The final drive of the night would be the most important one for the Weston High varsity football team in its game at Pomperaug.
With his team trailing by a point quarterback Tyler Hassett threw a 10-yard pass to Thomas McGlone for the touchdown that helped lift the Trojans to a 22-21 victory on Friday, Sept. 28.
The win was also Weston’s first over this opponent since 1990.
“He made some big throws,” said Weston head coach Joe Lato. “It is so fitting to find Thomas McGlone, a kid who busts his butt for four years and gets that big touchdown. There are so many things that happened tonight that are so special.”
The first quarter was a fast one. The Panthers held onto the ball for a little more than half of the period and failed to make a field goal when Eric Beatty’s kick bounced off the cross bar.
The highlight of the quarter was Hassett’s interception of a Panther pass, his second pick-off in as many games, but the game remained scoreless.
That changed once the second quarter got underway. The Trojans found the end zone first, as Hassett had a 14-yard jaunt for a touchdown just 50 seconds into the frame. He had to attempt the extra point since kicker Zach Cannon was out with a shoulder injury, and missed, making the score 6-0.
But Hassett came up big again on the next Pomperaug possession, batting a pass on third down, which forced the hosts to punt.
Weston got the ball on its own 30 and again scored, set up in part by Justin Schaffer’s 21-yard reception on first down. A few plays later, including a 20-yard run to the Panthers’ 15, Hassett ran for his second touchdown on a seven-yard run with 5:59 remaining and Weston converted a two-point conversion on a pass to Schaffer for a 14-0 lead.
Both teams would exchange punts. Hassett made another play on Pomperaug’s last drive by breaking up yet another pass. Schaffer blocked a field goal attempt by Weston as the half ended.
Weston fumbled at the start of the second half but the Panthers could not capitalize on the opportunity. The Trojans got the ball back, but two holding calls against them stalled the drive.
The Panthers would not be denied on their next series and found the end zone on a touchdown pass from Eric Beatty to Steve Croce. with the extra point the lead was cut in half to 14-7.
The Panthers also scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull ahead 21-14. One was a six-yard run by running back Dylan McAllister and then the other was a seven-yard burst by fullback John Yule with 7:14 left in the game.
The go ahead score was aided by a failed fourth down attempt from Weston at their own 30.
“The kids picked me up,” said Weston head coach Joe Lato after the game. “If I had to do it again, I would have punted. We talk about family, but we practice it too.”
Weston got the ball back on a Hassett kickoff return to the Panthers’ 46 and had a lot of time left. One of the big plays of the drive was a third and seven pass to Schaffer for 23 yards.
Reaching the Panther 10, Hassett hit a wide open McGlone, who scored his first touchdown of his four-year high school career. The Trojans decided to go for two-points for the win, and they did just that, Hassett again found Schaffer for the conversion with 4:48 left in the game.
“We were desperate to get the momentum back, and that kick return got things back for us,” said Lato.
Weston stopped the Panthers twice, the last time coming with 1:15 left in the game.
“I’m so proud of our kids,” said Lato. “We were missing people and we had a short week, and we don’t make excuses, we just say we will find a way and we did. This is really sweet because Pomperaug is a storied program, and I don’t care what their record is they are always going to be good.”
Weston, now 3-0, hosts Immaculate on Saturday at 2 p.m.