EAST HAVEN — Scoring 21 points in the first quarter while only allowing six has a way of setting the tone.
A huge first quarter for Lyman Hall on Wednesday night in East Haven did just that, launching the Trojans to a 42-12 SCC Tier 3 football victory over the Yellowjackets.
It’s a victory that assures Lyman Hall, now 6-3, of its first winning season since 2010.
It’s also a victory that keeps the Trojans in the running for their first postseason berth since that same 2010 season. Now No. 10 in the Class M rankings, LH will be looking at more than just ending a 10-year losing streak against Sheehan in the Carini Bowl on Thanksgiving morning.
“I'm proud of our entire program,” said Trojans coach C.J. Monroe, who took LH from 2-8 to 4-6 in his first season before breaking through the .500 barrier here in his second. “This is our first winning season in 12 years; tonight we clinched our sixth win. I’m extremely proud of the parents and players for buying in and showing that we can build a winner at Lyman Hall.”
On Wednesday night, the Trojans built a winner in the first 12 minutes. By the end of 48, running back Gavin Janowski and wide receiver Michael Fisher, both seniors, had scored three touchdowns apiece.
“We talked about making big-time plays and they did that all night,” Monroe said. “Offensively, this was definitely our most efficient game. The run game, the pass game, the screen game and all those phases we practice won, and to see it come out is great.”
Janowski continued his impressive season with a huge night. Looking like he was running downhill all game, Janowski finished with over 200 yards.
“Just a phenomenal season,” Monroe said. “He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark tonight, and that was with missing the first two games, too. So just really proud of him.”
The Trojans put a stop to the Yellowjackets’ opening drive and immediately went on the attack. Janowski started with a 39-yard run to put his team in the red zone.
A few plays later, Janowski capped off the opening drive with a 10-yard rushing touchdown. The first of six extra points by Johnathan Terrace gave the Trojans an early 7-0 lead.
On the following possession, the Yellowjackets stung back. Quarterback Alex Dombrowski took advantage of wide-open holes in the defense to produce two big plays — a 36-yard pass to wide receiver Dante Rodriguez and his own 39-yard rush to the LH 1-yard line.
Running back Rocco D’Amato followed with the touchdown run. However, the kick by Dombrowksi was no good, leaving the score 7-6.
On the first play of the Trojans’ next drive, Kadin DeWallace ran for a 56-yard touchdown, but it was called back on a holding call. Janowski picked up his teammate with a 56-yard touchdown run on the next play to make it 14-6.
“I wanted to set the tone and not let it get to our heads,” Janowski said. “I wanted to make a statement.”
Lyman Hall continued to make it rain with the big plays during the first quarter. Quarterback Ryan Casey connected with DeWallace for a 38-yard catch and run to set up the offense on East Haven’s 22-yard line. Casey then found Fisher in the back corner of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown to make it 21-6.
The Yellowjackets were down early, but certainly not out. Starting the second quarter, Dombrowski connected with Trev Kilson for a 59-yard touchdown. The two-point attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the score 21-12 in favor of the Trojans.
Quick to answer, Lyman Hall added one more score at the end of the half when Casey found Fisher all alone in the back of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 28-12.
Picking up where he left off in the first half, Janowski bounced off defenders, cut back sharply at the sideline and cruised 24 yards for another touchdown. Later in the quarter, Fisher added a rushing touchdown of his own from eight yards to make the score 42-12 heading into the fourth quarter.
“It’s awesome when we all score touchdowns because it builds team chemistry.” Janowski said.
The defense, meanwhile, had become a brick wall after the first quarter. A brick wall East Haven could not get past,
East Haven couldn’t muster anything more in the final quarter and Lyman Hall completed a commanding victory.