The North Branford football team put up the big numbers again on Tuesday night as the third-seeded T-Birds came out on top of sixth-seeded Trinity Catholic 49-28 after a back-and-forth quarterfinal game to open play in the Class S State Tournament.
The win earns the T-Birds a trip to the semifinals on Sunday, Dec. 2 where they'll face Woodland, the No. 7 seed (8-3 regular-season record). Woodland will certainly be carrying some momentum into the contest after knocking off undefeated Capital/ Classical/ Achievement, the No. 2 seed, in the quarterfinals.
North Branford, though, is certainly not lacking any momentum in 2012, going undefeated throughout the regular season and outscoring opponents 522-138 throughout its 11 games so far, only being held to less than 40 once so far – in the T-Birds' 32-28 win over Hyde on Thanskgiving Eve.
Against Trinity Catholic, the game went back and forth throughout the first half with Trinity Catholic leading 21-20 at halftime before North Branford pulled away with four TDs in the second half to Trinity Catholic's one.
The T-Birds opened up the scoring when quarterback Brandan Basil found Joe Delucia for a 23-yard touchdown, but Trinity Catholic came back to tie it 7-7 to end the first quarter.
The teams traded scores in the second quarter, but a missed field goal gave Trinity Catholic the lead heading into the half. North Branford first reclaimed the lead in the second quarter on Gary Falanga's eight-yard run, but Trinity Catholic countered with a score of its own. Basil and Delucia connected again, this time on a seven-yard pass, but the PAT failed and Trinity Catholic capitalized with a TD and the extra point.
Trailing by one to open the second half, North Branford was again the first team to score in the quarter when Basil hit Delucia for the third time on a 19-yard pass. Delucia then completed the two-point conversion for a 27-21 lead.
North Branford opened up its lead shortly after when Falanga returned an interception for 44 yards for a TD. Trinity Catholic's Sean Brown then broke out of the pack and scored on a 60-yard run to head into the final frame trailing 34-28.
The T-Birds continued to pour on the offensive pressure in the fourth quarter as their defense shut down Trinity Catholic. Delucia's 18-yard run and a two-point conversion by Dale Hausman added some insurance and then Hausman punched one in from the seven-yard line to finalize the scoring.
Basil was 14-for-19 passing for 166 yards, while Hausman racked up 160 rushing yards. Delucia had 74 rushing yards and five receptions for 76 yards.
North Branford tallied 88 tackles on the night with Hausman leading the team with 14, while John Burke and Falanga each had 10 tackles. Burke also had a sack. Andrew Calamita had nine tackles and Josh Melaccio, Delucia and Alex McGuigan each had six.
Check out MaxPreps for a full photo gallery from the quarterfinal matchup by Kevin Pataky. North Branford will face Woodland on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 12:30 p.m. at Falcon Field (200 Westfield Rd., Meriden). You can buy tickets on the CIAC's website.