WALLINGFORD — Lyman Hall football coach Bill Weyrauch said after Friday night’s win at Foran that the game plan was to put the ball in the hands of his best players at the biggest times.
His top players came through, especially senior Shakespeare Rodriguez.
Rodriguez did it all for the Trojans in a 20-12 SCC Tier 3 win over the Lions. He scored all three touchdowns, picked off a pass and made a quarterback sack.
“In high school football, you want your best players to have the ball in their hands,” Weyrauch said. “That’s also been my philosophy. You can’t go wrong when you put the ball in Shakespeare’s hands.”
Rodriguez had touchdown catches of 79 and 73 yards, plus a 3-yard touchdown plunge. He finished the day with four grabs for 160 yards.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be 3-1 and there’s nothing else like it with a big road win in a great environment,” Rodriguez said before he and the Trojans left Milford on Friday night. “This win puts us in a better spot and we just want to keep rolling.”
Rodriguez made a leaping catch from S.P. Pragano and sprinted in for a 79-yard touchdown just 48 seconds into the game. Lyman Hall kept the pressure on when Luke O'Reardon pulled in a two-point conversion pass for an 8-0 lead.
O’Reardon was another of Pragano’s top targets, particuarly on third down. O’Reardon reeled in 11 balls for 81 yards.
Rodriguez showed his toughness on the ground, capping a 13-play drive with 3:35 left in the first quarter with his 3-yard TD plunge.
“The kid makes plays week in and week out,” Weyrauch said. “He’s just a great ballplayer and on game day he gives everything he has.”
Rodriguez caught a 73-yarder for a TD to start the third quarter as the Trojans went up 20-12 with what proved to be the final points.
“There’s no other feeling like catching a long touchdown with the crowd cheering,” Rodriguez said. “S.P. put those in perfect spots and the line did a great job. It was a nice domino effect how everything was put together to get those points.”
Rodriguez later had five carries on a 14-play drive that ate up clock and salted the game away for the Trojans. On the game, Rodriguez carried nine times for 25 yards and the touchdown.
“It was a game changer for sure,” Rodriguez said. “We wore them down. I had my guys picking me up. I don’t know what I would do without them, Jaiden Garcia and Luke O'Reardon.”
Pragano finished 15-for-23 with 241 yards, two touchdowns and a pick.
Rodriguez also added a sack and had one of three Lyman Hall interceptions in the second half. O'Reardon added a pick along with Jabari Robinson, who ended the game with an interception in the closing seconds.
“This is a great team win,” Rodriguez said. “We had high expectations for this year. If we don’t than no one else will. We just have to keep going and keep rolling.”
Sophomore Ryan Bannon (17 carries, 55 yards) filled in admirably off the bench after starting running back Christian Salaman (5 carries, 27 yards) went into concussion protocol.
Weyrauch said his team gave him everything on Friday night.
“I’m happy,” Weyrauch said. “I knew this was a good football team on the road. We got an ultimate effort from our kids to come out here and win this game. I asked then to give me everything they had tonight and that’s what they did. The individual efforts by Luke, Shakespeare and S.P. as well as the lineman were outstanding across the board.”
Weyrauch mentioned interior lineman James Dadio and center Jaiden Garcia by name as standouts. Behind them, the Trojans churned out 130 yards on the ground.
The Trojans go into their bye week with boosted confidence and will hit the road again on Oct. 18 at Guilford.