It was an early-season statement game in the Eastern Connecticut Conference for Montville and Waterford Friday.
Montville spoke loud and clear, busting open a one-score lead with one minute left in the first half en route to a 35-2 thumping of the Lancers to rise to 2-0.
"All of a sudden people don't think we're a good football team any more," said Montville senior captain Ken Strecker, who scored two touchdowns. "I don't know what happened, but I think we're pretty good and I'm sure Waterford does now."
Montville coach Tanner Grove has turned a perceived general perception that the Indians have taken a step back after the graduation of MHS all-time greats into a rallying cry for this year's squad. The Indians, with 29 wins and three playoff berths in the last three years, are not finished winning.
"All during the off-season, there was a bit of confusion that perhaps we've forgotten how to play football at Montville," Grove said. "This team came to me and said we have to remind people that we still know how to play here at Montville."
Montville clung to a 7-2 lead with just over a minute left in the second quarter before a 21-yard TD pass from Nick Clemons to receiver Chad Mooney set the tone for the rest of the game.
Tecumseh Champlain's second-half kickoff skidded along the field turf and was mishandled by Waterford, allowing Montville to recover inside the 10-yard line. Strecker carried in from the 5 to make it 21-2 just a minute into the half.
"We were determined to score with the initial third quarter possession to make it 14-9," Waterford coach Mike Ellis said. "Then the turnover on the kickoff was a killer momentum wise."
Montville linebacker Isaiah Holloway fell on one of his three recovered fumbles on Waterford's center exchange flub to set up the Indians' fourth score, a 4-yard scramble by Clemons on 4th-and-goal. Jeremiah Crowley scored a 3-yard run with a minute left and Jay Darney added his fifth conversion kick to the 35-2 final.
Linebackers Holloway and Strecker and lineman Ruben Diaz and Jake Basilica stuffed Waterford's running game of Bishme and Y-Kim Sheppard, who combined for nearly 200 yards in the Lancers' opening 33-28 win over Stonington.
Grove called Montville's second-half domination "a feeding frenzy."
"Yes we lost two great running backs last year," Grove said. "But we have backs who run hard and a lot of defensive linemen and linebackers who were the core of the great defense we've had here."
Waterford's defense deserved a better fate. Defensive lineman Tucker Murphy recorded a safety, sacking Clemons in the endzone. Ron Baude and Kobey Coburn registered sacks, and Dakota Jones and Brian Gencarelli intercepted passes.
"Our defense did not play badly, but our offense couldn't sustain drives and we kept giving Montville a short field," Ellis said.