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Wins In Key Games Defined Weston Football's Playoff Run

Weston coach Joe Lato, right, confers with quarterback Tyler Hassett during the win over Joel Barlow.
Weston coach Joe Lato, right, confers with quarterback Tyler Hassett during the win over Joel Barlow. Photo Credit: Contributed by Vivian Simons

WESTON, Conn. – Three pivotal games helped define the season for the Weston High Football team this fall. Now, the Trojans will see how they fare against the state’s best in the Class M tournament beginning Tuesday night.

The sixth-seeded Trojans (8-2) meet No. 3 Ellington/Somers at Enfield on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. It is Weston's first state tournament since 1989, when it lost the Class S title game to Ansonia, 44-0.

When Weston defeated Pomperaug on Sept. 28, it appeared the Trojans were well on their way to the playoffs. The victory was Weston’s first since 1990 over the Panthers, a traditional South-West Conference power.

“That was one of our initial defining moments. We’ve worked hard all year and believed we are for real and wanted to make a statement,’’ said senior Justin Schaffer, who caught the game-winning two-point conversion against Pomperaug.

Weston went on to win five straight games before a stunning 42-21 loss to New Fairfield nearly derailed its playoff aspirations.

“That was a disappointing loss,’’ Schaffer said. “It set us back a little bit, but we kept believing. We kept pushing and tried to win as many games as possible.”

After beating Stratford and Bethel, Weston got hammered 49-0 by Masuk (9-1), one of the top teams in the state. The staggering margin of defeat left the Trojans with a must-win in its season-finale against archrival Joel Barlow.

The Trojans beat the Falcons, 21-14 on Thanksgiving Day to clinch a playoff spot.

Schaffer scored two touchdowns, and quarterback Tyler Hassett threw for 144 yards and two scores.

But the key was the Trojans' defense, which clamped down on Alex Lockwood (1,032 yards for the season) and limited Barlow’s powerful running game to just 176 yards, more than 200 less than its season average. It was the best defensive performance by a team all season against Barlow.

“Coach (Joe) Lato set up an amazing defense,’’ Schaffer said. “We were amped up to stop their key players. We wanted to create some turnovers and attack the ball."

Many of the Barlow and Weston players were teammates in youth football for the Aspetuck Wildcats. The Trojans are hoping the momentum from the win carries over into the state tournament.

Hassett (1540 yards, 16 touchdowns)  is one of the state’s top quarterbacks. Hassett, Schaffer, Zach Cannon and Sam Panton have been effective runners.

The Trojans’ defense is led by Austin Gomar, who has 14 sacks and the team has forced 19 turnovers. Weston has also seen nearly every type of offense imaginable in conference play, so the Trojans should be ready for anything.

“I feel like our schedule set us up well,’’ Schaffer said. “We played a lot of different teams with a lot of different looks. We’ve been able to work on our own strengths and weaknesses. We feel like we’re ready for any type of offense.”

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