It wasn’t pretty at the start, but the Greenwich High School football team stepped things up in the second half and came away with the 35-14 victory over Fairfield Ludlowe High School Friday night at Taft Field.
“We still started slow,” Greenwich High School head coach John Marinelli said. “It was 14-0 at the first half. We missed a couple of opportunities. We turned the ball over. We miscommunicated on a snap that ended a drive. We played much better in the second half and we feel pretty good building off what we did last week. It’s definitely nice to come in here and take care of business.”
Greenwich, which held a slim 14-0 halftime lead, exploded out of the gates in the second half, having big plays from two of its senior leaders. Scooter Harrington was all over the field on both sides of the ball, netting a touchdown and a key interception.
“We definitely had a great game today,” Harrington said. “Luke played great. Ben Kraninger on defense was solid, Connor Langan had a pick six, so it was a total team effort today. I am really happy with the way our team played. It was a great win. We have been working on some things the whole week, trying to diversify our offense a little bit, and I really like how things looked. We have installed a lot more stuff from the past two weeks and it worked out well tonight.”
Beinstock was his usual force with the pigskin, plowing over the Fairfield Ludlowe defense and turning small gains into big plays, including two touchdowns with one being of the 17-yard variety.
“Coming out from New Canaan, we wanted to bring the fire and we didn’t have that in the first half,” Beinstock said. “So going into the locker room we had a conversation and said that we knew we had to do better. Obviously we did that. I felt great today. The line was completely opening stuff up and our game plan was great.”
Greenwich had a chance to make a statement early. On its first drive, Beinstock picked up a 33-yard reception, followed by a 32-yard run up the middle. However a Greenwich fumble on the next play stopped the drive on the Ludlowe 11.
After the Falcons went three-and-out on its first drive, Greenwich was moving again, this time keyed by a Kevin Iobbi 15-yard run. However Big Red’s drive stalled on fourth down.
It appeared that Ludlowe would strike first, as Javion Beasley darted 61 yards for the touchdown run with 6:05 to play in the quarter. However a holding penalty erased the score and the Falcons punted two plays later.
Big Red took advantage of Fairfield’s mistake and scored on its next possession.
On an 11-play drive that was highlighted by a 11-yard and 10-yard catch from quarterback Frankie Alfano to Scooter Harrington, Beinstock got the ball and busted up the middle 17 yards for the touchdown with 29 seconds left in the quarter.
Big Red kept the good times rolling on Fairfield Ludlowe’s next possession, as Harrington jumped in front of the pass and snagged the interception. Again Greenwich capitalized on the Falcon’s mistake, as the Cards found the end zone again with 5:03 to play in the half. On a fourth down and 1 at the Ludlowe 18, Alfano handed the ball of to Kevin Iobbi, who bullied his way up the middle, broke free of the Ludlowe defense and ran untouched the rest of the way for the 14-0 lead.
Once again Fairfield stubbed its toe in the first half. After Will Parisi intercepted Alfano, the Falcon got the ball with time winding down in the half. A 70-yard play later and Ludlowe appeared as it was back in business and were looking to cut the lead to 14-7. However another penalty erased the big play and again Fairfield was forced to punt.
In the second half, Greenwich took control of the contest, finding the end zone and extending the lead to 21-0 on a two-yard Beinstock touchdown run. However it was his previous run in that drive that stole the show. On third down and four, it seemed like Beinstock took the handoff and had just enough for the first down. But he kept on moving forward, somehow broke free from the Ludlowe defenders attempting to tackle him and sprinted down the Ludlowe sideline 70 yards.
After Ludlowe punted on its next possession, Greenwich had the ball on the Ludlowe 14 to start the drive. All Alfano needed was one play, as he stepped back and floated the ball to Harrington, who out-leaped three Ludlowe defenders around him in the back corner of the end zone and grabbed the 14-yard touchdown reception.
“Scooter had a great game tonight and last week as well,” Marinelli said. “On both sides of the ball tonight it really showed up. It’s a tribute to the senior captains and the leadership they have. They are leading by example right now.”
Greenwich added its last points of the game to start the final frame. On the first play of fourth, Connor Langan was all alone at the middle of the field for the interception. He then sprinted down the Fairfield Ludlowe sideline 45 yards for the pick six and gave Big Red the 35-0 lead.
“Every game is a playoff game for us now, so we are trying to win by as much as we can,” Beinstock said. “We really want to try and get in to the state playoff.”
With the victory, Greenwich improved to 3-3 on the season.
“We know what this run is,” Marinelli said. “We dubbed it ‘playoff run.’ We don’t control our own destiny any more, but to have a fighting chance we have to take care of business. We have to clean up some things. The turnovers in the first half inside the 5-yard line and some of that stuff. We’re starting to play team football. We started it last week and it rolled over to this week. We are doing some good things, but we need to go 1-0 after every week. We’re not thinking about the playoffs, but for us, the next four games, including this one, we are thinking of them as playoffs.”
While it won’t be easy for Big Red to enter the state tournament this season, they are still focusing like they do each week, which is making sure they’re prepared for the next game. On Friday night, Greenwich returns home to battle a tough Norwalk High School team at 7 p.m.
“We just need to focus on the next game,” Harrington said. “Right now we need to try and go 1-0 every week. We have a lot of tough opponents to play, so it’s all about having a great week of practice and preparing.”