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Putnam hauls in first win of season

St. Bernard Saints - 2009 Season
Posted Sunday, November 01, 2009 by Sean Ladyga
PUTNAM — A night before Halloween, a game of trick-or-treat was going on at the St. Marie-Greenhalgh Sports Complex between a pair of winless football teams.  The Putnam Clippers were on the treat end of things as they squeaked by the Saint Bernard/Norwich Tech Saints 16-13 in a game that was played as though a state title was on the line.  Putnam is 1-6, while the Saints remain winless at 0-7.

In the end it was Putnam junior running back Shane Herlihy who unmasked the Saints as he turned in a tremendous all-around performance almost singlehandedly winning the game for the Clippers.  Herlihy scored both of the Clippers touchdowns, on runs of eight yards and one yard.  He was a workhorse running the pigskin 25 times for 73 yards with 11 of those carries coming in the fourth quarter as Putnam worked the clock down to zero and the win.  He also had four catches for 70 yards.

Herlihy's biggest trick of the evening came in the third quarter when he snuck unnoticed behind the Saints secondary and moved into position to receive a pass from quarterback Matt Daigneault that covered 50 yards.  The play set up the game winning score.  Four plays later Herlihy bulled his way into the end zone from the one-yard line for what proved to be the winning touchdown.

“I saw that Matt was in trouble so I moved into position to help him.  I was able to get behind the safety that was coming up to help contain Matt,” said Herlihy of his catch.  “I'm happy for the seniors on this night.  The win is amazing and feels real great,” he concluded.

St. Bernard/Norwich Tech opened the scoring in the first quarter when freshman John Rainey found wide receiver Will Gazley on a halfback option pass for a 43-yard touchdown.

Putnam went ahead when Herlihy capped a 14-play drive that was aided by three Saints penalties totaling 35 yards, when he scampered over from eight yards out.  A Daigneault to Justin Blaise pass gave Putnam an 8-6 advantage.

The Saints came right back and scored in two plays, utilizing another Rainey to Gazley option pass play that covered 76 yards.  Gazley's PAT kick gave the Saints a 13-8 halftime lead.

“These kids are young and are learning by their mistakes.  I'd like to take that one long Putnam pass play back.  It was the difference in the game,” said Saints Coach Sean Ladyga.

“The win takes the monkey off our back.  Every team deserves a win.  I'm happy for the kids and especially for Shane, who seemed to wake up after he had his bell rung,” said winning Coach GregLabelle.

The game wasn't for anything except the first victory of the season.  The way Shane Herlihy played it looked like he was playing in a championship game.  Coach Labelle is proof of that as he received the traditional Gatorade bath as he walked away from reporters.

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