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Whips hold off late rally

By MIKE SYPHER

Chronicle Sports Editor

JEWETT CITY — The Windham High football team dressed just 24 players for Friday night’s Eastern Connecticut Conference Division III game against Griswold, but you don’t measure a team’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 Windham’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 Windham’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 Griswold’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.

Windham’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.

 

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