Jackets open football season with a win
WINSTED â€” The Gilbert-Northwestern Yellowjacket football team seized victory from the Haddam-Killingworth Cougars at Van Why Field Saturday, Sept. 18, in the first game of the season. The Jackets rallied behind a boisterous hometown crowd and the roar of the band to put the Cougars behind early and hold on to earn the win.
The Jackets opened the game with the kickoff and quickly put their defense to work, shutting down the Cougars with a sack on a rapid third down. The Cougars punted away, but were able to regain possession on an interception three plays later.
Gilbert-Northwesternâ€™s defense remained robust early and reclaimed the ball on a turnover on downs. It was beginning to look like neither side would break through to open the scoring, but Yellowjacket Devon Molway quickly dispersed that lurking suspicion with a 9-yard carry and a bit more after that to earn Gilbert-Northwestern the first down.
Jacket Kyle Jones bulldozed his way to another first down with the aid of a swarm of Jacket offensive linemen. Sticking to the ground, GN quarterback Bobby Lippincott tore up turf for a lengthy quarterback carry to put the Jackets deeper in the Cougarsâ€™ end. Molway continued finding openings in the defensive line and worked another first down.
The Cougars appeared to have the Jackets just short of drawing blood as they grappled at the goal line, until Lippincott stretched out to tally the first touchdown of the affair. JP Duluc added the extra point to put the Jackets ahead by seven in the first quarter.
The Cougars coughed up possession on a fumble before the end of the first, then again early in the second to set the Jackets on their next scoring drive. The Cougars limited GN to just a few yards here and there, putting them just shy of first down. Lippincott put up a long pass that would have been a difficult catch at best for the receiver, but a Cougar defenseman handed the Jackets a gift-wrapped offering in the form of an absolutely terrible pass interference penalty.
The Jackets did not hesitate to make the Cougars suffer for their error, adding their second touchdown of the day on a carry by Molway. GN held a strong 14-0 lead at the halftime break.
GN opened the third with a short kick return, but began grinding out yards with a combined rushing effort from Jones and Lippincott. The Cougar defense did look improved, but the Jackets continued to find ways through, including a long pass from Lippincott to Drew McCarthy, just shy of a touchdown. In position to score, Jones broke through to add another touchdown to the Jacketsâ€™ growing lead. Duluc added the third extra point of the day to bring the lead to 21-0.
The Cougar offense began creeping deeper into the Jacketsâ€™ end. They tallied their first points of the game just before the end of the third, bringing the score to 21-6.
After Lippincott put his team in position to score in the dying moments of the third, McCarthy quickly capitalized with a touchdown carry in the early seconds of the fourth. With the fourth successful kick by Duluc, the Jackets provided themselves with a bit of breathing room, now ahead 28-6.
The Cougars were far from finished, however, and started to show dangerous signs of life through the fourth. The GN defense worked to shut down the scoring, but the visitors tallied one touchdown and then another to cut the lead to just seven points.
Though slightly bloodied, the Yellowjackets held on to run down the clock and secure the first win of the season at home, 28-21.
The Yellowjackets host Ellington-Somers at Van Why Field on Saturday, Sep. 2, at 1:30 p.m.