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Hall Football Beats Conard in 62nd Annual Mayor’s Cup Showdown

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall retains the Mayor’s Cup trophy with a second consecutive win over crosstown rival Conard. 

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Marlon Pitter. Photos by Ronni Newton

The Hall High School football team capped off its season with a 27-17 win over Conard in the 62nd annual Mayor’s Cup game Saturday afternoon at Chalmers Stadium in West Hartford.

Leonardo Dionicio rushed for two touchdowns, while Gabe Salomons and Isaiah Lizardi each found the end zone to give the Warriors the edge.

With the Hall victory, both teams finish with 3-7 records. The Warriors retain the Mayor’s Cup after a road win in 2017. Conard leads the series with an overall record of 34-25-3 dating back to 1957.

“It was a great game. It was a typical Hall-Conard game, which you love,” said Conard head coach Matt Cersosimo. “It’s just back and forth. One team punches the other team. The other team turns around and punches them back, and it was just a hard-fought, fun game to be a part of. Gotta give a lot of credit to Hall. They bounced back in the second half and did a real nice job stopping our run game.”

Trailing 17-14 with less than five minutes left in the game, Hall quarterback Thomas Sullivan found Salomons for a 27-yard go-ahead touchdown to put the Warriors ahead 21-17.

The Chieftains tried to mount a comeback by relying on their stout running game that had been effective for most of the game, but they failed to convert a fourth down, giving the ball back to the Warriors.

Hall simply needed a first down to win the game, but Lizardi gave the Warriors much more.

Lizardi ran for a 58-yard touchdown with 2:02 left to extend the lead to 27-17 as Conard tried to use its timeouts to get the ball back.

“Sometimes you think, ‘Hey, I gotta get a big play’ and then you don’t get the first down,” Hall head coach Frank Robinson said of Lizardi’s late touchdown run. “We were fortunate enough to get the first down, and then [Lizardi] had enough speed to take it all the way.”

Both Hall and Conard failed to score early in the game as each team fumbled the ball away in their respective red zones.

With 7:18 left in the second quarter, David Regan made a 36-yard field goal to put Conard ahead 3-0.

Hall answered quickly on the ensuing drive. A 74-yard connection from Sullivan to Salomons set the Warriors up on Conard’s 5-yard line. Two plays later, Dionicio found the end zone from three yards out to give Hall a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

Spurred by quarterback Arsen Shtefan, the Chieftains leaned on their rushing attack to respond.

Conard regained the edge as Shtefan scored a 3-yard rushing touchdown to cap a seven-play drive and take a 10-7 lead with 3:21 left in the half. Shtefan broke open a 42-yard carry to the 5-yard line two plays before the touchdown.

Down 10-7 to start the third quarter, Hall forced Conard to punt and then found paydirt on its first possession of the second half.

The Warriors methodically moved the ball on the ground after a 22-yard pass to Salomons kickstarted the drive. Dionicio scored his second touchdown of the game to put Hall up 14-10 with 3:36 on the clock – again from three yards out.

The Warriors’ slim lead was short-lived as John Calcaterra burst through the Hall defense for a 61-yard touchdown on the Chieftains’ next play from scrimmage to put Conard up 17-14 at the 3:23 mark and into the fourth quarter.

Despite injuries and other setbacks, Robinson was said he was pleased with the effort his team gave all year.

“It’s not one of those things where you look at our record (3-7) and guys aren’t working hard every day,” Robinson said. “We were able to get some energy going in every practice, and I think that might have been a help to this game.”

Robinson also praised his seniors, who were leaders during a trying season.

“Every single year, the seniors just seem to step up and they’re different people and you’re just so proud of them,” said Robinson. “This is just another one of those groups. The leadership was fantastic. Everyone had a role. I’m proud of them for what they accomplished today. It’s one of those things that kind of changes the season a little bit.”

Cersosimo lauded the contributions of his seniors after their final game in a Conard uniform, noting the returning players will need to “[fill] the void” left by their departure.

“These seniors have done a tremendous job of developing a family-like culture around here, and we’re very proud to send them off with that as their trademark,” he said. “We didn’t get the result that we wanted to today, but they’re leaving way more important things as a trademark to our program.”

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Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Leanoard Dionicio scores a touchdown. Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Hall QB Thomas Sullivan. Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Conard QB Arsen Shtefan. Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

From left: Marcia and Bob Macca with Jason Jakubowski of Foodshare. The Macca’s hosted the annual tailgate which was a fundraiser for Foodshare. Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Annual Conard vs. Hall West Hartford Mayor’s Cup football game. Nov. 17, 2018. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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Marlon Pitter

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