Gary, Phillips lead West Haven past injury-riddled Shelton

West Haven edged Shelton 35-26 at Ken Strong Stadium on Friday for its ninth-straight win. Quarterback Duane Gary rushed for a 9-yard run with 3:21 remaining to cap the scoring, as the Blue Devils clinched a berth in the Class LL state playoffs with one game left.

Gary — a 5-foot-8, 158-pound senior — rushed for 97 yards, including 81 in the second half. He formed a potent duo on the ground with senior tailback Ervin Phillips, who 137 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

“Ervin is obviously a fantastic back, but the quarterback just always seemed to make big plays and make people miss all year on all the films we watched,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “He was actually the guy we were worried about. That’s kind of what happened, he’s kind of the guy that beat us. We had trouble tackling him.

“He’s got great speed, he’s a great back.”

Gary came into game with 730 yards and 13 touchdowns on 87 carries, good for an 8.3 average.

The Gaels — minus senior tailback Jason Thompson, who broke his clavicle in a 15-12 loss to Xavier last week — turned to the air to pick up much of their offense. Senior quarterback Mark Piccirillo threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns, but also chucked a pair of costly interceptions to Marshont Little.

Sophomore tailback Peter Hoff rushed nine times for 33 yards and caught five passes for 36 yards in Thompson’s absence.

“With Jason out, we wanted to throw the ball a little more,” Roy said, “but I thought Hoff really stepped up. He ran great tonight for us. He’s going to be a good back for us.”

Thompson racked up 1,141 yards and 10 touchdowns on 156 carries this season.

“That was hard coming out without him. The first quarter, we came out really slow,” said Piccirillo, as the Gaels fell behind 13-0 after one. “It was weird without him. We kind of started to bounce back, but it just didn’t turn out our way.”

10 Responses

  1. RAY BROWN says:

    dave k——-get the basketballs out again—–seasons over

  2. Mac says:

    Has anyone have any insight on what has happened to the Gaels?Just can’t seem to win the big game anymore?Big town with huge youth programs that just can’t seem to get it done recently.Maybe time for a coaching change?I hear they got some hot shot coach’s at JV and Frosh that are ready to take over?

  3. RAY BROWN says:

    coaches are ex-torrington coaches,wouldnt exactly call them hotshots

  4. R-MAC says:

    What’s wrong with the Shelton Gales, The Coach Roy years ! What else could it be but coaching and play calling at this point. Shelton had good talent this year although hampered by some injuries , they came out this year looking like a play off bound team crushing Trumbull in their SCC/FCIAC opening game. The offense was putting up some good numbers and the defense was getting the job done. It’s the games with teams like Prep ,Hand , Xavier , West Haven where the Gaels show the weaknesses of their leadership’s strategic game planning. This was a year where the Gaels were in line with the big boys of the SCC , matching up well in overall talent on both sides of the ball , but in the end much better coaching and play calling by Prep, Hand, Xavier, West Haven was something the Shelton Gaels has been missing for years now, and it really showed its ugly head in all those big games.

  5. dave k says:

    Mac, I think Coach Roy has done a great job this year there was a complete turn around from last year on both sides of the ball. The problem is the inability to make the big play when the game is on the line. Prep, hand, and X all converted key 4th downs to beat the gaels. The WHHS game came down to a int in the red zone and a key 3rd and long pass completion by the westies on their last drive. Those four plays seperate the gaels from an undefeated season.

  6. Mac says:

    R-Mac,points well taken.Alot of people I talked to around town thought this was the year the stars lined up for Shelton to return to the top of the league.With a dedicated Senior class,size, talent and the fact the big boys were down a bit the community expected so much more.It might be time for Coach roy to pass the program down to someone else.There was rumors Murphy would come here to be O coordinator for a couple years then take over.It seems as if Shelton missed the boat letting him slip away?It now looks as though the program has slipped into mediocrity and kids don’t know how to win anymore.

  7. MC Hammer says:

    I agree that the Gaels could have won more games this year but I don’t feel the staff is incompetent. The SCC landscape is not what it was 10 years ago. there is much more parity. Don’t forget that Shelton is in the top 3 for winning % since the SCC was formed. High school football is much more complicated than was 5 years ago let alone 10. As for murphy I don’t believe that rumor. Why would a head coach on top of their game leave to be a coach in waiting?

  8. R-MAC says:

    I never said that the coaching staff was incompetent, more like inconsistent with the Shelton Gaels. Coach Roy has gotten good results since being with the program. It’s those games with Prep , Xavier , Hand , West Haven that the Gaels came up short in the end. Yes those are the bread and butter games in the SCC. The best of the best. In all those games the Gaels seemed to get conservative and made those games closer than they had to be in my opinion. No disrespect to coach Roy or his staff, but your better than that !

  9. Mac says:

    Hammer,it’s the old saying what have you done for me lately…Big town huge feeder programs…How many years in a row have they had only 6 or 7 wins?Gaels have not won a big game in 5+ years…Some one must take the hit?They say AD don’t want to rock boat and make changes?Mediocrity reigns in Shelton.

  10. RAY BROWN says: