Notre Dame-West Haven defeats Hand in a CIAC football game,

MADISON — As the mid-season approaches, teams are starting to notice where they rank in state tournament brackets.

Entering as the third seed in Class M, Notre Dame senior Jacob Staton ensured the Green Knights remained in the top half of the group.

Staton’s two interceptions and two touchdowns helped the Green Knights to a 34-7 victory over Hand-Madison in a Southern Connecticut Conference contest at the Surf Club on Friday night.

“We knew coming here it would be a defensive game early on,” Staton said. “Offensively we can get the job done, but defensively we’ve done it this year. We did what we had to do. The key was ball rallying and lots of movies. Cinema is what helped us a lot.

Leading 7-0 on a Staton interception and touchdown late in the first half, the Green Knights ended the competition in the second half with 27 points.

Quarterback Matthew Piechota, who threw for 169 yards, dodged a sack and put distance between Notre Dame and the offensively falling Tigers when his dazzling 20-yard touchdown with 4 minutes and 41 seconds left in the third quarterback gave the Green Knights a 14-0 lead.

“We definitely played better on offense in the second half,” Notre Dame coach Joe DeCaprio said after his team won its fourth straight game to move to 4-1. “By the way, that hand defense is amazing. They are very, very good. Hand reminds us of last year. They can beat anyone they play against.

The Notre Dame defense then took over with Staton in the lead. Staton passed a pass from Hand quarterback Paul Calandrelli and ran for 47 yards untouched for the score and a 21-0 lead with 10:35 to go.

“I think it’s the salty taste in our mouths from last year,” Staton said. “Our season was very low last year. It’s about getting a return on investment from now on and keeping your head up.

Hand had entered the contest having been shut out in the last three games. With time running out, it looked like the Tigers would extend the streak to four games, before Aidan Dolan ran for 21 yards to open the drive and finished Hand’s first drive since opening night with a score. 4 yards in less than two minutes. later.

“We have a ton of guys going both ways, which again is tough for us, but we have a really good quarterback and talented young receivers,” Hand coach Erik Becker said afterward. that his team fell to 1-4. “There are elements to rely on. We embrace the difficult path. We want to play the best. At the moment we find it difficult to compete with teams that are bigger than us. »

The Green Knights sealed the game with two touchdowns in the 6:26 final. Jonathan Evans ran for 47 yards for a 28-7 lead, before Tyler Koenig capped the scoring with a 27-yard run in the final two minutes.

The two teams headed into the contest going in opposite directions, with the Green Knights winning three in a row and Hand losing three in a row.

To make matters worse for the Tigers, they hadn’t scored in their last three games. As the Tigers broke that scoreless skid, they didn’t respond until the game was already under the control of the Green Knights.

The Green Knights led the first half in possession time and yardage (204-73), but only led 7-0 after two quarters of play.

“It was the penalties,” DeCaprio said. “We fought in the first half. We are a very good football team. We’re really, really good in defense right now. Our defense is playing at such a high level and our offense is very good. We commit so many penalties. It seems like every week we shoot ourselves in the foot. We actually had a punt return for a recalled touchdown. I received nine penalties in the first half.

After controlling the game without showing anything, the Green Knights finally got on the board with 1:02 left in the first half.

Staton shook things up with an interception at the Hand 14, then scored from one yard out for a 7-0 lead.

Staton’s heroics in the first half accounted for Notre Dame’s only points despite Piechota throwing for 114 yards on 12 completions.

The Green Knights continually moved the ball in the first half, but the hand defense held firm, including a Wesley Selmani interception deep in hand territory with 7:02 remaining in the first half .

Staton ran for 85 yards in the first half, including runs for 22 and 19 yards before Selmani’s interception. The Notre Dame elder finished with 120 rushing yards.

While Notre Dame moved the ball, but couldn’t score, Hand couldn’t get going offensively, getting 3 and his first three possessions of the game.

The Tigers’ first initial down came on a 22-yard pass from Calandrelli to Alex Cushing with less than seven minutes left in the half.

The Green Knights thought they had taken a 6-0 lead with 3:03 to go when Matteao Petruzziello returned a 70-yard punt for a score, but one of Notre Dame’s few penalties in the first half was erased the score.


Jacob Staton – Notre Dame senior had two interceptions, scored once on offense and defense, and went for 120 yards as Notre Dame improved to 4-1.


“We’re good. We’re a good football team. We’re really going to find out in the next few weeks. We’re going to play two class L teams that are exceptional and the rest are LL teams. We’re going to have a battle every week and we know.- Notre Dame coach Joe DeCaprio


Notre Dame 0 7 7 20 – 34
Hand 0 0 0 7 – 7

N – Jacob Staton 1 inning (Davin Garamella) 1:02
N – Matthew Piechota 20 run (Garamella kick) 4:41
N – Jacob Staton 47 Int. return (Garamella kick) 10:35
H – Aidan Dolan 4 run (kick) 8:46
N – Jonathan Evans 47 run (Garamella kick) 6:26
N – Tyler Koenig 27 run (missed kick) 1:45
Records: N: 4-1 H: 1-4

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