Centaurs pg 1 11-2-17

beat Pride
Earlier in the week, The Woodstock Academy football coach Sean Saucier had an epiphany when he met with his former head coach at Putnam High School, Bob Skopek.
Skopek has been battling some health issues.
Saucier returned to his team and told the players that he was going to be coaching in honor of Skopek in the game against Quinebaug Valley Oct. 27 in Putnam. He then asked each of them who they were going to dedicate the game to, had them write down the name, and explain why.
For many, like senior Kameron Janice, the response was an emotional one.
“I was playing for my Grandpa,” Janice said through sniffles. “He died a few years ago. He always wanted to be here for my games. It definitely played a role (Friday). I prayed that he was looking down on me.” His grandfather certainly was. Janice had the game of his football career.
The running back finished with 529 yards and eight touchdowns in a 49-26 win over the Pride.
The yardage total was third best in state history behind Sheehan’s Zack Davis who rushed for 543 yards in one game and 541 yards in another last season according to the Connecticut Football Record Book.
The eight touchdowns was also good for third-best ever in the state, tying him with Davis, John Weaver (Weaver-Hartford) and Mike McLeod (New Britain).
Davis holds the mark with 10 touchdowns in a game last year while Brenden Lytton of Torrington had nine in 2010.
“It’s the biggest game of my whole career,” Janice said. “This is my top achievement and I will try and beat it, but it’s going to be hard.”
Janice started the game with a 33-yard touchdown run on the first series.
He added scores on runs of 8, 1, 53 and 19 yards to give the Centaurs a 31-14 halftime lead.
The onslaught continued in the third quarter when he scored on runs of 42 and 25 yards to give the Centaurs a 43-14 advantage.
“He just didn’t get tired and that’s a testament to his training. He works hard in practice,” Saucier said. “He deserves what he did (Friday) because he worked for it. He was on a different plane.”
But The Academy coach had to consider pulling him out of the game when the lead stretched to 29 points.
“I definitely wanted to take him out,” Saucier said. “I was ready to yank him.”
Call it a little divine intervention.
Quinebaug Valley (2-5) scored two touchdowns to end the third quarter and were back within striking range of the Centaurs at 43-26.
Janice stayed in the contest.
After he scored on a 38-yard run to give the Centaurs their eventual 23-point winning margin, Saucier was ready to pull Janice again.
But word filtered down to the sideline that the state record was within reach.
“Word got back down to me,” Saucier said. “His attitude, his leadership has just developed so much, that he wanted to do that.”
It was hard not to send Janice back out especially when the Centaurs needed a first down. He went out and carried two more times for 64 yards to close at 529.
“Nothing goes through my mind except for how hard they (the offensive line) worked on the field for me. If they don’t do their job, I can’t do my job. I didn’t even notice how many yards I got. I wasn’t counting anything. I was just trying to win the game for my family,” Janice said.
Janice accounted for 48 of the 49 Centaur points which tied him for sixth-best ever in the state in one contest.
The win raised the Centaurs record to 3-4 and broke a 3-game losing streak.
Had Janice not been so dominant, Will McGlynn of the Pride would have received more notoriety. McGlynn finished with 189 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
 Cross Country
The Woodstock Academy boys’ cross-country coach Peter Lusa could only smile when talking about what he saw at about the halfway point of the Class MM boys' state championship cross-country race Oct. 28 at Wickham Park in Manchester.
Lusa coaches his runners to get over to the right-hand side on the course and freshman Ethan Aspiras was doing his best to do just that. “I saw Kenneth (Birlin) and thought I had missed Ethan, but then I saw him trying to get to the right-hand side and he was hopping over people’s legs. It was just a lack of experience,” Lusa said.
But it’s something Aspiras will remember when he returns to Wickham Park next fall.
Aspiras had a bit of a rough day and the Centaurs settled for a 19th place finish with 552 points.
The freshman doesn’t do well on cool days because of an asthmatic condition, but because of the time of the race at 11 a.m., he didn’t bring his inhaler.
That, combined with his inexperience and the strength of field all combined to push him back to 95th in the field.
“The whole field went out fast,” Lusa said. “A lot of coaches were asking why they were going out so fast. It took its toll.”
Birlin, who normally finishes behind Aspiras, led the team across the line in 81st.
“He stepped up,” Lusa said. “His time was a little faster (than at the Wickham Park Invitational). He’s a game-day player. I did over rest them a little this week so his legs were super fresh.”
Birlin, a junior, said it was nice to actually beat the freshman across the line for a change.
“I ran my best. It’s states, the last meet of the season, you have to do your best,” Birlin said.
He even had his own personal soundtrack running in his head, Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down’ was his inspiration for the meet.
“It wasn’t my best season, but I tried my hardest,” Birlin said. “I think, as a team, we will be a lot better next season. We’ve got a lot of younger, faster runners so we will have a good top five next year.”
Nate Roethlein (122nd), Spencer Collins (126th) and Cylus Gould (128th) rounded out the top five for the Centaurs.
Lusa will lose seven seniors, Chris Cheney, Dan Crème, Wyatt Cummings, Gould, Ivan Karlsen, Jared Law and Todd Le, but he had plenty to choose from.
“It was more (runners) than I ever had and most made it through the season healthy so I was pleased,” the Centaurs coach said. “Everybody dropped their times so it felt good.”
Woodstock 1
Lyman 2
The Woodstock Academy almost had three teams in the Eastern Connecticut Conference semifinals.
The sixth-seeded Centaurs boys 'soccer program fought hard, but fell in double overtime to No. 3 Lyman Memorial, 2-1.
The Academy (11-6-1) fell behind early, but Eli Child tied the match five minutes into overtime.
The Bulldogs denied the Centaurs a semifinal berth when they scored with one minute left in the second overtime.
Woodstock 3
Fitch 2
Jack Gelhaus has saved his best for the end of the season.
The senior had a hand in all three of The Woodstock Academy  goals Oct. 25 as the sixth-seeded Centaurs advanced to an Eastern Connecticut Conference tournament quarterfinal with a 3-2 win over No. 11 Fitch.
Gelhaus got the game-winner with 17 minutes, 58 seconds to play in an exchange of penalty kicks with the Falcons (7-9-1).
Thomas Taber of Fitch had tied the match with 18:44 left on a penalty kick, but just 46 seconds later, the Centaurs were awarded a penalty kick of their own.
“I always go left and I put it bottom left and (the keeper) went right,” Gelhaus said. “There could have been four PK’s in this game, but (the officials) only gave two of them.”
Gelhaus said it felt like a tournament game that finished tied at the end of overtime and was decided by penalty kicks.
The senior had helped Woodstock Academy (11-5-1) forge the early lead when he delivered a pass to Chase Anderson who converted to put the Centaurs on top.
But just two minutes before the break, Fitch countered on a goal by Alex Delcampo.
The score remained tied until midway through the second half when a corner by Gelhaus was headed in by Cole Hackett.
It was the 10th assist of the season for Gelhaus and third goal of the season for Hackett.
“We’ve been trying to do that all season and that’s the second time it’s worked,” Gelhaus said.
That goal set up the exchange of penalty kicks just a couple of minutes later.
“What a performance,” Woodstock Academy coach Paul Rearden said of Gelhaus. “I’ve been coaching him since he was seven or eight (years-old) and that’s the best I’ve seen him play. He’s quality. On the dead balls, he’s pinpoint. He was the difference between us getting a win or not (Wednesday).”
Marc Allard
Sports Information Director
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