For a little while, like the entire first half, the 16th Hall of Fame Football Classic looked all too familiar for Fairfield County: Out of sync and outclassed.
There were high snaps, muffed snaps, bad punts, dropped balls. New Haven struck with game’s first 13 points and kept a-knockin’ at Fairfield County’s doorstep.
But at halftime, somebody must have lit a fire beneath Fairfield County’s rear-ends. The typically lackluster Ralph Desantis Chapter used heavy does of Bunnell, Stamford and McMahon, scored 23 unanswered points and walked off Ken Strong Stadium with a surprising, 23-13 victory.
Stamford’s Barry Boderick lit the fuse with an interception that set up a Matt Paola Field goal. Then the floodgates opened. McMahon’s Damien Vega tossed a short TD pass to Bunnell’s Jawad Chisolm, Bunnell’s J.J. Bivona took an interception 53-yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
And finally, Chisholm does what he did so well while starring for the Bulldogs last year. He outraced Wolcott’s Devante Bonvillian, caught a fly pass from Stamford’s Bryan Boderick and waltzed into the end zone for a back-breaking 71-yard touchdown.
McMahon’s Zack O’Connor and the defense did the rest, smothering New Haven’s offense led by Michael Ecke and Holy Cross’ Dave DiGiorgi. They pitched a shut out the rest of the way to give Fairfield County its first back-to-back victory since the 2001-02 games.
Chisholm was Fairfield County’s Offensive MVP. Bivona took defensive MVP.
Cheshire’s Kyle Pulek kicked a pair of field goals and was named the New Haven County MVP. Ansonia’s Jake Larovera, who led his team’s strong defense in the first-half and blocked a punt, was named defensive MVP.
New Haven leads the all-time series 10-6.
And now the countdown to fall practice begins.