FOOTBALL: Ecstacy to agony in a heartbeat for Cheshire 



CHESHIRE —Delirium turned into disappointment Friday night at Alumni Field.

Again and again and again.

After Cheshire’s Tristan Washington returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown with 3½ minutes to play, Dylan Vazquez missed the point-after, leaving Cheshire a point short in a 21-20 SCC Tier I loss to Xavier.

Cheshire had one last chance to win after Xavier quarterback Drew Kron fumbled with 1:48 to play and Kevin D’Errico recovered at the Xavier 39.

Cheshire quarterback Michael Simeone converted a fourth-and-1 at the 29 with 1:06 to play, but the Rams saw their comeback hopes end when E.J. Quint was intercepted on a throwback trick play with 44 seconds to play.

“This one stings; it hurts,” said Cheshire coach Don Drust. “Yeah, that’s a hard one.

“I don’t know what to say,” the head coach added. “We will have to watch and digest things. It’s a tough SCC football game. Xavier is a good team.”

Penalties looked like they would just delay the inevitable Friday night.

Xavier, hurt by multiple mistakes at the end of the first half, scored the winning TD on a 10-yard run by D.J. Wright with 3:42 left in the game.

Cheshire was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty prior to the Falcons’ winning score.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Xavier pulled even 14-14 with 7:51 to play on a 10-yard TD pass from Kron to Max Wojtusik.

The loss was Cheshire’s second straight and dropped the Rams to 3-2. Xavier improved to 3-2.

The loss spoiled the return of senior running back Christian Russo, who ran for 148 yards and a touchdown.

His night, however, ended as it did in a win over Staples three weeks ago. Russo was helped off the field late in the game Friday with an apparent ankle injury.

Russo missed Cheshire’s loss two weeks ago at Norwalk after running for 610 yards and six touchdowns in the Rams’ three wins to open the season.

On his first two carries Friday night, Russo ran for 50 of his 130 yards. He then gave the Rams a 14-7 lead with a 62-yard scamper with 6:16 left in the half.

Russo appeared stopped at the line on his TD run, but he broke a pair of tackles and out-ran another Xavier defender down the sideline.

While Xavier wore its visiting white uniforms and the Rams were in their home red, the game was dominated by yellow — as in penalty flags that flew all over the turf.

The game dragged along in a scoreless third quarter as penalties by both teams stunted drives. Even an inadvertent whistle nullified what would have been Russo’s second touchdown — a 32-yard catch-and-run down the sideline.

Russo’s score was called back when an official blew his whistle thinking Russo had stepped out of bounds on the play.

On defense, containing Kron proved to be a problem for Cheshire all night.

The Xavier quarterback ran for 115 yards and one TD and passed for nearly 200 yards and the game-tying score to Wojtusik.

Penalties, however, kept hurting Xavier as it tried to tie the game in the second quarter. A Wright run to the Cheshire 1-yard line was wiped out by a holding penalty on a drive that ended at the Rams’ 23 on downs with 1:47 to play in the half.

The Falcons then had a Kron touchdown pass erased with an illegal motion penalty with 26 seconds to play in the half. The costly mistake came after Kron showed off his big right arm with a 44-yard pass to the Cheshire 11.

Xavier, however, missed a 26-yard field goal with six seconds to play in the half and Cheshire took a 14-7 lead into halftime.

Cheshire got on the board right after Xavier took a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game. Kron capped the 10-play drive with a one-yard run.

Cheshire responded on the very next play from scrimmage. Simeone hit a wide-open Quint on the sideline and the senior raced 70 yards untouched. 

The teams ended the first quarter tied 7-7.



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