STAMFORD, Conn. – Rippowam Middle School surrendered its first touchdown of the season, but the Raptors came from behind Sunday to beat Trinity Catholic, 30-8, to win the Stamford Youth Foundation Middle School varsity division championship.
Jon Michael Bivona ran for 90 yards and a touchdown and threw for two more to lead Rippowam (8-0). Tyrell Diaz also ran for two touchdowns.
Rippowam scored on Bivona’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Olgen on its first drive of the game. But Trinity answered with a 78-yard touchdown return by Cameron Kelly. John Petrizzi kicked the conversion for two points, and Rippowam trailed for the first time all season. Trinity then recovered an onsides kick but couldn’t convert it into points.
“We haven’t had a touchdown scored against us all year, and when they score it rattled us a little bit,’’ Rippowam coach Gary Bivona said. “I thought we’d be OK. They definitely had us on our heels.”
Bivona and Olgen hooked up again for the go-ahead touchdown. Facing third-and-21 from their own five, Bivona rolled out on a halfback option and found Olgen. He outleaped two defenders near midfield and raced the rest of the way into the end zone.
Rippowam’s defense took over from there, and did not allow Trinity a first down after the first quarter.
“We have a nose guard, Lexie Burke, that controls the line of scrimmage,’’ Bivona said. “And we have tackles in Diaz and Jonathan Alvarracin that put so much pressure in the middle it can be hard to get the snap off.”
Rippowam outscored opponents 147-2 heading into the game, but Trinity caught the Raptors by surprise by taking the early lead.
“Both teams played well,’’ Trinity coach Dan Scalero said. “We weren’t supposed to be here. I don’t think the final score reflects how the game went.”
Rippowam’s team comprises Jon Michael Bivona, Isaiah Smith, Cael St. Fleur, Jerome Atkins, Isaac Olgen, C.J. Akins, Matthew Maignan, Nico Laveris, Tyrell Diaz, Sam Colandro, Hudson Fleurimond, A.J. Linton, Erik Riettie, Christopher Vukel, Jonathan Saint, Emmanuell Pierre-Louis, Jonathan Alvarracin, Jason Najarro, Mark Soto, Philip Oliveri, Iguenskee Saint-Louis, Mekhi Barnett and Lexie Burke. Bivona's assistants are Phil Olivieri, Frank Colandro, Ernie Jeffers and Mike Vitti.