Despite turning the ball over on its first two possessions Friday, Masuk bounced back to do what it’s done almost all season: score, and score some more.
With a dynamite performance from senior wide receiver PJ Kokkoros, the Panthers rolled to a 44-20 win over visiting Bunnell to start 3-0 on the season. Stunningly, it was the Panthers’ lowest scoring day after blowout wins over New Milford (71-34) and Notre Dame-Fairfield (55-6) the last two weeks.
“I’m happy to be 3-0. We’re excited about that opportunity,” Masuk head coach David Brennan said. “We wanted to look at Bunnell as kind of a litmus test for us.”
Senior quarterback Malik Cummings, who threw two interceptions in the first quarter, turned around his night in a hurry. He orchestrated a nine-play, 69-yard scoring drive late in the first quarter, a trip that culminated with Michael Dellapiano’s 1-yard run to make it 7-0. Cummings had a 14-yard scramble on the drive and also connected with Kokkoros 37 yards through the air.
Kokkoros, after his career-best 208 yard receiving day, lauded Cummings, who led Masuk to the L state semifinals in 2012 after replacing Casey Cochran.
“He’s done a great job,” Kokkoros said. “It’s his fourth year playing football and he’s on the roll to breaking records.”
The wide receiver believes that others were “doubting” Masuk coming into this season after the Panthers graduated all-state wide receiver Thomas Milone and lost their head coach, John Murphy, to New Milford. But the Panthers have been pretty convincing to start the year.
“We’ve got these players who know one knows about,” Kokkoros said. “They get the job done.”
- Masuk was whistled for more than 10 penalties, including multiple 15-yard calls for unsportsmanlike conduct. Brennan would like to see his team erase those decisions.”We have to make sure that no matter what, we maintain our focus,” the coach said. “It was kind of an ugly second half. When games go that way, it’s the mature teams that can rally and try to score.” Said Kokkoros:”That’s what’s bringing us down. We just need to come together as a team and focus, and realize that when we’re up 30 points, you can’t keep on getting mad at each other.”