Staples secures spot in state semifinals

by Jesse Quinlan on
Tue, Nov 27, 2012 10:49 PM

Four touchdowns, 255 yards and yet another dazzling display from a team with an embarrassment of offensive riches.
And that was just the first quarter.
So much for the possibility of a malaise just five days after the euphoria of winning another FCIAC championship.
Top-seeded Staples, a team bent on returning to Rentschler Field, took yet another step toward that ultimate goal with a dominating first half performance en route to a 42-20 victory over eighth-seeded West Haven in a Class LL quarterfinal round matchup in chilly Westport Tuesday night.
Looking for quick-strike ability? How's this -- three of the Wreckers' first four touchdowns came on the first play of the drive.
Want a team that can have success both on the ground and in the air? How's this -- junior quarterback Jack Massie connected with senior wideout James Frusciante for three touchdowns, while senior Joey Zelkowitz ran for two scores and classmate Nick Kelly ripped off another on a perfectly-executed 92-yard option play.
"We like to start real fast and score early and often," said Zelkowitz, who followed up his FCIAC championship game MVP performance with a four-carry, 79-yard effort, including first-half scoring runs of 9 and 4 yards. "The goal is to get back to the state finals, but really all year the goal has been to go 1-0 every week."
So far, so good for the unbeaten Wreckers (10-0), who have rolled up a state-best 512 points and will take on Wednesday's winner between No. 4 Newtown and No. 5 Norwich Free Academy in the Class LL semifinals on Sunday.
One of the key reasons for the Wreckers' perfect start has been the play of their offensive line, which features four seniors and 250-pound plus player at every position.
That unit once again did its job -- and then some -- on this night, paving the way for an offense that produced 340 yards in the first half and scored on its first five possessions.
"We're a tight-knit group and we take a lot of pride in our play," center Chris Speer said. "Really, it's a team effort and right now we're clicking on all cylinders. We have so many weapons, so it's pretty fun to watch those guys do their thing when they get into the open field."
Frusciante is one of those weapons, and he set the tone by catching a hitch pass from Massie on the game's first play from scrimmage and taking it 60 yards after shaking two defenders.
"It was definitely a good way to get started," said Frusciante, who also hauled in a 48-yard pass to give the Wreckers a 28-0 lead late in the first quarter before adding a game-sealing 41-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.
"It all starts up front with our line, they give us a lot of time to make things happen."
Staples' defense came through too, getting an interception from Lance Lonergan and twice holding West Haven (8-3) on fourth down deep in Wreckers' territory.
After giving up a 48-yard run by speedy junior Ervin Phillips (21 carries for 125 yards) on the Westies' first drive -- which stalled on the 8-yard-line on a fourth-down pass breakup by Greg Strauss -- the Wreckers held West Haven to just 48 more total yards the rest of the half.
The Westies -- playing without injured starting quarterback Javon Taylor -- finally got on the board with 3:49 left in the third quarter on a 6-yard run by Phillips, who would later throw fourth-quarter touchdown passes of 29 and 15 yards to junior Duane Gary.
But it was all too little and too late against a swarming Staples defense.
"Our goal was to try and stop (Phillips)," Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. "I think overall we did a pretty good job of it tonight."
"Our goal was to try and stop (Phillips)," Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. "I think overall we did a pretty good job of it tonight."

Read more:


Scores / Schedules

Latest Tweets