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Whalers use big plays to beat Lancers 40-17

By Gavin Keefe

Publication: The Day

Published November 16. 2013 4:00AM
Dana Jensen/The Day
New London's Orrin Parke looks for running room during Friday night's game against Waterford. Parke rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown as the Whalers won their sixth straight game with a 40-17 victory.

New London - As Waterford mounted several long drives, New London quarterback Danny Maranda patiently waited his turn on the sideline.

"It was pretty frustrating at first," Maranda said.

When New London finally found its offensive groove, Maranda and his quick-strike attack wasted little time in finding the zone.

Waterford had a significant edge in time of possession, but New London rode big plays to a 40-17 victory. The Whalers (7-2) extended their winning streak to six and stayed on course for a Class L playoff berth.

Maranda's four touchdown passes covered 10, 50, 96 and 53 yards. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 318 yards, hooking up with five different receivers. Senior Orrin Parke rushed for 118 yards and one touchdown.

Waterford (4-5) just couldn't finish off enough possessions. One second-half drive lasted 19 plays but the Lancers stalled at the New London 20 and turned it over on downs.

Five plays later, Maranda threw a 53-yard scoring strike to Jose Garcia, who finished with three catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

"The problem is we gave up big plays and you can't do that against them," Waterford coach Mike Ellis said. "We did have some nice drives that ate up time and then we don't score."

Waterford's defense started strong, holding New London to a pair of Garrett Burdick field goals (30, 29) and trailed 6-0 entering the second quarter.

"Hats off to Waterford," New London coach Duane Maranda said. "They were doing a nice job of trying to contain us on the outside. We had to make some adjustments.

"But what I was really happy about was Garrett kicking those two field goals. He continues to develop."

Spencer Hoagland kicked a 27-yard field goal for the Lancers to cut the deficit to 6-3. But the Whalers needed only three plays to answer, as junior Troy Gray made a diving catch to complete a 10-yard touchdown pass for a 13-3 lead.

The Lancers responded with Joe Gustafson's 1-yard touchdown run. Chase Speller's 64-yard kick-off return set up the scoring drive.

This is when the Whalers started pulling away. They scored two touchdowns in four plays. First, Maranda threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Nico Ramos to cap a 3-play, 61-yard drive.

Then, pinned at their own 4 with 58 seconds left in the half, the Whalers remained aggressive. Garcia outbattled a defender to make a nice catch on the sidelines and ran away to complete a 96-yard scoring strike.

The Whalers went into the break leading 25-10.

"We felt we had time to drive the ball," Duane Maranda said. "Danny and I talked on the sideline about the play that we ran there. We just felt like the defense that they were in, we had a chance to hit (Garcia). ... Jose did a great job coming back under and making that play and then off to the races he went."

For the most part, New London executed its defensive game plan. The Whalers contained quarterback Seth Hoagland's option plays.

Hoagland rushed for just 19 yards but had some success passing, completing 11 of 22 for 108 yards. His fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Donny Craig covered three yards.

"They're a good team," Duane Maranda said. "They've been in every single football game that they've played so far and they've scored points and moved the football.

"We wanted to try first shut down that option and force them to throw the ball, which they did. They had some success, so we had some work to do."

Bishme Sheppard (57 yards) and Gustafson (53 yards) were the top rushers for the Lancers. Craig finished with six receptions for 71 yards.

g.keefe@theday.com

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