Special to CIACSports.com
New Fairfield — Zach Tripodi got New Fairfield a touchdown on the first drive of Mondaynight’s CIAC Class M semifinal.
It was way more than the Rebels’ defense needed.
New Fairfield’s defense strangled Ledyard as it held the latter to just 70 yards in a dominating 13-0 win.
“We’re just a more physical and stronger team than they were,” Rebels’ senior two-way lineman Russell Howard said.
Second-seeded New Fairfield (11-1) will face Brookfield, its South-West Conference friend, in Saturday’s championship game at West Haven at 10:30 a.m. New Fairfield will be gunning for the program’s first football state title. It dropped its only other appearance in the title game in 1983.
The No. 5 Bobcats routed top-seeded Killingly, 34-13, in their semifinal. They opened the season with a 27-13 win over the Rebels.
“After that Brookfield game, we said we’re going to see you in the championship,” New Fairfield senior running back-linebacker James Lewis said.
The third-seeded Colonels (10-2) had just three first downs.
“Their physical-ness, their size, it was as advertised,” Ledyard head coach Jim Buonocore said. “They were good.”
Tripodi was unaffected by a shoulder injury that knocked him out before halftime of New Fairfield’s 24-0 win over St. Joseph in the quarterfinals (Dec. 1). The senior carried five times on the Rebels’ first drive and ended it with a 43-yard touchdown run just 3 minutes, 30 seconds into the game.
Justin Carter’s interception gave the Colonels the ball at the New Fairfield 18 with over six minutes in the first half.
Ledyard turned it over on downs. Rudy Sarro intercepted a pass in his team’s end zone on fourth down.
Michael Handlmaier kicked a 38-yard field goal to end the first half. He added a 33-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
Ledyard 0 0 0 0—0
New Fairfield 7 3 3 0—13
N—Zach Tripodi 43 run (Michael Handlmaier kick)
N— Handlmaier 38 FG
N— Handlmaier 33 FG
RUSHING—Ledyard, Manny Deshields-Sanabria 7-23, Luke Saccone 4-7, Justin Carter 3-4, Tannor Daggot 1-4, Ty Ebdon 8-(-3). New Fairfield, Zach Tripodi 31-229, James Lewis 6-49, Rudy Sarro 1-13, Greg Radovic 1-6, Mike Zanca 1-3.
PASSING—Ledyard, Ebdon 4-18-34-2. New Fairfield, Zanca 3-7-47-1.
RECEIVING—Ledyard, Saccone 3-13, Carter 1-21. New Fairfield, Radovic 1-47.