FOOTBALL: Cheshire surges past Shelton in top-10 showdown

FOOTBALL: Cheshire surges past Shelton in top-10 showdown


CHESHIRE— The Cheshire football team’s home opener Friday night was due to be a tough one to start the 2017 campaign with Shelton coming to town.

The state polls indicated it was a top-10 matchup. If so, Cheshire put a big feather in its cap with a 28-10 SCC Tier I victory at Alumni Field over a Shelton team that’s gone to the postseason three years in a row.

Quarterback Jack Raba threw a pair of touchdown passes to fellow senior veteran Michael Jeffery and junior running back Elijah Alston ran for two scores as the Rams erased a 10-7 halftime deficit with three unanswered TDs in the second half.

The Gaels grabbed the early lead on their very first drive, which ended with a 25-yard field goal from Nick Andrade.

Cheshire’s offense, led by senior Jack Raba under center, was stymied 3-and-out on its first shot.

The frustration would not last. With 2:59 left in the first quarter, Raba tossed fade ball 15 yards to the back right portion of the end zone that receiver Michael Jeffery was able to get under and make an athletic catch. Ethan Bronson’s extra point made it 7-3 Rams.

The exciting first quarter ended with the Gaels owning the ball on the Cheshire 5-yard line after an impressive 52-yard pass by quarterback Jake Roberts. Jack Carr punched the ball in from 4 yards out on the opening play of the second quarter to put Shelton up 10-7.

Cheshire had a chance to tie reared when Bronson attempted a field goal with 6:34 remaining in the second quarter. The 40-yard attempt certainly had the length, but missed a hair to the right.

That left the score at 10-7 at halftime.

Bronson tried his touch again midway through the third quarter, this time from 44 yards out. Again, it was off the mark.

Cheshire, though, got the momentum right back on an interception by Nick Quint. The turnover led to a 3-yard scoring run by Elijah Allston that put the Rams up 14-10 with 5:27 remaining in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was a showcase of the Cheshire defense. The Rams stood strong and tall. They also penetrated the offensive line for two sacks on a key drive around the eight-minute mark.

A roughing-the-kicker penalty at 6:15 in the fourth quarter allowed the Rams a second chance and Raba linked up with Jeffery again for a 26-yard touchdown pass.

The Cheshire defense kept going with the 21-10 lead, sacking Roberts and recovering a fumble on the Shelton 10. Allston finished it from 3 yards with 3:25 to go.

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