Greenwich football downed by West Haven in opener, 35-22

Greenwich High School's Austin Longi takes the handoff from quarterback Matt Marzulla during the first quarter of Friday night's game against West Haven High School. — Paul Silverfarb photo

Greenwich High School’s Austin Longi takes the handoff from quarterback Matt Marzulla during the first quarter of Friday night’s game against West Haven High School. — Paul Silverfarb photo

The Greenwich High School football team found themselves trailing after the first play from scrimmage and were never able to recover.

West Haven High School came out strong, grabbed a 21-6 lead and cruised for the 35-22 victory last night at Ken Strong Stadium.

“We didn’t play with a lot of emotion early on,” Greenwich High head coach Rich Albonizio said. “We had fumbles and penalties. We fell behind and, to be honest with you, they were better coached than we were. They ran the wing-T and the sweep. They don’t do anything fancy to fool you. Our quarterback was getting hit on every play and they were much more prepared than we were.”

Despite the four turnovers and a two failed fourth down attempts, one just four yards away from the end zone, Big Red was still only trailing 28-20 early in the third quarter.

Keeping Greenwich within striking distance was senior Austin Longi, who finished with 172 yards, two touchdowns and added an interception. Senior quarterback Matt Marzulla ended the day 11-for-22 for 209 yards.

“Personally I have to play better football,” Marzulla said. “It’s really tough, but we have a really good team and I’m confident we can turn this around. I think we can win out, but we are going to need a little help. Our offense doesn’t want to lose and we put up a big fight, but we came up a little short tonight.”

Trailing 21-6 early in the second quarter, Greenwich was able to battle back, courtesy of its defense. Facing a fourth down and four, the Westies were ready to punt, however a blocked punt gave Big Red the ball in great field position.

Starting at the Greenwich 49, Austin ran all three plays on the drive, including a 39-yard run. He capped the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-12 with 5:17 to play in the half.

Although West Haven found the end zone with 2:37 to play in the half, Greenwich stormed back to start the second half. Using a eight play drive, the Cards picked up the touchdown when Ryan Pasquali scored from one-yard out. Pasquali five out of the eight plays, while Longi highlighted the drive with a 29-yard run up the middle.

A Longi two-point conversion made the score 28-20 with 9:23 to play in the third, but that’s as close as Big Red got.

From the start, West Haven was in control. After the opening kickoff, quarterback Timothy McCarthy threw a 61-yard bullet to Zatrell Lyons for the touchdown and quick 7-0 lead. On its next possession, McCarthy took it himself and scored on the one-yard keeper for the 14-0 lead with 4:10 to play in the opening quarter.

“We did a lot of crazy things and had some opening day nonsense, but we played hard and made the big plays on defense,” West Haven head coach Ed McCarthy said. “Offensively I think we are going to be good. Our backs are really good. They are young and we have three sophomores in the backfield, but they are good backs.”

Marshont Little paced West Haven with 19 carries and 110 yards, while Brendon Sebastian added 65 yards and two touchdowns.

To read much more on the game, check out Thursday’s Greenwich Post.

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