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Guilford (2-4) vs. Law (3-4): A Dominating Shutout
Kavanaugh Turf Field, Guilford, CT
Sunday November 4, 2012 4:00 PM
            It was a cold fall afternoon for the Guilford Indians’ game against the Jonathan Law Lawmen. Even with the game rescheduled to Sunday because of Hurricane Sandy, the Indians were ready to play as if nothing had happened. The Indians had worked hard in practice and were ready to come out and make a statement on both sides of the ball. Even with the Lawmen’s starting quarterback, Timmy Maher, out of the game, the Lawmen had power on offense which could be a threat to the Indian’s defense. Head Coach Tom Unger’s believes “defense wins games.” And the Indians were ready to play on defense and offense as well. The team had proved themselves against Branford but everyone wanted to add a third win to the season with a convincing victory against the Lawmen.
            The Indians won the coin toss and received the ball. After the kickoff, they were able to get good starting field position on their own 39 yard line. Eric Zergiebel came out ready to make a statement and followed up a 5 yard run with a 6 yard run to get the Indians’ first 1st down of the game. Sophomore Antonio Pensa was able to gain 7 yards on his first run. Zergiebel was unable to gain anything on 2nd down and three to go. Duke Knapp made a long 33 yard run but it was called back on a holding penalty on the Indians. After a 2 yard run by Zergiebel, Joe Nault made a 10 yard run for the Indians first down. On the very next play, Nault completed a 34 yard pass to Knapp for the Indians first touchdown of the game. It was the first Indians passing touchdown of the season. With a good kick, the Indians led 7-0 with 8:48 left in the first quarter.
            The Lawmen were able to start at the Indians’ 30 yard line after the kickoff, but the Indians’ strong defense was able to shut them down. Running back Daron Britt rushed for 3 yards on the first play of the game for the Lawmen. Britt was able to add 2 more yards on his next play. Quarterback Giovanni Marzullo kept the ball and ran for 4 yards on 3rd and 5 but only gained 4 yards and the Indians’ defense was able to turn a three and out on their first possession.
            The Indians started their next possession facing a first and 15 after a false start penalty on their first play. Knapp was able to gain 4 of those yards back but a motion penalty backed the Indians up another five. Zergiebel was able to gain 2 yards before Pensa was able to gain 13 more. Zergiebel added 3 more to get the 1st down. Knapp was able to add another huge 37 yard run to put the Indians up even more. Nault was unable to get the extra point so the score was 13-7 with 4:43 to go.
            The Lawmen tried to get things going on their second possession of the game. Marzullo was able to gain a first down on the first play of the drive after a 10 yard run. Britt added 5 more yards but a motion penalty backed them up 5 yards. Marzullo was able to scramble back to the line of scrimmage on his next play. He then threw and incomplete pass on 3rd and 10 and the Lawmen punted for a second time.
            After the punt, the Indians started their drive on their own 34 yard line. Nault ran 3 yards on the first play of the drive. Knapp added 5 more yards and on the next play Pensa added 13 yards to get the first down. Knapp got another quick first down with a 13 yard run but a chop block on the next play backed up the Indians 15 yards. Zergiebel gained 6 back but the Indians lost 5 more yards on an illegal shift. After a sac that lost the Indians 10 yard and an incomplete pass the Indians punted on 3rd and 32 for the first time in the game as time expired in the first quarter.
            The Lawmen started their drive on the Indians’ 20 yard line after Nault kicked a touchback. Britt made two runs but was only able to gain 4 yards. After Danny Ziebell lost two yards on his first attempt in the game, the Lawmen punted again.
            The Indians got great starting field position after the punt on the Lawmen’s 23 yard line. Knapp got a quick first down after a 12 yard run and gained 8 more on his next. An illegal shift backed up the Indians 5 yards but Knapp was able to rush for 6 on the next play. Zergiebel made a 1 yard run but was able to run for 3 on the next play to score a touchdown. After a good extra point, the score was 20-0 with 7:29 left in the half.
            The Indian’s defense continued its domination on the next Lawmen possession. They only allowed Marzullo to gain 2 yards and then they forced Ziebell to lose 2. After an incomplete pass, The Lawmen were punting again. They were forced to re kick the punt after they committed a 5 yard motion penalty.
            The Indians were quick to score again. Zergiebel gained and then lost 3 yards on his first two runs of the drive. Then Nault completed a 35 yard pass to Tyler Nelson for a touchdown. With a good extra point, the game was 27-0 with 4:59 to go in the half. The Indians’ handed another 3 and out to the law men after two unsuccessful runs by Ziebell and an incomplete pass by Marzullo.
            The Indians’ next possession was quicker than their previous. After a 5 yard run by Zergiebel and a false start that cost them 5 yards, Nault made a pass to Knapp for 28 yards and a touchdown. After the extra point was added, the score was 34-0 with 2:37 to go in the second half. On the other side of the ball, the defense was still dominant. They only allowed Ziebell to gain 2 yards before they forced the Lawmen to punt on 3rd and 8.
            On the Indians’ next possession, Nault gained 3 yards and Zergiebel added runs of 3 and then 6 to get a first down. After an illegal shift penalty that cost the team 5 yards, they fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Laws’ Alex Boyd. The Lawmen took a knee to end the half.
            As the Indians went into the locker room at halftime, they had all the momentum they needed. They had dominated on both sides of the ball especially defense. The Indians were ready to make their record 3-4 to get to their goal of a winning season. Coach Unger believes that, “every game is a step” This game is just another one of the small steps to the Indian’s goal of having a winning season. They just had 12 more short minutes to go until this would be a success.
            The Lawmen received the ball after the half. They tried to get the momentum in their favor with a quick 1st down after Nick Kosa was able to run 11 yards. Marzullo was able to gain 5 more on the next play. After Timmy Speer was only able to gain a yard, the Lawmen were rewarded with 5 yards on the next play after a motion penalty on the defense. They also gained a first down. Ziebell gained 3 more yards and Kosa was able to gain another 6. Marzullo scrambled for 3 yards to gain the 1st down. Ryan Siddall was able to gain 3 yards on first down but Britt was dragged down in the backfield for a loss of 6. After an incomplete pass, the Lawmen decided to go for the 1st down on 3rd and 14. The pass to Kosa was short and the Indians took over on downs.
            Nault was able to gain a 1st down on the Indians’ first drive of the half after a 24 yard run. Zergiebel was able to gain another first down after he made a 6, a 3, and a 1 yard run. On Zergiebel’s next rush attempt he fumbled the ball and Chris Bellegarde of Law was able to recover it.
            On Law’s next possession, Marzullo’s 8 yard run and Ziebell’s 3 yard run were able to get the Lawmen a first down. After a 1 yard run by Marzullo, the Lawmen fumbled the ball on their next play and the Indians’ Ford Linell was able to scoop and score the ball after a 35 yard run. After Nault added the extra point, the Indians were up 41-0 with 3:24 left in the third. On the kickoff, the Lawmen fumbled the ball and it was recovered by freshman Nathan Tepley. Nault and Zergiebel were able to make a it a 3rd and 3 situation but a personal foul backed up the Indians 15 yards. Then Pensa was able to make a 14 yard run. After that, Pensa was able to make a 9 yard run into the end zone for another Indians’ touchdown. With a good extra point, the Indians were up 48-0 with 0:30 left in the quarter.
            As the Lawmen started the first drive of the fourth quarter, they were immediately pushed back 10 yards for holding. Then sophomore Jake Lundberg was able to make an interception for the Indians. With the 50 point rule in place, the Indians freshman quarterback, Jack Jankura, took knees on their next drive and the Lawmen took over on downs. After the Lawmen took over on their 15 yard line, they were able to drive the ball to 34 before they fumbled the ball again. The fumble was recovered by sophomore Matt Eckman of the Indians.
            With the Indians still unable to score, they drove the ball a short distance down the field and took a delay of game penalty. The Indians then fumbled the ball which was recovered by the Lawmen. They Lawmen were able to make a short drive down the field but then time expired in the game.
            The 50 point rule (which was mentioned above) is a rule that was put in place to manage the score of high school football games. According to the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC)’s rules:
            At the conclusion of any regular season games between CIAC member schools at any level of play or league or state tournament games, if a team wins by a differential of more than 50 points, the principals of both the winning and losing teams and the referee/head official that officiated the game shall submit a report to the CIAC Football Committee attesting as to whether the winning team’s head coach did or did not follow established score management protocols for good sportsmanship in the game. *
            The rules go on to state that unless appealed properly and ruled that a coach did enforce proper score management, the head coach will be disqualified from the next match. This is why the Indians were unable to score on their next possessions after leading 48-0 in the third quarter. It is a controversial rule that has been wanted to be reevaluated by many high school teams. Personally, I feel as though the rule is like telling a team to play ‘soft’ just because the other team is losing and that the rule is absurd. Although sportsmanship is important, a game is a game there will always be a winner and a loser no matter what. Coach Unger takes the same stance but has a different perspective on it, “What I don’t like is when player safety becomes an issue. When I have to put in younger players, they’re up against much larger players on the other team.”  Although this rule has some good intention behind it, it causes a team to play not play to their full ability and causes young players to be put in harms way just so they game is so called “fair”.
* Taken from CIAC’s rules on http://www.casciac.org