Sep. 25—NEW LONDON — Anyone with even vague familiarity of local high school football knows Fitch coach Mike Ellis to be among the most affable souls in the history of this region. All of which made his reaction to Friday night's late victory on the neighboring rival's field — a scowl that could scare a mugger — worth a postgame question.
"I'm annoyed because we should have executed way better than that," Ellis said in the wake of Fitch's wild, 12-7 Eastern Connecticut Conference Division I victory over New London. "New London really didn't do anything we didn't prepare for. And we just didn't execute. But I'm glad we did at the end."
Indeed. The Falcons (2-0, 1-0) scored two touchdowns in the last seven minutes to rally from a 7-0 deficit.
"We had a great week of practice, but I saw in warmups how nervous they were," Ellis said. "We played a lot of young guys. We haven't won (at Cannamela Field) since 2012. But when the game was on the line, they stepped up."
New London broke a scoreless tie with 10:56 remaining when Josiah Williams scored from a yard out on fourth down. The Whalers' drive featured a fake punt on fourth down that resulted in Herbie Bonneau's 30-yard reception and a pass interference call in the end zone.
Fitch got within 7-6 on quarterback Ben Perry's 23-yard scramble for a touchdown with 6:36 left. Perry, a sophomore, was nearly tackled for a loss, slithered away, and ran through considerable traffic to the end zone.
"I'm like the smallest guy in the field," Perry said. "It's hard to tackle the small guy."
New London's Kyntrel Dessources stuffed Perry on the two-point conversion, leaving the Falcons to stop New London and retain possession one last time. Fitch got the ball back with five minutes remaining.
Senior Thomas Williams' gains of 12 and 16 yards kept the drive going until Perry hit Melakai Maddox for 20 yards and the go-ahead touchdown with 1:13 left.
It was Perry's only completed pass of the game.
"Ben made a good read and Melakai made an athletic play," Ellis said.
Fitch's defense swarmed New London quarterback Roddy Pratts most of the night, highlighted by sacks from Sean Porter, Eli Shelton and Andre Portillo.
"Coach always says to us in practice that it's together or nothing," Perry said. "We stuck together."