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Weston's Football Balance Hard To Stop

WESTON, Conn. – Weston football coach Joe Lato has a lot of options when it comes to directing the Trojans’ offensive attack. In Saturday’s season-opening 46-18 win over Notre Dame of Fairfield, Lato unveiled all of them.

Five players scored touchdowns and the Trojans showed balance running and passing en route to the victory. Quarterback Tyler Hassett ran for two and passed for three, but he has a lot of weapons surrounding him.

“Everyone can get the ball,’’ said running back Justin Schaffer, who rushed for  57 yards and caught four passes for another 57 yards and one touchdown. “You never know who’s going to get it. We have so many different weapons, and anyone can score at any moment.”

Saturday’s victory was a brilliant display of Weston’s balance. Zach Cannon rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Pomerance rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown. Erik Dammen-Brower caught two passes, both for touchdowns.

Hassett, a three-year starter, makes the Weston engine purr. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 173 yards and no interceptions, and ran for 52 more. Weston had 392 yards of offense despite losing three fumbles.

“He’s been running the offense for three years, so he knows when to run the dive, when to pitch,’’ Schaffer said. “He knows when to give up the ball.”

Cannon and Schaffer are similar players. They are effective running inside and outside, have good size and are hard to bring down. “Zach has a little more speed, Schaffer has a little more shake,’’ Lato said. “They’re both very good runners.”

With so many weapons, it’s hard for opponents to take away one player. “I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t love to get the ball,’’ Schaffer said. “But I love the fact that everyone gets chance. Everyone’s excited to get an opportunity.”

Schaffer also had a big play on special teams in Saturday's win, recovering a muffed punt with the score tied at 6-6 late in the second quarter. Hassett hit Schaffer with a 22-yard pass on the next play, and Hassett ran in from the 1-yard-line to complete the drive. Weston never looked back.

The formula could take Weston a long way. Weston won five of its last six games last season, and narrowly missed qualifying for the state playoffs.  Weston finished below .500 for six straight seasons before the 2010 team went 6-4. The team has improved steadily under the leadership of Lato, now in his seventh year, and could be in the hunt for one of the eight Class M playoff berths in late November.

“Our goal is to make the playoffs and take it from there,’’ Schaffer said. “We’re trying to win as many games as we can.”

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