New Fairfield rolls past ND-Fairfield in season opener
Published 7:15 pm, Saturday, September 13, 2014
FAIRFIELD -- Young teams are going to give up big plays. And Notre Dame-Fairfield did. Young teams are going to commit costly penalties. And the Lancers did. Young teams are going to make critical mistakes. And the Lancers did.
It's all part of the growing process.
That's what coach Ted Boynton's team did Saturday afternoon in a 49-7 blowout loss to New Fairfield at McCarthy Field. Notre Dame was guilty of three turnovers, including two interceptions, 11 penalties (six in the first quarter alone) and gave up four touchdown plays of 27 yards or longer as the Rebels raced to a 21-point first-quarter lead and never looked back.
"We've got a lot of new players that are playing together for the first time," Boynton said. "We just have to gel. If we correct the mistakes, we're going to have more success. It's a work in progress. These kids have a great will and their will's never going to be broken."
That was evident in the second half that as the Lancers, despite trailing by 35 points (42-7), kept fighting to the final horn, only allowing New Fairfield one second-half touchdown.
The Rebels needed just three plays to take the lead as quarterback Mike Zanka -- who was 11 of 16 for 142 yards and three TDs -- found Greg Radovic open for a 49-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 after Anthony D'Agostino made the first of his seven extra points. The Lancers gave the ball right back on their first play following the kickoff as Shea Olayos was intercepted at the Notre Dame 23. Three plays later it was 14-0 as Zanka connected with Zach Tripoldi on a 10-yard TD pass.
A bad snap on a Notre Dame punt attempt on its next possession gave New Fairfield solid field position at the Lancers' 35 and when James Lewis (95 yards rushing) raced into the end zone from 27 yards out with 3:50 left in the first quarter, it was 21-0. But Notre Dame got on the board when Olayos found T.J. McMillian with a pass and the junior receiver went 85 yards for the touchdown with 10:37 left in the half to make it 21-7.
But then, the Rebels exploded. Zanka and Radovic connected for a 20-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-7 and took advantage of a young team, surprising the Lancers with an on-sides kick. A 32-yard strike to Radovic put the ball at the ND 5-yard line and Lewis scored on the next play, making it 35-7 with 1:18 to play in the half.
"We knew with the weather that we wanted to get on the scoreboard early," said New Fairfield coach Anthony Fata. "That's why we were putting it in the air and once the rains came and it got sloppy, we thought we could surprise them. That definitely was a turning point in the game."
Especially when Olayos was picked on the very next play and linebacker Reed Oettinger returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown just 17 seconds after the previous Rebels TD.
"It took the wind out of our sails," Boynton said. "We made some mistakes today ¦ but it's no reflection on their talent. We're just going to have to go back to the drawing board and work on the things that we need to correct."
Olayos completed 11 passes for 167 yards and running back Hakim Fleming rushed for 49 yards in six carries to lead Notre Dame.
NEW FAIRFIELD 21 21 0 7--49
NOTRE DAME-FAIRFIELD 0 7 0 0--7
NF--Greg Radovic, 49 pass Mike Zanka (Anthony D'Agostino kick)
NF --Zach Tripoli, 10 pass Zanka (D'Agostino kick)
NF--James Lewis, 27 run (D'Agostino kick)
ND--T.J. McMillian, 85 pass Shea Olayos (Ryan Celini kick)
NF --Radovic, 20 pass Zanka (D'Agostino kick)
NF--Lewis, 5 run (D'Agostino kick)
NF--Reed Oettinger, 30 interception return (D'Agostino kick)
NF--Michael Clark, 5 run (D'Agostino kick)
Records: New Fairfield 1-0, Notre Dame-Fairfield 0-1