PHOTOS: Greenwich Youth Football League Championship Weekend Results

Contributed column from GYFL. Here are highlights from the Championship games on Nov 6, 2022.

Bantams: BANC Raiders 19 Crushers 6

The Bantam Banc Raiders won the 2022 GYFL Bantam Champions with a victory over the Cos Cob Crushers 19-6.  Cos Cob Crushers took the lead early in the 1st Quarter with a lengthy drive on their opening possession that put them in front 6-0.  Jake Nalepka answered the Crushers score quickly on the Raiders next possession, taking a sweep down the left sideline and following the blocking of William Berbit and Jake Bizarro to the end zone for a 65 yard touchdown run to even the score at 6.  On the next Raider possession with the score tied 6-6, Quarterback Austin Jozwiak converted a 4th and 1 QB sneak into the Red Zone to set up the 2nd touchdown of the day for Jake Nalepka and give the Raiders a 12-6 lead going into the Half.  After a scoreless 3rd Quarter, the Raiders were able to score their final touchdown with Jake Nalepka following the blocking of his younger brother Tommy Nalepka for an electrifying 63 yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach.  Hunter Esterkin converted the extra point as he was able to elude tacklers and reach the endzone to give the Raiders a 19-6 lead. 

Bantam Crusher Bosco for the tackle. Photo Tabitha Wunderlich
Bantam Bowes #44 tackle against Banc. Photo: Tabitha Wunderlich
Bantam BANC Raider Jake Nalepka puts game out of reach with his 3rd TouchDown
Bantam #25 Clark holds Banc with a strong tackle. Photo: Tabitha Wunderlich

After the first touchdown on the Crushers opening drive, the BANC defense stiffened and didn’t allow another score on the day.  BANC’s defense came up with crucial stops on 4th down throughout the day to halt Crusher drives.  Colin Brilliant played his best game to date at Outside Linebacker, coming up with several huge tackles in the Crusher backfield.  Jake Nalepka stripped and recovered a fumble within the 5 yard line to stop the Crushers offense from scoring.  Luke Gianetti playing his first game at Middle Linebacker didn’t disappoint.  With the help from Ryan Robison, James Beardsley, Dylan Mootabar and Brayden Hastings the Raider defense shut out the potent Crusher offense the remainder of the game.  A final pass play into the end zone by the Crushers was defended by a host of Raider defenders to preserve the Raider victory 19-6.

The Crushers rolled up 225 yards of offense, but miscues and timely big plays by the BANC defense limited them to a single score.  Ben Sachs had 134 yards on 26 carries, and Julian Caspi added 60 yards on 18 carries, including the touchdown on the first Crusher drive.  Connor Sachs anchored the Crusher offensive line, with AJ Bevilaqua, Henry Ingraham, Greyson Lowthert and Justin Moeller grinding open holes for Caspi, Ben Sachs, Brody Wallace and QB Tucker Wunderlich.  Wunderlich also completed a 21 yard pass to Oliver Clark.

The Crusher defense, led by Caspi with twelve tackles, kept the game within reach until late in the 4th quarter.  Ben Sachs made four tackles, and Clark, Lowthert and Wunderlich had three tackles each.  Danny Natale contributed two tackles.  Moeller forced a fumble, which Marshall Long recovered.

Junior Crushers CB William Sachs intercepts a pass at the beginning of the second OT period. Photo: Matthew Kane
Junior Crushers celebrate their second straight championship victory. Photo: Matthew Kane

Juniors: Crushers 25-19 -2OT

It was a tale of two halves as the Crushers looked to avenge their 6-0 Week 3 loss to the Putnam Generals. The Generals’ fierce tempo in the first half had the Crushers on their heels holding a 13-0 lead at the half. But in the third Quarter the Offensive Line of Joseph Breheny, Evan Kane, Philip Simms, and Lorelai Tarantino got control of the line of scrimmage and gave enough push for Ryan Mora to break off a 44 yard TD run. Cole Custer would start his monster day by scoring the PAT, cutting the lead to 13-7.

That’s when the defense went to work. The Generals unrelenting air attack continued. Cornerbacks Mike Dussinger, and William Sachs, Safety Jack Anton and Linebacker Max Parker contested every receiver in their zone, keeping the Generals from breaking off big plays. The defensive line of Braden Wallace, Kane, Simms, and Tarantino were in the General’s backfield all day. Tarantino played like the defensive MVP. In addition to her stellar play on the Offensive Line, she pressured the Quarterback and Running Backs out of rhythm leading to gang tackles. 

Junior Crushers DE Lorelei Tarantino and LB Max Parker combine for a strong tackle. Photo: Matthew Kane
Junior Crushers RB Cole Custer powers home the first of two overtime touchdowns. Photo Matthew Kane. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General QB #11 John Sibley throwing a strike. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General RB #26 Luke Golden carrying the rock. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General #11 Isaac Snedeker on the catch and run. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General #1 Cristian Gabelli on the run.Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General #14 Beckett Mollett with the diving catch. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior Generals #28 William Ward, #14 Beckett Mollett, and #50 Hayden Marks on the tackle. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General QB #11 John Sibley throwing a TD pass on the opening drive. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General #24 Ford Paulson on the tackle. Photo: Kristina Gabelli
Junior General QB #11 John Sibley set to throw. Photo: Kristina Gabelli

On third and four from their own 32 yard line, the Generals dropped back to pass. Under pressure from Kane, the Quarterback had to rush his throw. Custar stepped in front of the ball at the 46 and took it the distance, tying the game at 13.

That score would hold up to force overtime. The Crushers started with the ball on a first and goal from the 10. Custar found a seam and scored on the first play of the frame. The Generals scored on their rebuttal possession tying the game at 19. 

Coach Mike Natale made the gutsy call to put his defense on the field to start the second Overtime, a decision that would pay off. After an incomplete pass on 1st down, the Generals went back to the well on second down, but Sachs read the play and jumped the receiver’s route for the pick, giving the Crushers offense the opportunity for a walk off win. 

It was Custar’s game from here. He carried the ball three times in the frame. On the third play, a hole up the middle from Kane and Tarantino, as well as a big block by Breheny in the second level of the Generals defense, gave Custar more than enough room to punch it into the endzone untouched with a walk off win.

The Junior Crushers successfully defend their 2021 title with a 25-19 thriller. 

The Generals got off to a quick start as John Sibley was 4 for 4 passing for all 50 yards of their opening drive ultimately connecting on a 16 yard touchdown strike to Ford Paulson. In the second quarter after a number of strong runs by Luke Golden and a long bootleg scramble, Sibley punched it from 1 yard out. He then connected with Isaac Snedeker on the extra point pass to give the Generals a 13-0 lead. That’s how the game stood until the 3Q when the Crushers fought back to tie the game after a long TD run and a heartbreaking pick six. The game ended in regulation 13-13. In the first OT Luke Golden blasted it in from 2 yards out to tie the game at 19-19. Unfortunately the Generals were stopped in the second OT and the Crushers prevailed on a run up the middle to the end game. 

The offense was again led by the running attack of Golden, Snedeker, Sibley, and Cristian Gabelli. Sibley paced a strong passing attack completing over ten passes in the game to Paulson, Snedeker and Beckett Mollett.

The line battled up front all game opening holes for the backs led by the blocking of Cole and Owen Stephens, Andres Gutierrez, Orson Stanton, Fran Colombo, Alex Duda and William Thaler.

Though exhausted the defense played a monster game shutting down the Crushers offense throughout regulation. The team was led by Luke Golden, William Ward and Beckett Mollett who were all over the field and had a number of key tackles for loss. John, Sibley, Snedeker, Cristian Gabelli, Colt Goodner, Bo Carpenteri, Paulson, Hayden Marks, Stanton, Thaler, Ryan Curley and The Stephens Brothers were also a force all game. 

The Generals congratulate all their Junior players and coaches Michael Gabelli, Cliff Paulson and Paul Golden on an amazing season and championship game. The team is looking forward to next year.

Crusher Seniors #1 Phil Tarantino punches in the extra point. Photo: Kendra Petrone

Seniors: Crushers 19 Generals 12

On the final game of Championship Sunday the Senior Crushers kept the ball on the ground and ran it  down the Generals throats to the tune of 265 rushing total rushing yards. Quarterback Walker McClure led the way with 149 of those yards and 2 touchdowns. In the first quarter trailing 7-0 McClure broke off a 66 yard TD run, Philip Tarantino would punch in the extra point to tie up the game. McClure wasn’t done, in the second quarter he got loose and scored on a 24 yard touchdown run.

The Generals scored in the third quarter but a massive stop by Tarantino on the PAT held the score to 13-12 Crushers.  A few drives later, Oliver Caspi hammered power runs to set the Crushers up for a 14 yard touchdown pass from McClure to Reuben Meyer to take a 19-13 lead. Caspi finished the day with 23 carries for 100 yards. 

Crusher Seniors #7 Henry Schmedlen tackles the Generals runner. Photo: Kendra Petrone
Crusher Seniors #9 Walker McClure breaks free for a long touchdown run. Photo: Kendra Petrone
Crusher Seniors #23 Oliver Frisoli and #7 Henry Schmedlen tackle the Generals ball carrier. Photo: Kendra Petrone
Crusher Seniors #33 Oliver Caspi picks up a first down and then some. Photo: Kendra Petrone

The defense was paced by Henry Schmedlen’s 11 tackles. Schmedlen’s gutsy performance, playing through injury, made huge stops destined for big Generals gains. But with the game on the line Oliver Frisoli stepped up with a tackle to force a 4th down. He also had passes defended including the final play of the game. With time winding down, Frisoli batted down a pass ticketed for the end zone which would be the final play of the game. The Crushers hang on to complete their undefeated season with a 19-13 win.

The Generals came out fighting in their final contest of the year and never quit. Madsen Ehrhart and Jake Leonard each broke off runs for touchdowns. Teo Pita caught a deep pass to set up a score. Alex Neitzell caught a crucial 4th down ball on a deep crossing pattern to extend the drive. Bobby Stanley shined on both sides of the ball with a reception and an interception. Owen Cunnion, Lorenzo Corsano and Kellen Aslansan combined for the rest of the General offense. The 6 blocks of granite of Luke Perriello, Colby Loflin, Niko Vomvolakis, Luke Weiksner, Andy Stedem and Matthew Michalik fought in the trenches all game to open up holes and create plays.

Crusher Seniors Team Pic. Kendra Petrone