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Valley Edges North Branford T-Birds' Football in Season-Opener

In a high-scoring game, North Branford fell just one point shy of Valley Regional in the 2011 season-opener.

The North Branford football team knew the first game of the season would be a test after and taking on league champion Valley Regional.

Despite a loss, the T-Birds certainly showed their offense has the capability of putting up numbers as North Branford fell just short, losing 48-47 on Sept. 17 at Valley.

Both teams got on the board in the first quarter with North Branford taking a 6-0 lead as QB Brandan Basil connected with Joe Delucia on a 58-yard pass for a touchdown.

Valley came back with Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn’s 16-yard run and with the point after, the Warriors led 7-6. The lead was short-lived, though, as Basil’s 20-yard pass to Alex McGuigan was good for a touchdown and Dale Hausman ran in the two-point conversion for a 14-7 advantage.

Valley closed out the first quarter with two more touchdowns–the first a 43-yard interception return by Fairfield-Sonn and the second a two-yard run by Colin Devlin. Both extra points were good as the Warriors took a 21-14 lead into the second quarter.

North Branford responded with a strong offensive frame, adding three touchdowns in the second for a 35-21 halftime advantage.

Hausman started and ended the quarter’s scoring with an 11-yard run and a 14-yard run, respectively. In the middle, Gary Falanga scooped up a fumble for a 20-yard return with Basil running in the two-point conversion.

Coming out of halftime, Valley scored immediately as Fairfield-Sonn led off with a 75-yard kickoff return to cut it to 34-28. Basil and Delucia hooked up again for North Branford–this time with a 24-yard score.

Fairfield-Sonn then busted out another huge run for the Warriors, going 73 yards for another TD. North Branford’s Chris Caron closed out the third-quarter scoring with a one-yard score to take a 47-42 lead into the final frame.

Fairfield-Sonn again came up big for Valley as his nine-yard run in the fourth quarter gave the Warriors a 48-47 victory despite the failed two-point conversion attempt.

For the T-Birds, Basil was 27-for-45 passing for 344 yards and three TDs, Delucia had five receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns and McGuigan had four receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. Hausman had 15 carries for 85 yards and two scores to go with four receptions for 19 yards, while Caron had two carries for three yards including a touchdown to go with four receptions for 45 yards. Cory Onofrio had eight receptions for 112 yards.

Anthony Franco led the defense with 16 tackles, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery; while Falanga had nine tackles, a fumble recovered for a touchdown and an interception. Bobby Miller had eight tackles and a forced fumble. Other players who contributed defensively included Hausman (6 tackles), Caron (5 tackles), Rocco Morgan (5 tackles), McGuigan (4 tackles) and Steve Saunders (4 tackles).

Next up: in the T-Birds' first home game of 2011.

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