By MIKE SYPHER
Chronicle Sports Editor
JEWETT CITY â€” The Windham High football team dressed just 24 players for Friday nightâ€™s Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III game against Griswold, but you donâ€™t measure a teamâ€™s collective heart merely by counting jersey numbers.
Windham (2-6 overall, 1-2 Division III) used a suffocating defensive effort and sprinkled in enough big plays on offense to stun host Griswold (6-3, 0-2) by a 28-24 margin.
Junior fullback Natanael Barbosa Torres rushed for 130 yards on 31 carries, including two touchdown runs. Sophomore Jovany Almodover added a 40-yard score in the third quarter and also returned one of Windhamâ€™s three interceptions for a touchdown.
The Whips limited the Wolverines to just 174 yards of total offense and won the time of possession battle, 28:01 to 19:59.
Leading by a 16-8 margin coming out of the halftime break Almodover (11 carries, 90 yards) staked his Whips to a 2-touchdown lead by racing up the right sideline for a 40-yard touchdown run on fourth and five.
Griswold immediately countered as Bryce Mileski took back the ensuing kickoff 75 yards down to Windhamâ€™s nine. Two plays later, Mileski darted into the end zone from six yards out and added the 2-point conversion run to bring his Wolverines within 22-16.
The Whips then ate up 6:33 off the clock on a 12-play, 42-yard drive spanning the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth. Barbosa Torres capped the drive with a 2-yard TD run on fourth and goal with 6:26 remaining.
Griswold quarterback Andrew Koziol hooked up with wideout Davaughn Luty on a 26-yard catch and run TD to make it a 28-24 game with 3:37 to go.
The Whips punted the ball away on their next possession but recovered a fumble on the return and ate up all but 41.8 seconds of the clock before denying the Wolverines on their final desparation drive.
Defense dominated throughout a first half as both teams battled the frigid, breezy conditions.
Windham jumped out an 8-0 lead with 6:04 left in the first quarter when Barbosa Torres burst through the middle of Griswoldâ€™s defensive line and outraced the secondary for a 43-yard touchdown on a fourth and six play.
Barbosa Torres added the 2-point run for the early advantage.
Griswold took advantage of a short field to knot matters at 8-all on the first play of the second quarter.
The Wolverines needed just five plays to march 29 yards with running back Mileski covering the final seven for a touchdown.
Mileski added the 2-point run to even up things on the scoreboard.
Windhamâ€™s defense then took over the final 11:54 of the second quarter.
The Whips picked off Koziol three times in the quarter.
The first of two interceptions by Almodover went for a pick-6 as the sophomore defensive back read a screen play perfectly and took his pick 12 yards for a touchdown with 2:55 left in the first half.
Almodover added the 2-point run for a 16-8 lead that the Whips took into the halftime break.
Windham limited the Wolverines to just 61 yards on 16 carries and 78 yards of offensive overall.