Morgan quarterback Drew Nye had another banner night for the Huskies, who improved to 7-1. “We did a good job today of keeping Drew clean and upright,” coach Kevin Sullivan said. (Photo by Marc Silvestrini)
By Marc Silvestrini
NORTH BRANFORD — Morgan scored touchdowns on each of its six first-half possessions Friday night and senior quarterback Drew Nye threw six touchdown passes as the Huskies won their seventh straight game, 46-6 over North Branford.
The Huskies, who have not loss since an opening night defeat at the hands of undefeated Cromwell/Portland, remain seventh in points in the latest CIAC Class S playoff rankings. The top eight qualify for the postseason.
“This has always been a pretty good group of guys, all the way back to the days when we were playing Pee Wee football,” Nye said, in explaining his team’s success. “We’ve always been committed, we’ve worked hard. And we’ve gotten better every year.”
Morgan closes out its season with a road game against 6-2 Ellington next Friday night and a home game against winless Old Saybrook on Thanksgiving Day eve.
Nye enjoyed what has become a fairly typical night for him this season, completing 19 of 27 passes for 278 yards. His six touchdown throws almost matched the school record of seven in a game he set last month. He also completed three additional passes that resulted in two-point conversions.
Garret Garbinski caught eight of Nye’s passes for 113 yards and two scores while Alex Fratamico caught six for 66 yards and two touchdowns. Nick Schmidt and Ethan Ranaudo caught the other two TD passes.
“I was kind of slipping around a lot out there in the mud, but when I was able to stay on my feet Drew found me, as he usually does,” Garbinski said.
Meanwhile, Morgan’s defense limited the Thunderbirds (2-6) to 102 yards of total offense while their special teams recovered two onside kicks in the first half to give Nye and the offense shorter fields to traverse.
“Morgan’s a good team and they played a good game tonight,” North Branford coach Mark Basil said. “As for us, we’re a little banged up, but our kids kept fighting and did their best … It is what it is.”
Morgan drove 60 yards in 14 plays off the opening kickoff to take the lead 4:28 into the game. The drive, which featured 13 passes and one rushing play, culminated on a 3-yard Nye-to-Fratamico scoring pass and was capped by a Nye-to-Schmidt pass for the conversion that gave the Huskies an 8-0 lead.
Morgan’s John Nye, Drew’s younger brother, then recovered the ensuing onside kick to put the Huskies offense back in business at the T-Bird 48.
A 13-yard scamper by Morgan running back Casey Corrigan, a personal foul against North Branford for an illegal block and two short completions from Nye to Fratamico and Schmidt advanced the ball to the North Branford 33, from where Nye lofted a high spiral to Schmidt who had run a skinny post.
Schmidt gathered in the ball at the 2 without breaking stride and strolled untouched into the end zone to make it 14-0, the score after the first quarter of play.
After forcing a T-Bird punt in the final minute of the opening quarter, a 16-yard run by Corrigan set up the Huskies at the Thunderbird 23 early in the second quarter. From there, Nye rifled a pretty spiral between to defenders on either side of Garbinski, who caught the ball at the 2 and spun into the end zone. Corrigan’s two-point conversion rush made it 22-0 two minutes into the quarter.
Three minutes later, after the Huskies’ defense forced yet another punt, Nye and the offense marched 60 yards in six plays with the payoff coming on another Nye rocket to Garbinski, who ran a slant from the T-Bird 18 and again caught the ball between two North Branford defenders for the score. Ranaudo added the two-point conversion on a running play to stretch the Huskies lead to 30-0 with 5:06 to play in the half.
The Huskies dispelled any lingering doubts about the outcome over the next few minutes en route to a 46-0 halftime advantage.
After a terrific defensive play by Jordan Armstrong to stop T-Bird quarterback Mason Provencher short of a first down on a fourth-and-3 play from the Morgan 34, Nye hit Garbinski for a 22-yard gain on a flea flicker play and then hoisted a pretty 45-yard bomb that Ranaudo caught over his shoulder while racing just ahead of a T-Bird defender to make it 36-0 with 2:11 to play in the half. Nye’s subsequent conversion pass to Fratamico tacked on two more points to extend the lead to 38-0.
Then, two plays after Jake Caprio recovered Morgan’s second successful onside kick of the half, Nye hit Fratamico with a 16-yard scoring pass. Corrigan’s run for the conversion completed a 32-point second-quarter outburst.
The second half, which featured a running clock and numerous second and third-team players from both sides, produced only one scoring play, a 3-yard run by North Branford freshman Thomas Hansen that spoiled Morgan’s bid for a shutout.
Hansen finished as the game’s top rusher with 74 yards in 17 attempts while teammate Ian Kamienski caught three passes from Provencher for 20 yards.
Corrigan, a sophomore, finished with 41 yards on only five rushing attempts for Morgan and pitched in with a pair of two-point conversions while Schmidt had two catches for 43 yards and a touchdown in addition to a conversion reception.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half,” Morgan coach Kevin Sullivan said. “I also thought our offensive line – which didn’t really play all that well last week (against Coventry/Windham Tech/Bolton/Lyman Memorial) did a good job today of keeping Drew clean and upright. We worked hard on improving our offensive line play all week and I thought the guys played a much better game today.”
Morgan’s offensive line includes Chris Carmona at center, Dom Muce and Nate Schumann at guard and Armstrong and freshman Logan Ryan at tackle, the coach said.
Morgan………….14 32 0 0–46
North Branford..0 0 6 0–6
M: Fratamico, 3-yard pass from Nye (Schmidt, pass from Nye)
M: Schmidt, 33-yard pass from Nye (pass failed)
M: Garbinski, 23-yard pass from Nye (Corrigan rush)
M: Garbinski, 18-yard pass from Nye (Ranaudo rush)
M: Ranaudo, 45-yard pass from Nye (Fratamico pass from Nye)
M: Fratamico, 16-yard pass from Nye (Corrigan, pass from Nye)
NB: Hansen, 3-yard run (rush failed)
Up Next: Morgan at Ellington, Nov. 19, 6:30pm; North Branford at Plainfield, Nov. 18, 6pm.