Prep's loss to West Haven ends season

Needing a win to qualify for the Class LL state football playoffs, Fairfield Prep lost a 21-14 decision to West Haven High at Ken Strong Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.
Blue Devil sophomore tailback Brandon Sebastian ran for a 17-yard touchdown with 11:24 left to play, with classmate Anthony Godfrey punching in the two-point conversion, to put West Haven on top for good.
“We didn’t’ tackle them,” Prep head coach Tom Shea said. “They’ve got great backs, they’re young guys, and we are going to be chasing them for the next couple of years.”
West Haven (6-5) churned out 297 yards rushing on 35 carries, led by Sebastian’s 11 carries for 127 yards, 82 yards from Marshont Little and 89 from Godfrey.
The Jesuits (7-4) had two chances to tie or take the lead after Sebastian’s go-ahead score. But, tailback Allen Gibson was stopped short of the marker for a turnover on downs at the West Haven 10-yard line to halt one drive.
Then, with the ball at midfield with 4:06 left following a blocked punt by Prep’s Nathan Miller, Colton Smith threw three consecutive incompletions resulting in another turnover on downs.
“Desire is not enough,” Shea said. “You’ve got to execute and we didn’t do that.”
From there, West Haven ran out the clock to secure the season-ending victory to send legendary head coach Ed McCarthy out on a triumphant note. McCarthy, the state’s winningest scholastic head coach, announced back in August this would be his final year coaching.
“They were all fired up clearly,” Shea said. “They did a great job, they are very tough up front.”
Little ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run to stake the Westies to an early 7-0 edge just 1:36 into the game.
An interception by Connor Bercik set up the game-tying score for Prep. After Bercik picked off Tim McCarthy and returned the ball to the West Haven 5, Gibson scored from there to tie the game.
Nathaniel Vereen, A.J. Manosolillo, Anthony Palazzolo, Conor Roche, Aedan Ayer and tight end Liam Robertson provided the blocking, while Hank Healy booted the first of two successful PATs.
Smith then hit sophomore tight end Bobby Haskins for a 9-yard touchdown to give Prep a 14-7 lead with 8:38 remaining in the first half.
Sebastian got West Haven within a point following an 80-yard scoring run to start the third quarter, but Palazzolo blocked the PAT.
Prep marched down to the West Haven 26 on its ensuing driving, but Smith lost a fumble that Sebastian recovered.
The teams traded empty possessions from there, before Sebastian’s 17-yard touchdown on the next drive gave West Haven the lead for good.
Smith completed 15 of 28 passes for 126 yards and carried eight times for 45 yards.
Tailback Joseph Ganim carried 14 times for 70 yards and Gibson had eight carries for 31 yards.
John Dellisanti hauled in six receptions for 41 yards.
Defensively for Prep, Logan Clair notched a game-high 11 tackles, while John Carroll added eight takedowns. Nick Franchuk tallied seven tackles, including two for a loss, and Miller had a sack.

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