MERIDEN — Fueled by quarterback Ethan Nedinsky’s five touchdown passes, Maloney routed Conard 38-7 at Falcon Field on Friday night for its eighth football win of the season.
The CCC Tier 1 victory completed Maloney’s spotless 7-0 run to the division title and kept the Spartans on track for a quarterfinal home game in the playoffs. They stand No. 4 in Class L (and No. 2 in the state polls).
Nedinsky’s completed 15 of 25 passes for 200 yards. His five TD passes tied the program record shared by several of his predecessors.
“It was a really good win,” Nedinsky said, then added, “There are still things that we need to work on.”
Head coach Kevin Frederick agreed the team played well, but that areas of improvement remain, such as special teams.
“It wasn’t the clean game that we wanted to play,” Frederick said. “Our defense did their job and held up.”
The Maloney defense pitched a shutout for three quarters. The Spartans forced Conard sophomore quarterback Brady Cersosimo to throw an interception in the first quarter and the Red Wolves (1-8) were never able to move the ball until early in the fourth.
The interception was made by safety Jesus Martell and it set up Maloney’s first score, a rushing touchdown by Donte Kelly for 22 yards with 43 seconds left in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Nedinsky threw three TD passes as the Spartans built a 25-0 lead by the break.
Two went to Martell. The first was a toe-tap 11-yarder that capped a 7-play, 67-yard drive.
The second Martell touchdown made the lead 19-0. It was a 26-yarder, Nedinsky’s second-longest pass in the half.
Martell, who finished with five catches for 94 yards, said he wanted to help bring energy to the team, especially on Senior Night.
“I just come out and do what I do for my team,” Martell said. “When I get the ball, I make plays.”
Nedinsky threw a third touchdown pass as time expired in the first half, this one from 8 yards out to Marquis Ward, to push the lead to 25-0.
In the third quarter, Martell scored a third touchdown, taking a shovel pass as he crossed in front of Nedinsky and taking it 29 yards to the end zone.
Conard fumbled the ball on the ensuing kickoff. Maloney recovered in enemy territory and Nedinsky threw a 4-yard touchdown to Kelly (6-98 receiving) to extend the lead to 38-0.
Conard scored its only touchdown in the first 10 seconds of the fourth quarter when Cersosimo hit wide receiver J.J. Richardson for 26 yards.
With the 31-point victory, the Spartans advance to face rival Platt, also 8-1, also a 7-0 division champ (CCC Tier 3), on Thanksgiving. They won’t be taking it easy in practice.
“I don’t think we were solid execution-wise on offense,” Frederick said. “Our goal is to keep improving day to day.”