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Waterford outlasts Bacon 42-35

By Ned Griffen

Publication: The Day

Published September 29. 2013 4:00AM
Dana Jensen/ The Day
Waterford's Donny Craig comes down with a key 26-yard pass reception late in the first half of Saturday's game against Bacon Academy in Colchester. The catch helped set up a touchdown that tied the game at 21-21 and the Lancers went on to beat the Bobcats 42-35.

Colchester - The game was just 44 seconds old and Waterford High School was already down a touchdown.

The Lancers, however, remained calm.

Bacon Academy scored quickly on its next possession, an 83-yard pass play that gave the Bobcats a 14-point lead.

Still, the Lancers remained calm.

Waterford kept its composure and battled back into a game that turned into something played with a joystick. Chase Speller's 8-yard touchdown run with two minutes, 1 second left gave the Lancers their first win, 42-35, in the Eastern Connecticut Conference Medium Division on Saturday.

"We let them get a few big plays, but we didn't let the game get away from us," Lancers senior Joe Gustafson said. "We knew that we had worked hard this week at practice and could persevere and win this game."

Waterford trailed 14-0 with over four minutes left in the first quarter. Bacon also led 21-7 with seconds left in the period.

"We fumbled the snap twice," Lancers coach Mike Ellis said. "We quick-kicked it, and there's two seniors back there, and (Seth) Hoagland kicked it right into Gustafson's back. And we're able to overcome it because (the kids), they're like, 'it's done.' We play to the next play, and we were able to do it today."

Seth Hoagland completed 14 of 21 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Waterford (1-2, 1-1). He also ran 22 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

"This feels great because the first game was just a blowout (41-13 to Platt)," Hoagland said. "You can't do anything about those. The second game (a 28-21 loss to Killingly) was the same thing as this game. It came down to the final seconds. Luckily this time we were on the on side that won."

Donny Craig had seven catches for 97 yards and a touchdown for the Lancers. Griffen Archambault added three catches for 104 yards and a score.

Nate Kozlowski completed 17 of 32 passes for 353 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions for the Bobcats (0-3, 0-2). Ryan Duclos had seven catches for 219 yards and two touchdowns.

Hoagland engineered a six-play, 96-yard touchdown drive late in the first half to tie the game, 21-21. Craig made an amazing acrobatic 26-yard catch on the drive.

"I love the kid," Hoagland said. "I don't know how he catches half the balls he does. … 'How? How do you do that?'"

Josh Perry's sack resulted in Gustafson scoring on an 11-yard interception, giving Waterford a 35-28 lead with over six minutes left in the game.

Bacon tied it over a minute later on Kozlowski's 34-yard touchdown pass to Duclos.

Speller scored the game-winner on the Lancers' next drive, and Gustafson's second interception ended Bacon's final drive.

"They found a way to win," Ellis said, "and that was big."

n.griffen@theday.com

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