Rams Football Uses Turnovers And Special Teams To Help Fuel Rivalry Win

Rams Football Uses Turnovers And Special Teams To Help Fuel Rivalry Win

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.

First Quarter

*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

Second Quarter

*24-yard touchdown pass from Simeone to Jeffery (5:59) 14-6, CHS

PAT by Galloza was good

Third Quarter

*20-yard field goal by Galloza (8:28) 17-6, CHS

*39-yard field goal by Galloza (4:55) 20-6, CHS

Fourth Quarter

*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.


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