Notre Dame-Fairfield upends Ledyard
Updated 10:11 pm, Saturday, September 30, 2017
FAIRFIELD — Nothing good is supposed to happen when a team loses its starting quarterback in the first half. So, it was no surprise that Notre Dame of Fairfield coach Chris Sadler appeared rather irate when his signal-caller Micah Brantley was ejected midway through the second quarter Saturday.
Sadler still wasn’t real happy about it after the game. But following his team’s 47-21 victory over Ledyard, thanks to backup Kyle Pavone and workhorse running back Ziair Williams, the loss of Brantley was tolerable.
“We stuck together,” Sadler said. “We had to switch quarterbacks in the middle of the game, but it didn’t hurt us.”
Brantley was ejected for leading with his head on a tackle while playing defense, a call Sadler considered questionable.
“He didn’t lead with his head,” the coach claimed. “I know it’s a judgement call, a split-second call, but it was tough to swallow.”
The Lancers (3-1) were leading 20-7 at the time, but Ledyard (1-4) scored eight plays later making it a one-score game.
However, with Pavone filling in nicely — 7 for 10 for 156 yards, two touchdowns — and Williams running with abandon, the Lancers ended up just fine.
“Pavone is a senior and very capable,” Sadler said. “He understands football. It did limit the playbook a little, but we were OK.”
While Pavone filled in admirably, Williams rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.
“It was hard losing (Brantley) but we kept on fighting,” Williams said. “We had to run the ball more and this was my best game ever. I have to give a shout-out to the offensive line.”
Sadler was pleased with his top running back, save for two carries.
“Besides the two fumbles,” Sadler said, “Ziair ran hard and showed patience when needed. He had an excellent game.”
Ledyard quarterback Jacob Sylvia, meanwhile, threw for 322 yards and three touchdowns, but it failed to impress his coach.
“Passing yards are just passing yards when you don’t win,” Ledyard coach Jonathan Hernandez said. “I saw some good out there, but there was a lot of bad.”
Williams ran for two first-quarter touchdowns after Brantley and John Tracey hooked up for a 27-yard TD to open the scoring. Sylvia tossed a 65-yard pass to James Smith and, after Brantley left, Sylvia found Stanley Green for a 60-yarder cutting ND’s lead to 20-13.
But ND’s Zach Maiden-Fountain returned a kickoff 75 yards and Pavone and Tracey connected from 36 yards making it 33-13 at halftime.
In the second half Pavone hit Tracey again from 52 yards before Sylvia and Smith connected from 74 yards. Williams closed it out with a 15-yard run.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
He did have two second-half fumbles but Ziair Williams carried the ball 28 times for 237 yards and scored three touchdowns.
“We’re not good enough to have 14 penalties and three turnovers and still be able to compete against SWC teams,” — Notre Dame coach Chris Sadler, who would not ignore the negative side of Saturday’s victory.
NO QUARTERBACK? NO PROBLEM
ND’s starting QB Micah Brantley was ejected for leading with his head while playing defense in the second quarter. But backup Kyle Pavone came in and was 7 for 10 for 156 yards and two touchdowns.
NOTRE DAME FAIRFIELD 47, LEDYARD 21
LEDYARD 7 6 0 8 21
NOTRE DAME 20 13 7 7 47
ND — John Tracey, 27 pass from Micah Brantley (kick blocked)
ND — Ziair Williams, 7 run (pass failed)
L — James Smith, 65 pass from Jacob Sylvia (Jaiden Bickham, kick)
ND — Williams, 53 run (Kyle Pavone pass from Brantley)
L — Stanley Green, 60 pass from Sylvia (kick failed)
ND — Zach Maiden-Fountain, 75 kickoff return (kick failed)
ND — Tracey, 36 pass from Pavone (Gianni Frango kick)
ND — Tracey, 52 pass from Pavone (Frango kick)
L — Smith, 74 pass from Sylvia (EJ Ahlborn pass from Sylvia)
ND — Williams, 15 run (Frango kick)
Records: L 1-4, ND 3-1