This time there were no doubts.
No one could question it. No one could stir controversy, suggesting that the outcome should have been different.
This time, Fairfield County’s amalgamation of football talent, if not a true all-star team, actually went out and brutally snatched back the Hall of Fame Classic football trophy from the bullies of New Haven County on Saturday.
For the first time since — hold on, let’s check the program — um, ever? the Fairfield County all-stars put a whupping on New Haven County.
The 34-14 victory in Saturday’s regional all-star game was just the fifth Fairfield County win in the series’ 15-year history.
The 20-point win was also the county’s biggest margin of victory of the series, topping a mere 10-point margin in 2001.
Aside from controversial, one-point, double-overtime Fairfield County victory in 2008, New Haven County’s all-stars had annually beat on Fairfield County like a speedbag, winning seven of eight years by an average of 24 points.
And it gave a few of Fairfield County chapter members stomach aches, culminating in Jerry McDougall‘s impassioned plea to members to make sure “we win that game!” at a chapter meeting following an embarrassing 49-0 loss in 2009.
And, honestly, Fairfield County’s 2011 roster didn’t exactly look like a world beater on Thursday. Sure, it had Tyler Matakevich, Joe Della Vecchia, Phil Terio, the Brothers Maxen (Willie and Kevin) and a couple others from the Governor’s Cup all-star game two weeks ago.
But missing were large chunks of significant Fairfield County programs. Greenwich, New Canaan, Staples, Brookfield, Bunnell, Ridgefield, Bethel… New Haven, meanwhile, brought kids from almost all of its member schools, including everybody’s MVP Montrell Dobbs of Ansonia.
We’d seen this many, many times before. Just with different names.
So, yeah. That equation didn’t look like it would add up to a Fairfield County victory.
And when Foran’s Tucker Schumitz threw a touchdown pass to Notre Dame’s quarterback Sean Goldrich, in a flaunting display of New Haven ingenuity and dominance that has come to define these games, it looked as if the rout would be on again.
Of course, it was. Just not the team we thought.
Thankfully, Fairfield County coach Joe Della Vecchia had the big guns from his back-to-back St. Joseph state championship teams on his side — son Joe Della Vecchia and Tyler Matakevich.
The teammates (who were joined by fellow St. Joseph alums Jerry Kramer, Nick Adzima, Mike Marini and Ryan Mrozek) partied like it was 2010, hooking up three times for touchdowns.
The other touchdown toss was to Trumbull’s Phil Terio, who, until practices began two weeks ago, represented St. Joseph’s mortal enemy.
“There’s the whole Trumbull/St. Joe’s thing, but me and Phil are friends. I knew he’d catch it,” Della Vecchia said of his toss to Terio.
As for his four-year teammate: “Tyler, he’s just really reliable.”
It also must have helped that Della Vecchia had spent his last two games preparing to stop Dobbs. Perhaps armed with lessons learned in the Class S state championship victory over Ansonia, in which Dobbs ran for 303 yards, Della Vecchia’s Fairfield County all-stars put the breaks on the UConn recruit.
Two weeks after torching Rhode Island in the second half of the Governor’s Cup, Dobbs was held to 32 yards on just 12 carries by a front seven defensive unit that included Masuk’s Tim Allen (I was told he was “out for blood” by one of his assistant coaches from Masuk), Pomperaug’s Willie Maxen, Harding’s underrated big man Alvin Garcia, Stamford LB Mark Robinson and Harding LB Myles Gordon.
Fairfield County sacked Goldrich (the New Hampshire recruit who was 11-for-11 passing until leaving the game with a separated shoulder) and Schumitz seven times.
Schumitz, who I submit would have been an all-star had he not broke his collar in Week 3, was the New Haven MVP. Shelton’s Cody Kitson was also a standout on the defensive side.
But, for now, all’s well for now in the Ralph DeSantis Fairfield County chapter of the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame.
Do they have to work to shore up participation in the coming years? It can’t hurt.
But as the 2011 Fairfield County edition showed Saturday, all you really need is the right mix of outstanding football players to win the Hall of Fame Classic.
AN ASIDE: No, I did not attend. I had tickets to see Yankees-Rays at the Stadium Saturday. So I got to witness this from the bleachers.
Sorry. It’s my summer vacation. Hey, at least I got to catch the second half on Sportingnewsct.com.
Thanks to all the seniors who participated in the game. It’s been a pleasure watching all of you play these past four years.
As for the rest of us returning, unless something breaks, we’ll see you in a few weeks.