Thursday’s football roundup: Kennedy prevails in OT for first win of season

The Kennedy football team couldn’t have picked a more exciting way to earn its first win of the season.

The Eagles (1-5) scored first in overtime on Dereck Ledee’s five-yard touchdown run. Kennedy then got the stop it needed on defense to claim a 42-34 win over Wilby on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium’s Ray Snyder Sr. Field. The Wildcats dropped to 2-4 with the loss.

Kennedy trailed, 28-18, with 58.3 seconds left in the third quarter following a 13-yard touchdown run by Wilby’s James Richards. The Eagles outscored the Wildcats, 18-6, in the fourth quarter to knot the game at 34 and send it to overtime. Elliot Giordano’s second three-yard touchdown run of the game pulled Kennedy to within two points, 34-32. Daniel Rodriguez’s conversion run tied the game, 34-34, with 5:20 to play in regulation.

Overtime in Connecticut is as follows: both teams get four offensive plays from the opponent’s 10-yard line. You either score or you don’t. Ledee got Kennedy its touchdown, then the Eagles hit on the two-point conversion. That wound up being the difference in the game.

Wilby struck first when Aaron James hit Jaremiah Coleman for a 14-yard touchdown pass and a 6-0 lead with 5:14 left in the first quarter. Kennedy scored the next 18 points to claim an 18-6 advantage with 29 seconds left in the first half. Ledee hit Rodriguez for the first score, then Giordano’s first three-yard touchdown run gave the Eagles a 12-6 lead. When Ledee threw a nine-yard touchdown pass, Kennedy had an 18-6 lead.

That 12-point lead didn’t last. Richards busted free for a 52-yard gain on Wilby’s ensuing possession. James scored from four yards out and the Wildcats made their conversion with 2.5 seconds left in the half to cut the deficit to 18-14. Wilby took the lead, 22-18, when James scampered an incredible 99 yards with 6:29 left in the third quarter. Richards extended the advantage to 28-18 with a 13-yard scoring run at the 58.3 second mark of the third quarter.

Kennedy had some magic of its own when Ledee lateralled to Rodriguez, who completed the 56-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion brought the score to 28-26 in favor of Wilby with 10:02 left in regulation. Richards ran for a 56-yard touchdown of his own to extend the Wildcat advantage to 34-26 with 8:09 to play. His second touchdown of the game turned out to be the last for Wilby.

Giordano’s touchdown and Rodriguez’s conversion evened the game at 34 with 5:20 to go. That’s where the score remained until overtime before Kennedy pulled off an exciting victory.

The Eagles and Wildcats weren’t the only city teams to be involved in an exciting game Thursday night. WCA scored two third quarter touchdowns to lead at Oxford, but a late score by Wolverines and blocked field goal on the game’s final play handed the Spartans a rough 13-12 loss. WCA fell to 4-2 while Oxford improved to 3-3.

The Wolverines struck for the game’s first touchdown just 52 seconds into the game, and the extra point gave them a 7-0 lead. The Spartans were stopped on fourth down inside the Oxford 5-yard line late in the first half, and the Wolverines maintained their one-touchdown margin at the break.

WCA got its offense going behind the running of D’Vonte Lane and Dasani Yates in the third quarter. Yates scored on an 11-yard run to get the Spartans to within 7-6. The extra point was blocked. When Lane ran the ball in from 18 yards out, WCA had a 12-7 lead. The two-point conversion attempt was stopped.

WCA was stopped on downs in Oxford territory, and the Wolverines set up for their final drive beginning at their own 43. Oxford used 12 plays and scored with 1:12 remaining in the game for a 13-12 lead. The two-point conversion attempt was stuffed, but the Wolverines had the lead for the first time since the opening minute.

Yates, showing his all-around versatility, ran the ensuing kickoff back 30 yards to the Oxford 37. WCA got a receiver behind the defense on first down, but the pass was deflected away. On second down, KaVaughn Canady was sacked for a seven-yard loss. The Spartans had no timeouts left, so they had to rush to the line of scrimmage. Instead of spiking the ball, Canady threw deep down the right sideline. WCA thought it had a catch, but the receiver was ruled out of bounds with 20.2 seconds to play. That was rendered moot, however, when Oxford was called for roughing the passer, moving the ball to the 29-yard line for an automatic first down.

Canady scrambled on 1st and 10 and threw deep to Yates on first down, but the pass was knocked away with 6.7 seconds left. A flag was thrown well after the play but was picked up. The clock was updated to indicate 8.2 seconds remaining, and the Spartans decided to go for a field goal. WCA called on Dylan Rossi, who has the lone field goal in program history to date, to attempt a 46-yarder for the win. The Wolverines got a ton of penetration, however, and blocked the kick to complete a stunning victory. Lane ran for 102 yards while Yates gained 79 on the ground for the Spartans.

Bristol Eastern also grabbed its first win of the season, 41-21, at home against Lewis Mills. Jaiden Fore scored four touchdowns on runs of six, two, four and nine yards. Jack Hartley had a big night as well, blocking a punt and returning it 30 yards for a score. Hartley also ran for a one-yard touchdown. Gavin Damboise made six of seven extra-point attempts for the Lancers, who improved to 1-5.

Ansonia at Holy Cross, 6:30
Wolcott at Woodland, 6:30
St. Paul at Derby, 7

Maloney at Bristol Central, 10 a.m.
Crosby at Gilbert/Northwestern/Housatonic, 1
NW United at Wilcox/Kaynor, 6

PHOTO CAPTION: Dereck Ledee scored in overtime to give the Kennedy football team its first win of the season Thursday night. (Sports on CT-69, file)