A scoreless first quarter wasn't quite what Weston had in mind before it took the field Saturday, but a few tweaks to the game plan alleviated any concerns.
Weston's triple-option offense ultimately kicked into high gear as quarterback Tyler Hassett accounted for five touchdowns in the Trojans' season-opening 46-18 win over Notre Dame-Fairfield.
Hassett capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to put Weston ahead 13-6
and heated up from there. The senior three-year starter racked up over 200 total yards (12-of-18, 165 yards passing, 45 yards rushing) on the afternoon, most of which came after a relatively nondescript start.
"It was just feeling out their defense, seeing what their safeties were doing as well as their defensive line," Hassett said. "At the beginning of the second quarter we kind of took off."
Weston drove 58 yards on just three plays--the final an 18-yard scoring strike from Hassett to tight end Eric Dammen-Brower--right before halftime to go up 20-6, and the duo connected again for a 6-yard touchdown pass on the second drive of the third quarter.
Notre Dame-Fairfield's defense, which showed some resistance in the opening quarter, had no answers.
"They were just playing a little different look that we weren't ready for. They were rolling their coverage and creating numbers and doing some good things like that," Weston head coach Joe Lato said. "Give them credit. They did a little rope-a-dope to us."
The Lancers turned in some big plays on offense with scoring runs of 62 yards from running back Marcus Fulton and 64 yards from quarterback Glody Tumba, but also committed four turnovers. The first of those--a muffed punt on their own 23-yard line--led to Hassett's first touchdown run just 2:43 before halftime. Tumba tossed two interceptions, one to outside linebacker Zach Cannon and another to defensive lineman Blake Wertlieb.
"I really think that our guys fought hard. I really thought that we really tried the whole time," first-year head coach Dawon Dicks said. "I just really think it got to a point where we made a mistake, we make another mistake and it puts us in the hole a little bit.
"I tip my hat off to Weston."
Despite seeing Weston generate those turnovers, Lato said that his team must improve on defense.
"They were pushing us around a little bit," Lato said. "We had some missed tackles. ... The kids got it together but we've got to elevate our game on defense."
Weston had three turnovers of its own on the afternoon, but none proved pivotal with a sizable cushion on the scoreboard. Wide receiver Justin Schaffer hauled in a 21-yard touchdown pass to put the Trojans ahead 34-12 with 7:19 left in the third and Hassett added a 6-yard scoring run on the next drive.
The Trojans also got an 8-yard touchdown run from Cannon and a 1-yard scoring run from Aaron Pomerance.
Notre Dame-Fairfield went just 1-9 last fall, but Dicks said he saw progress from his young team today.
"As everyone knows we do have some young guys, but they are no longer the same young guys as they were before this game started," he said.
WESTON 46, NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 18
NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 0 6 6 6--18
WESTON 0 20 20 6--46
W--Zach Cannon 8 run (Kick failed)
ND--Hakim Fleming 2 run (2-point attempt failed)
W--Tyler Hassett 1 run (Cannon kick)
W--Erik Dammen-Brower 18 pass from Hassett (Cannon kick)
W--Dammen-Brower 6 pass from Hassett (Cannon kick)
ND--Marcus Fulton 62 run (2-point attempt failed)
W--Justin Schaffer 21 pass from Hassett (Cannon kick)
W--Hassett 6 run (Kick failed)
W--Aaron Pomerance 1 run (Kick failed)
ND--Glody Tumba 64 run (2-point attempt failed)
Records: ND-Fairfield 0-1, 0-1; Weston 1-0, 1-0.