We returned to normal, somewhat, in Week 2.
Staples put a cap on the groundswell of Norwalk intrigue (at least momentarily).
Masuk sent a message to the rest of the SWC (Frankly, not that anyone needed reminding).
Bethel’s demise has been exaggerated (by me). As has Newtown’s rise (also by me). And we just might have a new No. 2 contender for the SWC Heavyweight Crown: Hello, Bunnell.
The progressive SCC’s conservative crossover week is a pointless endeavor (SCC1 9, SCC2 1 — by a combined score of 274-97. Only North Haven struck a blow for the IIs with its 13-2 victory over Hamden. Law put up the most fight in a losing cause, hanging with James Ward and Wilbur Cross before falling 4).
And finally, I ask the proponents of the 50-point policy to meet me at Camera 3:
Hello. Xavier-Foran coaches and referees agreed to use a running clock in the second half of their game. It took 20 minutes, everybody got playing time, doesn’t seem like any body got hurt. Now, I know Dave Cadelina is clandestinely protesting the policy with these antics, but isn’t a second-half running clock after, say, 35-0 in the third quarter, better than seeing Central punt and take knees on first down, like it has done in its first two two games? Thanks.
So let’s take a quick, league-by-league, look at Week 2:
In the SWC… Masuk put on show, much to the chagrin of the good folks in Southbury. Yes, Casey Cochran threw 5 TDs to a variety of receivers and showed he’s going to be a stud in this league with two TDs (one called back) and a flat pass he took 25-or-so yards, breaking seven or eight Pomperaug tackles in the process.
But Masuk’s defense, to me at least, was the star of this production. Jon Testani picked off two passes and let another slip through his grasp (with nothing but green in front of him), Anthony Calabrese had a fumble recovery and DB
Shawn Flynn, DL Matt Duignan and Co. pounded Pomperaug up front and in the open field. Defense is what makes Masuk one of the top 3 teams in the state. Now, if only they could cut down on the penalties.
Up in Bethel, I got word that the Wildcats were none too pleased with their entry in ‘The Guide.’ Hey, look, they’re still riddled with injuries — four or five regular starters were out — lending me to think Newtown, our Elite 8 No. 8, had enough to get in and out with a victory.
Wrong. Bethel unleashed FB/LB Brian Birdsell and Brandon Schmidt on Newtown. Schimidt, the QB, scored twice including the winner with 34 seconds left. Birdsell had three TDs and was a terror on defense with at least one sack. “They really beat us up up front,” Newtown coach Steve George said. “They were blowing us off the ball.”
It’s back to the drawing board for Newtown. Bethel seems like it’ll have plenty to say in this league.
But, for now, our new No. 2 is Bunnell, which hammered Bethel the week before and then hammered Barlow last week. Bunnell faces Masuk on October 15. Get your tickets now.
Elsewhere: It looks like Brookfield is going to move more toward using QB Boeing Brown. The tall sophomore took the majority of snaps in Brookfield’s rout of Immaculate. The move will free up do-everything senior Brian Kelly… Bunnell looked like the Bunnell of old vs. Barlow, scoring 22 points in the first quarter and rolling to a 55-19 victory. …Stratford is 2-0, needing a field goal to beat New Milford. …For the second-straight week Oxford dominated, this time beating up on New Fairfield 55-21. All nine Oxford TDs came from no less than 45 yards out. Nick D’Onofrio scored on two kickoff returns and finished with four TDs. …Oxford faces Stratford next week in a litmus test of unbeaten SWC teams. …Weston is 2-0 for the first time since…when? The Zito/Bennewicz years? But they had to survive a tremendous effort from ND-Fairfield up-and-comer Nigel Beckford, who carried 15 times for 187 yards and three TDs from 52, 27, 83 yards away. Eddie Hutchins of Weston had an exceptional day, with 163 yards rushing and two TDs. …Weston takes its 2-0 record to Brookfield to prove its worth.
IN THE FCIAC… Staples dashed any Norwalk upset hopes thanks to Tyler Jacobs‘ marvelous evening: punt return TD, three interceptions. Staples is clearly still Staples, with a great defense and an offense that inexorably bleeds you to death with strategic touchdowns.
So Staples is Staples, but Greenwich doesn’t seem like it’s Greenwich. The Cardinals were one play away from going to OT against Stamford, a team that was ripped apart by Ridgefield just the week before. Joel Arroyo saved the Cardinals’ bacon — which was already crisp — with a clutch pick on Stamford’s final drive of the game. Greenwich is 1-1, but that result had people scratching their heads.
Another head-scratcher was New Canaan’s 13-8 lead at halftime over Trinity Catholic. Had many of us wondering just how good this New Canaan edition was. Trinity played well, but its top back Mike Rivas was in and out with a lower-leg injury. And, still, New Canaan just couldn’t seem to get anything going.
Then the second half started. The Rams scored on almost every possession — 35 points — and rolled to the 48-8 victory. OK. So all’s well there.
All’s not well in Trumbull, where St. Joseph was stunned by hungry Wilton 27-7. Anybody who watched the Cadets’ victory over Crosby could smell something wasn’t right. They’re still searching for a tailback and, with LB Kevin Izzo done for the year, the young defense was hurting.
So in came Wilton, backs to the wall with a sloppy loss to Trumbull. Behind QB Sean Carroll, the Warriors played flawless while exposing every St. Joseph flaw in the process. By the end of the game, St. Joseph was done trying to add a cosmetic score, and took a knee. QB Joe Della Vecchia and injured FB/LB Tyler Matakevich sat on the bench well after this was over.
The season’s far from over, but with a trip to tough Darien on Saturday, and then New Canaan two weeks after, St. Joseph’s season is at a critical mass. “It’s an uphill battle for us now,” coach Joe Della Vecchia said. And there’s still no word on if Matakevich will be able to return any time soon.
Elsewhere: Trumbull made short work of Westhill, even without injured back Frankie Gaines. (He’s out with a leg injury) …Central, which plays Trumbull in two weeks, needed just a half to take care of Bassick, and then went to great lengths not to scorein the second half. …There was no looking ahead for Ridgefield, which hammered Ludlowe to set up Friday’s FCIAC Central Division battle at Tiger Hollow (Get your tickets now). …Ludlowe has now been outscored 96-6 to start the year. …Darien beat Danbury 25-13, but it was far from easy. The Hatters outgained Darien 149-124 in the first half, but Wave defense came up big and held Danbury scoreless twice inside the 10. A couple big offensive plays, and Darien was up 25-0 in the fourth quarter. Oughta be a battle down in Trumbull this week: St. Joseph at Darien.
IN THE SCC… It was crossover week, as we mentioned. Lots of ho-hum blowout losses, exceptions being North Haven’s victory over Hamden, Cheshire’s 26-6 win over Hillhouse, in which the Rams led 10-6 at halftime and pulled away late, and Law’s 48-27 loss to Wilbur Cross.
We’ll have video of that game shortly. Law traded blows with Cross all game, but just never could stop back James Ward, who scored five TDs — two rushing, two receiving, one kickoff. Down 36-21 at halftime, Law was looking to pull within one score early in the third, but QB Ryan Fallaguerra had a pass picked off inside the Cross red zone. That was pretty much that.
Finally, Fairfield Prep snapped a 13-game losing streak with a non-conference victory over Griswold. Congrats. Back to the grind next week, boys.
Speaking of Crossovers, Ray Curren has a good chat with ‘The Commish’ in his regular SCC Column. Ray comes to the sames conclusions as I. This seems like a waste of time. The SCC took a bold step with its realignment a few years back — one that a few leagues (cough — FCIAC! — cough) would do well to follow. But there are plenty of good counterpoints form The Commish. There’s no satisfactory solution unless we tell everyone in the state that we’re going to scrap league format and schedule exclusively by class.
At least the SCC’s other seven or eight weeks are highly competitive , which is more than we can say for the other leagues.
IN THE NVL… Everybody’s still going nuts over Nauguatuck, which slammed Torrington in a 48-21 victory. …Ansonia gave the ball to Montrell Dobbs, who went nuts (381 yards and 5 TDs) in a victory over Crosby. …Derby/O’Brien Tech’s Ray Kreiger scored three touchdowns, but the Red Raiders couldn’t stop Dave Coggins or QB Rohan Ifill (who accounted for six TDs, yikes) in a 38-20 loss to Sacred Heart (which is now 2-0). …League favorite Wolcott pounded Wilby. …Seymour played better vs. Watertown, taking an early 7-0 lead. But its overall struggles continued in a 26-7 loss. …Woodland (1-1) beat Kennedy, but only 21-6. …Holy Cross is 2-0 with a dominant win over St. Paul.
James Ward, Wilbur Cross — 140 yards rushing, 2 TDs; 150 yards receiving, 2 TDs, kickoff return TD vs. Law
Montrell Dobbs, Ansonia — 42 carries, 381 yds, 5 TDs vs. Crosby.
Nick D’Onofrio, Oxford – Four touchdowns, including two kickoff return TDs vs. New Fairfield
Tyler Jacobs, Staples – Punt return touchdown, three interceptions vs. Norwalk.
THIS WEEK’S PRIME TIME GAMES
Ansonia at Holy Cross, 7 p.m. — Are the Chargers contenders or pretenders in the NVL?
Xavier at Cheshire, 7 p.m. — Not our region, but the best game in the SCC.
Shelton at Notre Dame-WH, 7 p.m. — This is Shelton’s chance to really matter.
Staples at Ridgefield, 7 p.m. — Ridgefield’s been itching for a rematch all year.
Weston at Brookfield, 7 p.m. — Could Weston actually be for real?
Stratford at Oxford, 1 p.m. — One of these teams will be 3-0.
St. Joseph at Darien, 1:30 p.m. — Big game for Darien. Absolutely critical for St. Joseph.
Pomperaug at Bethel, 7 p.m. — Both teams’ seasons depend on this game.
Note: The Darien at St. Joseph game was incorrectly listed. It has been corrected.