Stonington routs Griswold/Wheeler for first win in 1,058 days

·3 min read

Sep. 18—GRISWOLD — There were smiles, laughter and cheers from the Stonington football team Friday night for the first time in a long while after one of its games.

The Bears hadn't won a game in 1,058 days. They were winless in 2019. Head coach A.J. Massengale was certain they'd be good in 2020 with 23 seniors but the season was canceled due to a pandemic.

Stonington smashed its 14-game losing streak at the expense of the Griswold/Wheeler co-op. Nine different players scored in a 60-0 win in an Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III game.

"Tonight, it's a feeling like no other," said Bears senior Lucian Tedeschi, who played on the 2019 team. "Everyone was doubting us the past three years, rightfully so. We hadn't won a game in three years. Just nothing but happiness (right now)."

Stonington (1-1, 1-0) scored on all eight of its possessions and rolled up 420 yards. The Bears did it with Tedeschi, a running back, playing at quarterback after starter Dorian White was knocked out of their Week 1 loss to Fitch.

Junior Will French also scored on a 54-yard punt return for Stonington.

"It's great," Massengale said. "We wanted to come out and play a good game. ... We got a lot of kids involved. It was good."

Stonington's last win was 42-28 over Waterford on Oct. 26, 2018.

It was another rough night for the Wolverines (0-2, 0-1) who started the season with 31 players, many of them freshman and sophomores, and have since dealt with injuries. Freshman starting quarterback Luke Cassidy was knocked out of last Friday's loss to Ledyard and didn't play against Stonington.

Bears junior Brady Mullen got way behind the Griswold/Wheeler defense on third-and-8 from their own 38 and took a long pass from Tedeschi 58 yards down to the Wolverines' 4.

Junior Ben Massengale scored two plays later on a 1-yard run. Junior Joshua Mooney's extra point gave Stonington a 7-0 lead with 7 minutes, 49 seconds left in the first quarter.

French's 18-yard run set up a 1-yard touchdown run by himself to put the Bears ahead, 14-0, with 3:47 left in the quarter.

Tedeschi scrambled for a 13-yard gain on Stonington's next drive to give it first-and-goal at the Wolverines 3. Junior Aidan Schrage followed with a touchdown run as the Bears increased their lead to 21-0 with 11:26 left in the first half.

Stonington started its fourth drive at the Griswold/Wheeler 29-yard line after an errant punt. The Bears were called for a penalty on first down, but two plays later, Junior Josiah Blackman caught a pass across the middle from Tedeschi and took it for a 32-yard touchdown. Mooney's extra point pushed Stonington's lead to 28-0 with 8:17 remaining in the second quarter.

The Bears stopped Griswold/Wheeler on fourth-and-2 from their own 47. Tedeschi scampered down the Stonington sideline and scored a 29-yard touchdown with .29.5 seconds left in the first half to extend his team's lead to 34-0.

The Bears scored in two plays on its first possession of the second half. Mooney took a screen pass from Tedeschi for a 59-yard touchdown to make it 41-0 Stonington.

Senior Matt Castagiluolo ran for a 53-yard touchdown on the third play of Stonington's next drive as it went ahead 49-0.

French scored on a punt return early in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Ethan Mahoney ran for a 32-yard touchdown with over three minutes remaining.

"Just relief," Tedeschi said about the win. "I can't wait for the remainder of the season. We're really going to prove a lot of people wrong."

n.griffen@theday.com

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