Trumbull advances to Class LL semifinals

TRUMBULL -- Conard's powerful running back put Trumbull in a quick hole. The Eagles got the ball back and never sputtered after that.

Trumbull, trailing two plays into the game, answered 65 seconds later and beat Conard 27-9 Tuesday night at McDougall Stadium in the CIAC Class LL football quarterfinals.

"My first three years here, I don't even think we were close to states," Eagles quarterback Ian Milne said. "Now, getting in, winning, it's awesome."

Milne threw two touchdown passes, including a 55-yard strike to Phil Terio that tied the game at 7 just 1:42 into the night. Milne ran for two more.

Third-seeded and ninth-ranked Trumbull (10-2) will face second-seeded Norwich Free Academy (11-0) in Saturday's semifinals at a site and time to be announced.

Trumbull ran for 185 yards. Milne threw for 203, including four plays of 20 yards or better, three of 40 or better.

"The offense was magnificent," Trumbull coach Bob Maffei said. "It was clicking on all cylinders."

Jonathan Esposito carried the ball 32 times for 190 yards for sixth-seeded Conard (8-3). He came that close to his fourth consecutive 200-yard game.

He had most of his yardage in the first quarter, almost a third of it on the first series. He went 32 yards on the first play from scrimmage, then 31 more for a touchdown.

"We just had to start tackling him," Maffei said. "Everything we said: You've got to take on the fullback. They run that Power-I. Esposito, he's one heck of a back."

The Eagles faced third-and-8 on their first series, and Terio got the first down by an inch on an endaround run. He caught Milne's first touchdown pass on the next play.

"We came back quickly, and we came back with 20 unanswered points," Milne said.

Trumbull took control of the game with a steady drive and a lucky bounce.

Milne finished a 12-play, 76-yard drive with a short run early in the second quarter. Anthony Matera's kickoff hit the turf and hit Conard's Matt Metzler, and Joe Ormsbee jumped on top of the ball for Trumbull at midfield.

"I just kicked it as hard as I can. I just got lucky. It happens," Matera said. "We really went after it. ... It was nuts."

Three plays later, Milne scrambled right, threw back left for Tom Pauciello and a 44-yard touchdown, and Trumbull had a 20-7 lead.

The Chieftans took the ball deep into Trumbull territory on the next drive but fumbled. Bryan Barnash recovered for the Eagles.

"We've got a good team. We're starting to play well," Maffei said. "Hopefully we've got enough juice for two more."

CONARD7 2 0 0--9

TRUMBULL7 13 7 0--27

C--Jonathan Esposito 31 run (Arthur Fisher kick)

T--Phil Terio 55 pass Ian Milne (Anthony Matera kick)

T--Milne 5 run (Matera kick)

T--Tom Pauciello 44 pass Milne (kick blocked)

C--Safety (Milne intentional grounding in end zone)

T--Milne 1 run (Matera kick)

Records: Conard 8-3; Trumbull 10-2