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Greenwich vs. Cambridge football

Greenwich quarterback Cole Burgess calls out the signals as the Witches drive on Cambridge during the second quarter of Saturday's Class D football game. Greenwich won 43-38.

Will Springstead, springstead@poststar.com

CAMBRIDGE — Greenwich senior Cole Burgess does have one weakness: hydration. He said he always is cramping, and he missed several plays while trying to work out a leg cramp originally suffered about four minutes into the third quarter of Saturday’s football game.

Those plays were welcome relief for Cambridge. Burgess rushed 20 times for 219 yards and three touchdowns, and also threw for 164 yards and another score as No. 4 Greenwich edged No. 1 Cambridge 43-38 in a battle of state-ranked Class D schools before a standing-room-only crowd that circled three-quarters of the field.

It also snapped Cambridge’s 17-game winning streak as defending state champions.

“That’s a nice win,” Burgess said. “We haven’t beat them (since 1998), so we had this marked up.”

The first quarter went decidedly Greenwich’s way. The Witches scored on their first possession, going 73 yards in eight plays and capping it with Reese Cristaldi’s 10-yard touchdown run.

Cambridge (1-1 division, 4-1 overall) drove 57 yards on its first possession before fumbling the ball over to Greenwich (2-0, 5-0). The Witches scored just before the quarter ended on Burgess’ 5-yard run.

Some key injuries made things worse for Cambridge. Starting linebacker Brenden Holcomb was lost on the opening kickoff and, in a scary moment late in the first, starting safety Jacob Peters hit his head on a tackle and was placed in a brace and taken off the field via ambulance.

The teams traded scores and the Witches entered halftime with a 21-8 lead. What happened next surprised no one, least of all Greenwich: Cambridge rallied.

The Indians scored on their first drive of the third quarter with a Tommy English 1-yard run to make it 21-14. English scored the next time and added the conversion to give Cambridge its first lead, 22-21.

“We didn’t expect to fall apart for eight to 10 minutes, but certainly we expected (Cambridge) to answer because that’s what they’ve always done,” Greenwich coach Brandon Linnett said. “I was real happy with the way we responded after going down, because you don’t know what your team’s made of until that happens.”

Greenwich retook the lead on Cristaldi’s 5-yard run, then added a 22-yard run by Burgess to make it 36-22 with 3:31 left in the game.

But Cambridge quarterback Zack Rowland’s 7-yard touchdown run and a conversion made it 36-30. After the kickoff, Greenwich took over on its 39 with 1:15 left.

Burgess ran to the right side, got near the sideline, then cut back and ran through open space to scamper 61 yards for the clinching score.

“I was just trying to get 10 yards so we could win the game, but I scored,” Burgess said.

Cambridge added a final score with 1.4 seconds left on a 29-yard pass from Zack Rowland to little brother Brad Rowland, but Greenwich fielded the onside kick for the win.

“It says a lot,” Burgess said of the win. “We were the underdogs, we had a lot of doubters. Pulled it through.”

“Our defense has played well, but that’s a different animal over there, and you just saw them score twice in 15 seconds, it seemed like,” Linnett said. “We had the game twice. We honestly thought we’d have to score in the 40s.”

Linnett said an important key to victory was Burgess’ passing ability.

“Cole was just real accurate the first half, did enough, made big plays, wasn’t selfish. His arm really got us that jump in the first half as much as his legs,” Linnett said.

Cristaldi added 91 yards and two scores on 20 carries. For Cambridge, Jonas Butz and English had 151 and 108 yards rushing, respectively, with three touchdowns, while Zack Rowland threw for 143 yards and a score.

Cambridge coach Doug Luke said his team lost the physicality battle to Greenwich.

“They were the better team today, I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Luke said. “They were more physical than us and they made the play every time they needed to. Good for them, and hopefully we’ll come back again and meet them later in the season.”

Greenwich 43, Cambridge 38

Greenwich 14 7 0 22 — 43

Cambridge 0 8 14 16 — 38

First quarter

Gre — Cristaldi 10 run (Albrecht kick), 8:14

Gre — Burgess 5 run (Albrecht kick), :05

Second quarter

Cam — Butz 15 run (English run), 10:14

Gre — Smith 5 pass from Burgess, 6:42

Third quarter

Cam — English 1 run (run failed), 8:56

Cam — English 3 run (English run), 4:40

Fourth quarter

Gre — Cristaldi 5 run (Cristaldi run), 11:52

Gre — Burgess 22 run (Albrecht kick), 3:31

Cam — Z.Rowland 7 run (English run), 1:18

Gre — Burgess 61 run (Albrecht kick), 1:01

Cam — B.Rowland 29 pass from Z.Rowland (Linendoll run), :01.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Greenwich: Burgess 20-219, 3TD, Cristaldi 20-91, 2TD, Smith 3-7, Mosher 3-4. Cambridge: Butz 16-151, TD, English 19-108, 2TD, Z.Rowland 4-11, TD, Linendoll 2-10, Dean 1-3, Ogilvie 1-0.

PASSING — Greenwich: Burgess 8-12-0, 164 yards, TD. Cambridge: Z.Rowland 7-13-2, 143 yards, TD.

RECEIVING — Greenwich: Walsh 3-64, Smith 4-59, TD, Bruce 1-41. Cambridge: Ogilvie 1-48, B.Rowland 1-29, TD, Dean 2-22, Peters 1-16, Linendoll 1-15, Sgambettera 1-14.

Greenwich 43, Cambridge 38

Greenwich 14 7 0 22 — 43

Cambridge 0 8 14 16 — 38

First quarter

Gre — Cristaldi 10 run (Albrecht kick), 8:14

Gre — Burgess 5 run (Albrecht kick), :05

Second quarter

Cam — Butz 15 run (English run), 10:14

Gre — J. Smith 5 pass from Burgess (Albrecht kick), 6:42

Third quarter

Cam — English 1 run (run failed), 8:56

Cam — English 3 run (English run), 4:40

Fourth quarter

Gre — Cristaldi 5 run (Cristaldi run), 11:52

Gre — Burgess 22 run (Albrecht kick), 3:31

Cam — Z.Rowland 7 run (English run), 1:18

Gre — Burgess 61 run (Albrecht kick), 1:01

Cam — B.Rowland 29 pass from Z.Rowland (Linendoll run), :01.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Greenwich: Burgess 20-219, 3TD, Cristaldi 20-91, 2TD, J.Smith 3-7, Mosher 3-4. Cambridge: Butz 16-151, TD, English 19-108, 2TD, Z.Rowland 4-11, TD, Linendoll 2-10, Dean 1-3, Ogilvie 1-0.

PASSING — Greenwich: Burgess 8-12-0, 164 yards, TD. Cambridge: Z.Rowland 7-13-2, 143 yards, TD.

RECEIVING — Greenwich: Walsh 3-64, J.Smith 4-59, TD, Bruce 1-41. Cambridge: Ogilvie 1-48, B.Rowland 1-29, TD, Dean 2-22, Peters 1-16, Linendoll 1-15, Sgambettera 1-14.

Follow Will Springstead on Twitter @WSpringsteadPSV.

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