Greenwich football stuns West Haven in final minute, win 22-21

Greenwich High's Austin Longi takes the ball down the field during Thursday night's game against West Haven High School. — Avery Belicka photo

Greenwich High’s Austin Longi takes the ball down the field during Thursday night’s game against West Haven High School. — Avery Belicka photo

The outcome was worth the wait for the Greenwich High School football game.

After severe weather forced the postponement of Big Red’s game against West Haven High School, both squads were back at it earlier today to finish off what they started.

Although the Westies were leading 13-7 at the end of the day on Thursday, it was Greenwich that came up with the huge plays down the stretch and ended an absolutely thrilling game Sunday with the 22-21 victory.

“This is one of the best wins that I’ve ever experienced,” Greenwich High head coach Rich Albonizio said. “They were bigger, faster and stronger than us. But our kids just showed so much resiliency and belief in each other. We have talent, but you don’t always have to have the best talent to win a game. That was one amazing game.”

Trailing by six when the game resumed, it didn’t take long for the Cardinals to grab the momentum. West Haven started Sunday with the ball on the Greenwich 18 and had the ball on the Greenwich 7 looking for a field goal. Instead, the GHS defense came p with the massive block.

Greenwich’s Austin Longi realized that the ball was live, scooped it up on the Greenwich 12, danced away from several West Haven players and bolted 88 yards down the GHS sideline for the touchdown. It took only 1:59  for Greenwich to go from trailing by six to leading by one, 14-13.

“That was big,” Albonizio said. “Thank God Austin was smart enough to realize it was a live ball.”

“I originally didn’t know that the ball was behind the line and it was my fault that I was unaware,” Longi said. “I picked up, saw a lot of wide open grass and did what I had to do. Once I was at the 40, I knew I had it.”

Once again Longi struck again when it mattered most. West Haven found the end zone just as the third quarter ended and ran out of their own end zone for a safety, making the score 21-16 with 2:24 to play giving GHS the ball back with no timeouts.

GHS quarterback Jose Melo connected with Longi down the middle of the field on a second down and seven at the West Haven 22. Although it appeared Longi found the end zone, he ended up being inches short. However, two plays later, Longi took the handoff up the middle for the 1-yard touchdown with 31.5 seconds to play.

“I had a so-so first half, so we came back out today and I knew I had to make the big plays,” Longi said. “I was definitely due. I made the big catch and should have made it in the first time, but I made it in the second time.”

With the victory, Greenwich improved to 1-0 on the season. West Haven fell to 0-1. To read much more on the game, including more quotes from players and coaches, check out Thursday’s Greenwich Post.

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