BRISTOL — Woodland coach Tim Shea wasn’t going to hang his hat on the Hawks’ 27-17 win over St. Paul on Sunday afternoon, but the victory was good enough for him.
“We just want to win the best way possible,” Shea said. “St. Paul is a tough team and we’re playing at their place. We just have to score one more point than they did, and we got the win.”
Sophomore quarterback Tanner Kingsley led the Hawks’ offense in the first half while senior running back Matt Zaccagnini picked it up in the second.
Kingsley finished 12-of-16 for 190 yards with three scores and one interception. The game marks the fourth time he’s thrown multiple touchdown passes in a game this season and the third time he’s tossed for three scores.
“He’s getting better and better every week,” Shea said. “He’s a great competitor and takes to coaching. He made a few sophomore mistakes but he’s a gamer. I’m glad we’ve got him for a couple more years.”
Levi Fancher hauled in the first touchdown pass of the day on a 17-yard throw to the back of the end zone on a third-and-12 to make it a 7-3 Woodland lead late in the first quarter.
“Levi’s not usually the primary receiver on that,” Kingsley said. “I saw the safety cheated over and he ran a good route.”
Anthony Scirpo snatched the second Woodland (4-1) score in the second quarter, a 27-yarder on a slant route following a St. Paul (0-5) fumble to make it a 14-3 game.
After the Falcons drove to cut the deficit to 14-9 on a connection between Logan Marchi and Justin Gonzalez with a minute to play in the first half, Kingsley engineered a quick scoring drive.
Kyle McClintick returned the kickoff 35 yards to the St. Paul 45-yard line with 50 seconds left. Kingsley then found Zach Happy for a pair of completions before hitting McClintick on a corner route in the left side of the end zone to give the Hawks a 20-9 halftime lead.
“After Kyle’s return, we thought we should punch it in again,” Kingsley said. “Happy ran some great routes and the line blocked well.”
Woodland pounded away on the ground in the second half as Zaccagnini gained 116 of his 152 yards after the break. He added a 20-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to extend the Hawks’ lead to 27-9.
“We established the run a little bit in the first half, but we wanted to do it more in the second half,” Zaccagnini said.
Marchi and Gonzalez hooked up for an 11-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, but Brian Reis recovered the ensuing onside kick for the Hawks. Woodland ran out the remaining 5:12 to seal the victory.
Woodland begins its three-game Naugatuck Valley League Copper Division gauntlet this week. The Hawks, who are 3-0 in the Copper, host Torrington on Friday before meetings with Naugatuck and Holy Cross.
“It’s good that we’re in this position where we can talk about it,” Shea said. “The good news is that we have two out of three at home. I don’t want to think it’s going to define our season, but it’s going to play a big role in where we’re going to go.”