Windham ousts Cavs in football quarterfinal



WINDHAM – If you stacked up the list of "Dos" and "Don’ts" heading into Saturday’s Division II quarterfinal at top-seeded and undefeated Windham High School, "Hold on to the ball," would top the list.

Hollis Brookline simply couldn’t get over that first hurdle, losing six fumbles in a 52-7 blowout loss to the Jaguars.

The Cavaliers finished up the year at 7-3, with two of the losses to Windham, the clear favorite to the win the title, by a combined 93-21.

"You can’t fumble the ball six times and beat any team, let alone a football team like that," Hollis coach Chris Lones said, whose club showed amazing grit down the stretch to earn a second shot at the Jaguars. "We didn’t take care of the ball, and it’s history. That’s the difference right there, six turnovers that they turned into four touchdowns."

After falling behind 14-7 in a hotly-contested first quarter, the Cavaliers self-destructed in the second quarter.

Holding on to the football for nearly the first seven minutes of the second, Windham put the Cavs away.

The barrage was ugly.

Victor Pizzotti touchdown.

Fumble lost on the kickoff.

Pizzotti touchdown.

Fumble lost on the kickoff.

Pizzotti touchdown.

By the time Hollis Brookline got to run a play, it was 35-7 and over.

"It’s just an onside kick, and mistakes. It starts with us as coaches," said Lones.

Things looked OK for HB early, especially when junior QB Joey Delaney broke the pocket and scrambled in for a 14-yard TD to make it 7-7 early.

Windham just got rolling too fast and destroyed any upset plans the Cavaliers had. Pizzotti, the dominant physical force in D-II, had 149 yards on 16 carries with four TDs for the Jaguars, who finished with 521 yards of offense, compared to 225 for Hollis Brookline.

Despite the tough loss, Lones remained upbeat.

"Back in August, nobody picked us to be here. Everyone had HB last," the coach said. "We’ve been as good an offensive team as the school has ever had and we have so much talent coming back."

Included in that group are the explosive Delaney and his top receiver Matt Simco (six catches, 69 yards).

"Four of five offensive linemen are back too," said Lones. "We just have to fill some pieces."

Lones pointed across the way at Windham as the example for success.

"They’re the footprint of what you want to be, everyone is looking to be them," Lones said. "You’re just re-tooling every year, not rebuilding."