Stonington - End zone sprinklers came on midway through the third quarter, briefly delaying Friday night's game.
Stonington took the surprising development in stride.
The Bears already were well on the way to washing away the bitter taste of last week's disappointing defeat to Fitch. A combination of improved effort and execution propelled them to a 48-0 rout of Woodstock Academy.
In a dominating performance, Stonington cruised to a 34-0 halftime lead behind a potent running game and didn't allow a first down until the fourth quarter.
"From last week there were some unsettled feelings with our loss to Fitch," senior Jay Nieuwenhuis said. "Tonight, we came out with a fire and tenacity, and we executed on both sides of the ball."
Stonington (2-1) showed a renewed focus. The Bears improved in all areas, from tackling to sticking to assignments.
Good practice habits carried over to Friday's game.
"This was quite the week at practice," Stonington coach A.J. Massengale said. "We went through a lot of stuff. Coming off the game last week we were pretty disappointed with the way things went. We really grinded in practice this week.
"We worked on fundamentals all week, basic stuff, and keeping it simple. That's what we tried to come out and do in the first half."
Despite missing two primary running backs in Cory Candelet and Matt Mitchell, who both sat out with ankle injuries, the Bears rolled up roughly 345 rushing yards by using a variety of players in the backfield. Nieuwenhuis (81 yards, two TDs), junior Zach Poirier (82 yards, 1 TD) and junior Austin Myers (76 yards, 2 TDs) led a balanced attack.
Chances are the ball carriers faced more contact in practice in the days leading up to the game than from Woodstock (0-3), which left huge gaps in the field.
"They were getting to the second level clean, which is nice," Massengale said of his running backs.
The Bears scored on their first three possessions, easily moving the ball on the ground. Quarterback Divante White's 1-yard sneak capped an eight play, 70-yard scoring drive to open the game.
Then they marched 79 yards in 10 plays. Poirier broke into the clear down the left side and raced 22 yards for a touchdown. It was Nieuwenhuis's turn next, as he bolted untouched on a 35-yard scoring run for a 21-0 lead with 51 seconds left in the second quarter. He added an 11-yard touchdown run.
"He's doing great," Massengale said. "He does a lot for us."
White added a passing touchdown, hooking up with senior Kyle Woodworth for a 29-yard scoring strike for a 34-0 lead just before half.
Woodworth also helped spark a swarming defense, recovering two fumbles. Woodstock had negative yardage in the first half and only one play over four yards in the first three quarters.
With about nine minutes left in the game, quarterback Billy Harrington scrambled for nine yards for Woodstock's first first down.
Defensively, the Bears took better angles to the ball and paid more attention to detail, according to Massengale.
The convincing win improved Stonington's mood. Maybe now Nieuwenhuis and his teammates can shake off the Fitch loss.
"It was completely our fault," Nieuwenhuis said of last week's loss. "We didn't execute. We didn't play well. We didn't tackle. It's not what you've done. It's about what you do after you bounce back."