Football: Back to basics does the job

Joel Barlow High’s Steve Miller looks for room to run during a varsity football game against New Milford on Saturday, Oct. 27. Barlow won its homecoming game 48-21.—Kathy Hickling photo

It was not as if the Joel Barlow High varsity football team made any big adjustments in the second half of its game against New Milford.

Down eight points the Falcons simply held onto the ball and tackled better. It was enough to not only hold their opponent scoreless but also put 35 unanswered points on the board for a 48-21 win in their homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 27.

“We simplified at half time,” said Falcon head coach Rob Tynan, whose team remained unbeaten at 7-0. “We got back to basics and playing Barlow football. Next game we need to tackle better, and special teams was shaky, we need to improve on that.”

The Green Wave made progress early, converting on several third down situations on its first possession as it marched down field. A 16-yard run by Alex Kyprianou capped off a scoring drive just two minutes and 44 seconds into the game. Kicker Scott Eherts tacked on the extra point, making it 7-0.

Just a minute and 34 seconds later the Falcons answered with a score of their own. Alex Lockwood returned the kickoff to his own 45 yard line and quarterback Jack Shaban had a 21-yard jaunt before finding the end zone from 14 yards out. The extra point was missed and the Falcons cut the lead to 7-6 with 7:40 left in the first quarter.

Lockwood intercepted a Green Wave pass on fourth down to help set up the next Falcon score. Shaban again had another big run, this time a 25-yard scamper to get into Green Wave territory. Fullback Billy Wilson scored a rushing touchdown from three yards out, and kicker Scott Colby made the extra point, which brought the score to 13-7 with 1:55 left in the opening frame.

But Barlow had not heard the last from its opponent. The Green Wave scored twice in the second quarter and held the Falcons scoreless. Taking advantage of a Falcon fumble that was recovered by Anthony Muckerman, New Milford scored on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Connor Shanahan to wide receiver Matt Sheehy with 6:45 left in the first half and with the extra point the visitors were back in the lead.

Another Falcon fumble set up a 13-yard pass from Shanahan to wide receiver James Flynn, making the score 21-13 with 2:03 left in the half.

The rest of the game was all Joel Barlow as it outscored the Green Wave 35-0. Lockwood got things going with a 50-yard run and with Colby’s extra point the Falcons were within one again.

The next score was again by Lockwood. This time he ran it from 21 yards out with 5:15 left in the third quarter, the score 27-21.

The fourth quarter started with a five-yard pass from Shaban to receiver Ian Carman with 10:35 left in the game. This drive started in the third quarter and Shaban kept it alive when he ran for 15 yards on a fourth and one. Shaban found Carman for a 15-yard pass with 7:07 left making it 41-21.

Bryan Gallaer’s interception helped set up Barlow’s last touchdown, coming on a seven-yard run by Wilson with 3:20 left.

Shaban led Barlow with 186 yards rushing on 18 carries and one touchdown. He completed four of six passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

Lockwood had 107 yards on 10 carries, two touchdowns, and an interception. Wilson had 10 carries for 91 yards and two touchdowns. Carman caught two passes for 20 yards and two touchdowns.

Barlow visits Brookfield on Friday at 7 p.m.

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