Hornets End Season With Victory Over Rival Easties

Photos by Bill O'BrienFor the second time since 2014 the Branford Hornets football team defeated their arch rivals, the East Haven Yellow Jackets, knocking the Easties out of the upcoming state playoffs. Here, Aiden MacNeil followed by Spencer Landsbach causes East Haven’s Tanner DeVito to fumble.

Back in 2014 East Haven entered the game with a 7-2 record needing a win over the Hornets to qualify for the playoffs. Branford won 10-7. This year the results were the same. The Hornets jumped on their rival early scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter en route to a 20-7 victory.

The 103rd Beehive Bowl was moved from Thanksgiving Day to Friday at East Haven because of the extreme cold that passed through the area on Wednesday and Thursday.

Jackson Seward scored early on a 2-yard run to open the scoring at 10:28.

Branford’s versatile quarterback Sean Kelly also scored in the first quarter on a 10-yard sprint to up the score to 12-0 with 1:23 left in the opening period.

Kelly looks to connect on one of his eight completions for 118 yards

Branford played outstanding defense, limiting East Haven to only 68 yards of total offense in the first half. The Hornets forced four fumbles on the Easties who never got untracked. Their only score of the game came on the 32-yard field goal by senior Evan Damian at 4:35 of the second quarter.

Aiden MacNeil grabs a pass over the outstretched arm of East Haven’s Michael Manning

Sophomore Justin Osler led the Hornet defense with 13 tackles followed by Christopher Bouton with 10. This was the lowest point total for the Yellow Jackets all season and the first game where they didn’t score at least one touchdown.

A host of tacklers led by Christopher Bouton (11) and Samuel Laska (58) bring down an Eastie runner.

Bouton leaps over a defender to snag a 27 yard completion from Sean Kelly.

Kamryn Holmes returns a punt for 10 yards for the Hornets

Kelly led the Hornets with 22 carries for 78 yards (3.35 avg.) and 8 for 19 passing for an additional 118 yards for a total of 196 total yards and one touchdown.

Jackson Seward led the team in rushing with 115 yard on 17 carries, including a game high 48-yard run, for a 6.77 average.

Cameron Mills caught three Kelly passes good for 39 yards and scored the final touchdown for the Hornets on a 5-yard run falling over the goal line as time ran out in the first half.

Mills grabs one of his three receptions good for 32 yards

Aiden McNeil had two for 36 yards and Christopher Bouton one for 27 yards.

Branford coach John Limone studies the action during the game.

“We played very well today,” said Limone. “We lost three of the last four games we played and we wanted to finish the season on a high note, and we did.” 

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