Stopping its opponent’s running game was not an easy task for the Weston High varsity football team when it traveled to New Fairfield last week.
New Fairfield’s Joe Pacheco was a handful in particular. The senior tailback rushed for 238 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to a 42-21 win on Friday, Oct. 19.
It was Weston’s first loss of the season.
“It’s a lesson learned, and hopefully we learn from it,” said Weston head coach Joe Lato. “There is a bigger picture out there, we just want our kids to be thankful for what they have and love the ones around them. They are great kids. I love them.”
It did not take too much time for the visitors to score. On the second play from scrimmage quarterback Tyler Hassett found Justin Schaffer for a 53-yard touchdown pass. Zach Cannon kicked the extra point, making it 7-0 just 46 seconds into the game.
The Rebels drove the ball on their first possession, making it down to the Trojans 12 yard line. A sack by Alex Crowell on third down drove the hosts back a few yards, forcing them to turn the ball over on downs. The Trojans had little luck on this series and eventually had to punt.
The Rebels got the ball on Trojan 42 yard line, and on the first play Pacheco went on a 42-yard jaunt into the end zone. Kicker Anthony Dagastino made the point after and the game was tied at 7-7 with 4:27 left in the first quarter.
The Rebels scored again at the start of the second quarter, aided by quarterback Joey Hicks, who ran the ball to the Trojan 32. He then scored from two-yards out. The extra point was blocked, score was 13-7 with 10:30 left in the first half.
A personal foul called against New Fairfield helped the Trojans on their next series. Hassett then connected with Cannon for a 25-yard strike and with Cannon kicking the extra point it was 14-13 with 7:05 left in the first half.
After that score the Rebels outscored the Trojans 28-7, starting with another touchdown by Pacheco with 4:32 left in the first half. The two-point conversion worked and it was 21-14.
“Pacheco is a great running back,” said Lato. “He’s the probably the best back in the league. He is very quick, he breaks tackles, he does it all.”
The second half began with some punting back and forth until Pacheco scored again on a 35 yard run making the score 28-14 with the extra point. He scored again for the fourth and final time in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard run with 11:42 left in the game. This was a drive that started in Trojan territory after the Rebels hit Hassett from behind which led to a strip sack fumble.
Hassett drove the Trojans down the field on their next series and scored on a one-yard keeper with 8:02 remaining to make it 35-21 with Cannon’s extra point. Although Weston could not recover the onside kick, it did get the ball back with 6:03 left but did not convert on a fourth and 10 situation.
The Rebels scored with 4:41 left in the game when Nick Guardi scored from 33 yards out.
Near the end of the game Erik Dammen-Brower replaced Hassett, who suffered a groin injury prior to this switch.
“I try to enjoy every moment with Tyler, he’s special, special kid,” said Lato. “He gets whacked around and he keeps getting up and fighting, that last drive he was just like ‘Coach don’t call any spread outs I can’t run.’ He did everything flat footed, what a heart he has, I’m taken back by that.”
Hassett completed 18 passes for 227 yards. Schaffer caught 11 of them for 143. Defensively, Sam Panton had eight tackles with Cannon, Crowell (two sacks) and Tom McGlone each getting six.
Weston, now 5-1, hosts Stratford on Saturday at 1 p.m. for homecoming.