STONINGTON — Another Stonington High football game, another blowout win for the Bears.
This one was a 55-7 beatdown of Montville in an ECC Division III contest Friday night at Palmer Field.
The Bears are rolling on an unprecedented three-game streak of dominance, outscoring opponents 163-7 and turning second halves into running-clock mismatches. But in two weeks, Stonington will get a better indication of how close it stands to the top of the ECC.
Powerful, massive Killingly, a Division III rival and the conference's best team in the last five years, will bring its 300-pound linemen and 220-pound running back to Palmer Field for one of Stonington's biggest ECC home games since a thrilling 28-21 Bears win over playoff-bound Ledyard in 2013.
Yes, 3-0 Killingly vs. 3-1 Stonington qualifies as a marquee matchup in the new landscape of the post-COVID ECC.
"Killingly is a different monster, " Bears coach A.J. Massengale said.
Stonington hums into its bye week after Friday's rout of Montville (0-3, 0-1 Division II), but certainly not convincing all area pundits who may point to the fact it has beaten three winless teams in unusually bleak rebuilding years.
But one thing is certain, Stonington (2-0 Division II) stands much closer to the top of the ECC than it does the middle or bottom, where its last three victims reside: Griswold/Wheeler, which lost 60-0 to the Bears, Bacon Academy, which fell 49-0, and once-powerful Montville.
"You can only play who's on the schedule," Massengale said. "I'll tell you this much. I love our kids. They're an awesome group that plays really hard and is supportive of each other. They celebrate each other's success."
There has been plenty to celebrate. Unlike their last two wins, the Bears actually trailed Friday. Montville scored on its opening possession when quarterback Chas Terni passed 37 yards to freshman receiver Aidan Johnson (four catches, 127 yards) to set up his own 6-yard TD run.
That early score only served to poke the Bear. You may not want to poke these Bears, especially not a rebuilding Montville, which was short a few starters because of school-issue reasons.
Stonington scored on its next five possessions of the first half to take a 35-7 halftime lead. How easy was it? Stonington had two long touchdown runs called back because of penalties but ultimately scored just a couple of plays later.
The Bears ran for 255 yards on 18 first-half carries. Aside from committing a few penalties, Stonington's offensive line of center Alex Castigliuolo, guards Jameson Griffith and Trevor Costa, tackles Sam Youtt and Jacob Yackley, and tight end Patrick Obrey dominated, blowing holes for numerous backs to charge 8 yards up the field before they were met with arm tackles if any contact at all.
Matt Castigliuolo ran for 113 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown (5 yards). Quarterback Lucian Tedeschi ran for 73 yards on four carries. Wingback Josh Mooney had two carries — touchdown runs of 14 and 31 yards. Will French, a starting defensive back who comes off the bench at halfback, ran five times for 68 yards and three TDs of 4, 16 and 26 yards.
"It definitely makes the offensive line feel explosive that we can create space for a number of backs to pile up yards," Youtt said. "The coaches were looking for 300 rushing yards. We got close to that in a half."
In a sign that the rich get richer, Stonington welcomed the return of Dorian White, who was the starting quarterback for the season opener but missed two games with an upper-body injury.
White relieved Tedeschi late in the second quarter and completed five of seven passes for 63 yards, including a 6-yard TD to Brady Mullen. White would have had more yards but an 83-yard scoring pass to Josiah Blackman was called back for an unnecessary illegal block downfield.
But nobody left unsatisfied in this one. Blackman took the second-half kickoff and returned it 80 yards on a beautiful zig-zag run for a touchdown.
"I owe him a pizza," Massengale said. "I think it was Josiah's idea. The kids said if they return a kick for a score, I'd have to buy a pizza. I owe a lot of these kids pizzas from lacrosse. I have to make good one of these days."
Linebacker Jack Zuro led Stonington's defense with four tackles for losses, including a double-twirl of Indians power back Miles Sarmiento for an 11-yard loss. Noah Christina intercepted a pass.
Still, Stonington wasn't perfect, losing a fumble and committing seven penalties for 70 yards.
"Those are mistakes that definitely cannot happen if you want to win a close game," Massengale said. "They're learning. On Josiah's kickoff return, some kids ran to the end zone to congratulate him and got a penalty. They didn't realize you can't do that."
Overall, though, Stonington oozes with confidence and enthusiasm.
"It's fun winning blowout games," Youtt said. "Even if the game is over by halftime, we love to celebrate and have fun."