first half. At the 11-yard line, ND-WH tried a trick play, with Piechota, Staton, and senior William Panza taking hand-offs. Panza looked to pass down field, but Rochford forced the ball to be floated in the air and junior defensive back Lucas Chymbor made an interception at the 3-yard line.
Soon after, Cheshire punted the ball back to ND-WH. Piechota passed to senior Matteao Petruzziello inside the red zone, but senior Connor Moran dislodged the ball at the 14-yard line and Jeffery made the recovery.
The Rams returned to extend their lead in the second half. Harris returned the opening kick-off to the 40-yard line and then Simeone broke free on a 56-yard run to the ND-WH 4-yard line.
CHS had a first and goal, but a delay of game penalty led to them settling for a 20-yard field goal by Galloza with 8:28 left in the third.
When ND-WH punted again, Vernon returned the ball to the 15-yard line. From there, CHS extended their lead on a 39-yard field goal by Galloza with 4:55 remaining in the third.
In facing a fourth down on their next possession, ND-WH called for a fake punt, however Rochford tackled Piechota short of the marker.
The Rams capitalized on the short field. On a reverse, Vagts ran 16 yards to the 11-yard line and ND-WH was penalized for a late hit out of bounds.
The Green Knights kept the Rams out of the end zone on three run plays, but on fourth down, Jeffery caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Simeone with 9:32 left in the game.
ND-WH tried to stage a late rally. After recovering a Cheshire fumble, Staton earned his second 3-yard touchdown blast with 5:51 left.
The Green Knights failed on a two-point conversion play, so the Rams led 27-12.
ND-WH made another push into Cheshire territory, but in the final two minutes, Chymbor earned his career-high second interception in the end zone.
Scoring summary is listed below.
*3-yard touchdown run by Staton (4:26) 6-0, ND-WH
Point after touchdown failed
*3-yard touchdown run by Gonzalez (2:49) 7-6, CHS
PAT by Galloza was good
*24-yard touchdown pass from Simeone to Jeffery (5:59) 14-6, CHS
PAT by Galloza was good
*20-yard field goal by Galloza (8:28) 17-6, CHS
*39-yard field goal by Galloza (4:55) 20-6, CHS
*1-yard touchdown pass from Simeone to Jeffery (9:32) 27-6, CHS
PAT by Galloza was good
*3-yard touchdown run by Staton (5:51) 27-12, CHS
Two-point conversion attempt failed
This story will be updated with comments.
Next Friday, the Rams play North Haven (5-1) at 7 p.m.