APPLE VALLEY CLASSIC: Cheshire 2021, game by game

Game 1 (Sept. 10): Cheshire 26, Notre Dame-WH 20 (OT)

Christian Russo scored his second touchdown of the night on the first play of overtime in a return to action for the Rams at Alumni Field. Russo led all area running backs on opening night with 182 yards on 82 carries. Linebacker Lucas Riccitelli recovered a Notre Dame fumble on its first OT possession to set up Russo’s game-winner.

Game 2 (Sept. 17): Cheshire 28, North Haven 0

The Rams got two more rushing touchdowns from Christian Russo, including a 63-yarder, and a pair of long aerial scoring strikes — one by Matt Jeffrey to E.J. Quint, the other from Mike Simeone to Dan Zawalich — in ringing up the SCC Tier I victory in North Haven. The game was sloppy, yet the Rams prevailed by extending a 7-0 halftime lead with three scores after the break.

Game 3 (Sept. 24): Cheshire 42, Staples 14

In a rematch of the 2009 Class LL state final, the Rams made it two straight over the Wreckers, blowing up an early 7-7 tie with three unanswered touchdowns before halftime. Christian Russo ran for 250 yards and two TDs. Michael Simeone and Kevin D’Errico also rushed for first-half TDs. Connor Moran ran for the two scores after the break. The defense was highlighted by E.J. Quint’s two interceptions, including one at the goal line.

Game 4 (Oct. 1): Norwalk 25, Cheshire 15

The Rams were leading this Alliance matchup in Norwalk between unbeaten teams 15-12 until the host Bears hit for a 58-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-18 pass play with just over three minutes to play. Norwalk iced the win with a pick-six on the next play from scrimmage. The Rams played without Christian Russo. Kevin D’Errico rushed for a TD and Mike Simeone connected with E.J. Quint on a TD pass.

Game 5 (Oct. 15): Xavier 21, Cheshire 20

After Cheshire led much of the way, Xavier surged ahead 21-14 late in the fourth quarter only to see Cheshire freshman Tristan Washington return the ensuing kickoff 83 yards. A missed extra-point, however, kept the advantage with the Falcons. Christian Russo returned from injury and broke free for a 62-yard touchdown, but later exited the game with another injury.

Game 6 (Oct. 22): Newtown 34, Cheshire 13

The defending Class LL state champs built a 20-0 halftime lead in an Alliance matchup at Blue & Gold Stadium to hand the Rams their third straight defeat after a 3-0 start. Cheshire, playing without Christian Russo, got on the board via a pair of 3-yard TD runs by Michael Simeone and Jeffery Gonzalez.

Game 7 (Oct. 29): Cheshire 32, NFA 0

The Rams snapped out of their three-game slide with the Alliance shutout of the Wildcats in Cheshire. E.J. Quint had a night with an interception and two touchdown receptions from Michael Simeone. Adjusting to life without Chrisian Russo, running backs Charles Kurtz and Jeffery Gonzalez combined for more than 100 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.

Game 8 (Nov. 5): West Haven 21, Cheshire 14

A night that opened triumphantly with Christian Russo and Matt Jeffery returning to action ended in heartbreak as the Blue Devils stopped Jeffery a yard shy of the end zone on the game’s final play to hold on for the SCC crossover win at Ken Strong Stadium. The Rams had driven from their own 15 in the final 1:27. Earlier, Jeffery ran for a 9-yard score and threw a 46-yard TD to Danny Zawalich.

Game 9 (Nov. 12): Shelton 13, Cheshire 0

After emotional pre-game Senior Night ceremonies at Alumni Field, the Rams could not dent the Shelton defense, mustering just 145 yards in the SCC Tier 1 defeat. Cheshire’s defense was stout. The game’s lone touchdown came on a diving catch in the end zone by Shelton tight end Jeff Wojowicz. Christiano Rosa added two field goals for the Gaels.

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