MILFORD—The Stratford Red Devils were weary-legged as they walked out of the Vito DeVito Athletic Complex on Friday night.
Their hearts, however, beat strong and proud.
With their varsity roster numbers barely in the 20s, the Red Devils gave host Foran all it could handle, but in the end, were forced to walk by a scoreboard that summed up the game:
Lions 26, Red Devils 13.
“I thought the kids played hard again today,” Stratford coach Jack Petion said. “We’re a young team, so it’s good to see them fight week by week. This hurts a little bit from the standpoint that you want to see them succeed. They’re banged up and putting their bodies on the line. They played their hearts out.”
Sadly, for Stratford, in the fourth quarter, Foran’s depth proved to be the difference.
With the Lions leading 14-13, two fourth-quarter scores put the game away for the hosts.
“In a fourth-quarter battle, you get exhausted and the game wears on you a little bit,” Foran coach Tom Drew said. “We really wanted to run the ball and control the clock a bit there.”
After Foran scored late in the first half to take a 14-13 lead, Stratford had to kick-off to open the second half.
Kaleb Lafontant ended Foran’s ensuing drive, though, giving Stratford field position inside Lions’ territory.
Foran forced a 42-yard field goal from Stratford’s Nicholas Gonzalez, but it fell a yard short to keep the Lions in the league.
Stratford later missed a 39-yarder in the same quarter.
“If we were able to score again, any type of way, we would have been playing with the lead, which changes (Foran’s) game plan up a little bit,” Petion said. “If we could have changed momentum, we might have carried it out a different way.”
Foran’s Joe Capello scored two touchdowns in the game while Will Phelan and Teddy Mauro also added scores for the Lions, who improved to 2-1.
The Red Devils’ Javier Bedoya scored his team’s first touchdown, recovering a fumble in the end zone for six points.
Stratford’s Trey Lanham later scored on a 3-yard run in the second quarter, giving Stratford a 13-7 lead.
Two big pass plays at the end of the first half gave Foran a 14-13 lead at the break.
“They’re fast and they play tough,” Drew said of Stratford. “Unfortunately, they just don’t have the numbers and a lot of guys go two ways. That’s tough for any team.”
Once the game entered the fourth quarter, Foran took control.
“Toward the end of the fourth quarter, I’m not sure if their depth helped them, but our depth didn’t help us,” Petion said. “Foran did a good job sustaining drives. Hats off to them.”
“But, I love these kids and we’ll try to get better again next week,” the coach added.
Stratford hosts Weston next Friday at Penders Field.
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