Lippincott leads Yellowjackets over HK, 28-21
WINSTED — When a team is trying to separate itself from the middle of the pack and shoot for the upper echelons of that league, certain games mean more than others.
The Gilbert/Northwestern Yellowjackets football team took a step towards the top of the Pequot Uncas Division with an impressive 28-21 win over Haddam-Killingworth at Van Why Field on a warm Saturday afternoon.
No one from the Gilbert sideline could remember a time when the ’Jackets actually beat the Cougars, so make it that much bigger a deal.
Facing H-K was almost like facing another local rival, the Housatonic Mountaineers.
The Cougars run the double-wing on offense — take out the quarterback and you have the single wing.
Gilbert head coach Scott Salius knew his team needed to get out to a fast start in order to negate the time consuming ground game H-K brings to the field.
“We figured if we got up on them early, they would have a tough time coming back,” Salius said, “They are not made to play from behind.”
GN is led by senior quarterback Bobby Lippincott who understood much is expected of this team in 2010, something they are not accustomed to and it showed early.
“We have heard all the hype going into this season,” Lippincott said, “It took us a while to get the jitters out.”
On his first offensive series after the Yellowjackets defense forced a punt, Lippincott lost three yards on his first carry of the season, threw an incomplete pass and was picked off over the next two plays.
His defense stepped up again and turned the Cougars over on downs at the home team’s 33, setting up the first scoring drive of the game.
It was the ‘Jackets who decided to pound the ball down the field and behind some strong running from Devon Molway (28 yards) and a energized Lippincott (an 18-yard run that was helped at the end by a Cougars face mask penalty), as the home team jumped out to a 6-0 lead when Lippincott scored from a yard out.
Add the extra point (one of four) by J.P. Dulac and goal one had been accomplished by taking the lead early.
The GN defense continued to beat on the Cougars and forced a fumble on their next possession, which was recovered by Jim Schmitz at midfield.
While the offense would not take advantage of that gift, they would score again after a fumble recovery by Ryan Eseppi at the H-K 42.
The Cougars appeared to have stopped the drive after three plays, but committed a costly foul on fourth and one when they were called for pass interference in the end zone.
The drive continued from the Cougar 19, and on the next play Molway raced around the right side and weaved his way to a score.
After going to halftime up 14-0, the Yellowjackets didn’t rest on their lead and put together their own time consuming drive. The nine play, 65-yard effort was culminated by a Jones one-yard push to make it a 21-0 game, midway through the third quarter.
Not to be outdone, the Cougars took the same approach when they got the ball on their own 16-yard line. Fourteen plays (all runs) and 84 yards later, the visitors were on the board when Ben Belliveau went in from a yard out.
The GN defense had been on the field a long time and the H-K sideline asked their defense to put them right back out on the field with a fast stop.
It was a critical spot in the game; the momentum had begun to sway away from the home team and the Cougars were starting to feel their oats.
As they have done many a time in the past, the ’Jackets turned to their senior quarterback for leadership, and Lippincott did not disappoint.
A 31-yard run around the right side and down the sideline put the home team in business and two plays into the fourth quarter, Drew McCarthy went in from two yards out for a 28-6 lead.
Even though the Cougars made it interesting with two late scores, the last one coming with just 13 seconds left, the questions had been answered about whether this team could beat a team traditionally above them in the standings.
“We are 1-0,” Salius said, “We are on top in our division. Let’s stay there.”
Sounds like a good formula.