Lonesome Polecat (SE Conn variant): Versatile Tedeschi filling in at QB
Stonington senior Lucian Tedeschi never played quarterback until this season. He’s been a running back and cornerback.
Tedeschi was forced to become the starting quarterback when starter Dorian White was knocked out of the Bears’ season-opening loss to Fitch on Sept. 10. Having to play that position wasn’t his biggest concern, though.
“(He asked) ‘I’m still going to play defense, right?’,” Stonington head coach A.J. Massengale said after Friday’s game against Griswold/Stonington. “I was like, ‘I don’t know. We’ll see, we’ll see.’ He loves playing defense. He didn’t play defense today.”
Tedeschi had an efficient night to help the Bears rout the Wolverines, 60-0, snapping a 14-game losing streak. He ran seven times for 65 yards and a touchdown and completed 3-of-4 passes for 149 yards, including touchdowns to junior Josiah Blackman (32 yards) and classmate Joshua Mooney (59).
Stonington's last win was on Oct. 26, 2018 when it beat Waterford, 42-28.
“It’s weird,” Tedeschi said about playing quarterback. “It’s a lot of pressure. I’m just glad I could take a ‘W’ for the boys.”
Massengale said that the offense didn’t change too much to accommodate Tedeschi. The Bears have traditionally played the double wing with the quarterback under center. They had him line up in the shotgun and take direct snaps.
“We did more Wildcat-type things where I can roll out,” Tedeschi said. “If there weren’t any options (to throw), I could just run the ball, which I like. I did like that.”
Massengale said, “We had done a little bit of it (with Tedeschi) through the preseason practices. It wasn’t like a start-from-zero thing (for him). Our other quarterbacks are young. … We had to start building more depth at that position.
“He did a great job (tonight). He’s as smart kid. Athletic. (A) versatile kid.”
Massengale said there’s no timetable for White to return.
“He’s sore,” Massengale said. “We want to make sure he’s fully healthy to play. We don’t want to rush him back.”
The last time Stonington scored 60-or-more was when it beat Putnam, 65-26, on Oct. 16, 2009 (hat tip to Day Sports kingpin Chuck Banning for that research).
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New London evened the Eastern Connecticut Conference/Southern Connecticut Conference score for the season with a 13-6 win over Guilford on Friday night.
The two leagues, part of the state’s scheduling alliance, are 1-1 this season following Xavier’s win over Norwich Free Academy in week one.
“Always nice to beat those guys in that league, isn’t it?” New London coach Johnny Burns said.
Burns and the Whalers did it with a hard-hitting defense that held Guilford to under 200 total yards. The Whalers are experienced in the secondary with seniors Mustafa Dannett and Herbie Bonneau (who had an interception) but less so at linebacker and on the defensive line. Still, sophomore linemen Kyle Parkes and Jefferson Bernedeau had quarterback sacks.
“We have some guys that are green. I mean green,” Burns said. “But very coachable.”
New London senior Lio Griffin Hill also forced Guilford into longer offensive drives, averaging 43 yards per punt. Burns singled out Griffin Hill during the postgame state of the union with his team.
New London, which wore all back uniforms for the first time (with green and gold trim) plays Fitch on Friday night in a game streamed live on GameDay.
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East Lyme senior quarterback Will Anglin last played the position on the freshman team. He then switched to receiver for a couple seasons after head coach Rudy Bagos witnessed his capability at that position in physical education class.
"In PE class, I saw that he had good hands and was able to adjust to the ball," Bagos said. "He is very athletic, and I saw that he could help us out on the varsity field right away."
When the quarterback position was up in the air headed into this season, however, Anglin asked to give it a shot, Bagos said.
Anglin, at 6-foot, 180 pounds, has made the most of his new role.
He was 13-for-18 for 203 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings' Week One win over Montville (41-18) and in last Friday's 42-14 loss to Killingly he was 18-for-33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Rowan Mundell caught eight passes for 101 yards and Ethan Gillespie had four catches for 101 yards.
"I like that he's a leader first and foremost," Bagos said. "He can also make a lot of things happen on busted plays or plays very well defended. Throws very well on the run and, for the most part, makes good decisions."
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Massengale knows what it's like getting thrashed by an opponent and did what he could to not pile on Griswold/Wheeler, which is dealing with a low turnout (31 players), injuries and lots of young and inexperienced players.
Stonington still scored three second-half touchdowns in just seven plays. Mooney took a screen pass from Tedeschi for a 59-yard touchdown. Senior Matt Castagliuolo ran for a 53-yard touchdown. Sophomore Ethan Mahoney also scored on a 32-yard run.
Will French also returned a punt for a 54-yard touchdown in that half.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had that kind of situation,” Massengale said. “You definitely don’t want to do anything to embarrass the other team or embarrass yourself.”
Massengale had his team spike the ball after Mahoney’s touchdown rather than kick the extra point to make it 61-0.
“The conversion, that’s like, ‘what are we doing here?’ I don’t know,” Massengale said. “It’s a no-win situation but you also want your kids to play hard when they’re out there. We had our young kids in there at the end, even in the third quarter, so we just tried to manage it.
“We talked before the game (with Griswold head coach Gregg Wilcox) about if that’s the direction (the game) goes in, we’ll do everything we can.”
The Bears had nine players score and finished with 420 yards of offense. Their defense allowed just one first down.
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East Lyme pulled to within 27-14 on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Anglin to Gillespie with 3:12 left in the third quarter, then got the ball back at the Killingly 32 on the next possession as the Killingly punter was ruled down before he kicked the ball.
The Vikings got the ball to the Killingly 15 on fourth-and-8, but, even down two touchdowns, Bagos decided to try to kick a field goal.
The field goal was blocked by Killingly's Terrance Allen and returned for a touchdown by Trevin Russ.
"They're so good defensively. I was just trying to get some points for us," Bagos said.
Bagos said, with the heat and humidity, East Lyme had players "dropping like flies" toward the end of the game. He thought the kick was the safe bet to gain some momentum.
"I was throwing kids in there and making up plays as we go," Bagos said. "I wanted to get some points and Cannon (Dean is) a good kicker. The first down would have been tough."
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Thanks to fellow TEAMDAY~! members Mike DiMauro (New London-Guilford) and Vickie Fulkerson (East Lyme-Killingly) for their contributions to this here article.
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Thanks for reading. More soon.
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We planned to cover last Saturday's Wilton-New Canaan game, too, but life got in the way.