The fact that it had quite a task ahead of it might not have put the Weston High football team in the proper mindset when it visited Masuk last week.
The Trojans knew they were in for a battle against the undefeated, defending South-West Conference champs. Their expectations were confirmed early in a 49-0 loss in a battle of division leaders on Friday, Nov. 16, at Benedict Field.
The win not only came on Masuk’s Senior Night, it clinched it a spot in the South-West Conference title game at Newtown.
It was only the second loss of the season for the Trojans, who are now 7-2 overall.
“We were playing the name first before the players,” said Weston head coach Joe Lato. “That was a good, old-fashioned whooping.”
Weston made some noise early when it sacked Panther quarterback Brandon Charney on first down. The hosts then got in gear, starting with a 31-yard completion from Charney to Tom Milone. The series was capped off by a 34-yard pass to Andy Freeden for the touchdown and with Chris Rubis nailing the first of his seven extra-point kick the Panthers were on their way.
The Panthers’defense then went to work, recovering a fumble on Weston’s first series to put them in good shape at the 16 yard line. Frank Bacarella scored from the nine and it was 14-0 less than three minutes into the action.
Weston had to punt on its next possession and the Panthers took over on their own 26. On first down Charney threw a short pass to Milone, who then dodged would-be tacklers for a 74-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead.
With the kickoff going out of bounds, Weston started on its own 35. An illegal use of the hands call against Masuk gave the Trojans a first down and a 12-yard completion from Tyler Hassett to Justin Schaffer sustained the drive but it stalled on the Masuk 44 as the hosts took over on downs at the end of the first quarter.
On first down Bacarella swept down the right side, getting as far as the Weston three before getting forced out of bounds. The senior found the end zone on the next play and it was 28-0 with 11:28 left in the half.
The Trojans went three and out on their next series and the Panthers embarked on another scoring drive, this one starting on their own 48 and ending with an eight-yard run by Bacarella with 8:30 to go.
Masuk got the ball back once more before the half when a Weston punt went out of bounds on its own 24. Two plays later Milone found the end zone from four yards out and it was 42-0 with less than five minutes to go.
Although Weston had to punt once more it got the ball back when Jimmy Brasco recovered a fumble on the Masuk 42, setting up its best scoring chance. Hassett completed several passes, getting the Trojans a first down on the one with four seconds left, but was stopped at the goal line as time expired.
Taking the second-half kickoff, the Trojans got into Masuk territory before the Panthers took over on downs on their own 46. After a 34-yard gain by Milone, Mark Dellapiano handled the ball carrying duties and ended the drive with a three-yard run with 6:16 left in the third quarter.
With its starters now on the bench Masuk simply concentrated on holding the Trojans at bay. Kyle Squibb recovered on fumble on the Weston 16 but the Panthers eventually turned the ball over on downs as the third quarter came to a close.
When Weston eventually punted again the Panthers were careful to remain out of the end zone lest they violate the CIAC’s 50-point rule. After reaching the Weston six Panthers simply took a knee on four straight downs until the Trojans took over and time eventually expired.
Weston had only 155 total rushing yards. Hassett led with 62 and freshman J.T. DeLara had 60.
Defensively, Schaffer and Aaron Pomerance each had three tackles for Weston.
The Trojans finish the regular season on Thursday in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at Joel Barlow at 10 a.m. A win will put them in good shape for a spot in the state Class M playoffs.