The Joel Barlow Falcons football team came one step closer to making the postseason with a 47-13 win over New Fairfield. The team finds itself sitting in the top spot in the South-West Conference and statewide Class SS division with a perfect 6-0 record. After suffering their first loss, the New Fairfield Rebels fall to 5-1 and fourth place in the South-West Conference.
Head coach T.J. Cavaliere Barlow emphasized before the New Fairfield game that that his players needed to stay focused and avoid letting the moment overwhelm them. They sure did.
The Falcons opened up the game with an early score and never looked back. By the time the Rebels were able to regroup and make adjustments at halftime, they were trailing 40-0, thanks in part to a 96-yard touchdown run from quarterback Danny Shaban, who also connected with his favorite wide receiver Evan Corazzelli for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
The victory once again showcased a potent Barlow offense that has scored over 40 points in 5 of its first 6 games, led by seniors Shaban, Mason Leavitt, and Corazzelli, juniors Dylan Taylor and Cole Peterson, and sophomore Scott Romano. Shaban’s dominant year continued on Friday, scoring four touchdowns on the ground in addition one through the air. He would finish the game with a combined 254 yards of the team’s 521 total yards on offense. Leavitt ran for 137 yards on just four carries and Dylan Taylor added another 84 yards on the ground for the Falcons. Both Shaban and coach Cavaliere have been quick to share the credit for Barlow’s successful ground game with the team’s offensive line, which has effectively controlled the line of scrimmage all season.
Shaban’s offensive success was bolstered by several spectacular plays by Barlow’s defense, which contained a Rebels offense that had dominated their opponents by averaging 38 points per game heading into Friday’s highly anticipated matchup. New Fairfield’s normally prolific offense and productive game plan could not solve Barlow’s defensive schemes and the team’s overall strong play and execution.
In addition to his big touchdown play, Corazzelli led the way on the defense with nine tackles and an interception. The pick was his first of the season and he doubled his tackles for the year. This is indicative of Barlow’s story on defense this season, which has benefited from strong contributions from several players, including seniors Leavitt, who leads the team with 56 tackles and earned SWC defensive player of the week honors earlier this season, Tristan Counter (33 tackles), and Shaban (31 tackles). Junior Cole Peterson also has 29 tackles on the season and sophomore Jack Gilbert collected another six tackles on Friday to bring his season total to 25.
The Falcons look to remain undefeated and to continue their march towards the post-season on the road this Friday night at 7 p.m. in Newtown against a competitive Nighthawks team that is among the elite in the Class L division. This matchup will once again be crucial to both teams with playoff aspirations and looking to earn high seeds in their respective state tournament brackets next month.
Photos by Mike Mitchell