BY RYAN LACEY
Danbury pushed Staples to the brink in an entertaining FCIAC battle Friday night, trading touchdowns until the Wreckers had the final say, 43-34.
On another night, it would have been the Hatters celebrating a rare victory.
In between the hash marks, Danbury gave Staples everything it could handle. The visitors outgained the Wreckers by nearly 150 yards, held the talented running back duo of Patrick Lesch and Jack Greenwald in check and were one or two plays away from having the Wreckers in real trouble.
After Danbury kicked a field goal to take a 22-21 lead midway through the third quarter, Teddy Coogan took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. The play deflated the Danbury sideline and their energy level was visibly altered.
With nearly all of Danbury’s offensive weapons doubling as defensive players, Staples also wore down the Hatters in the second half with quarterback Jack Massie running the football. Staples had touchdown drives of 50 and 65 yards in the fourth quarter to put the game away. Danbury responded with big plays in the passing game but couldn’t get the stops it needed.
The breaks went Staples way on this night.
- Danbury committed four turnovers to Staples none, missed four extra points, and fell victim to an onside kick by the Wreckers in the first quarter. Not the types of stats you are looking for when trying to upset a team on the road.
- Danbury quarterback Anfreny Ith was flawless for Danbury; both of his interceptions came on balls that should have been caught. He completed 18-of-33 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns. Elijah Duffy and Pierre Moudourou each had over 100 yards at wide receiver.
- First halves have been a major problem for Staples all season. The performance difference is staggering: For the third straight week the Wreckers were involved in a one-score game at the half only to blow the doors off the opposition in the second. That wasn’t quite the case here, but the Wreckers have a plus-3 point differential in first halves and plus-62 in second halves over that span.
- The game was a major improvement for Danbury, which lost 51-6 to Staples en route to an 2-8 season a year ago. It also serves as alarm for the Wreckers, who have yet to produce a complete defensive game for four quarters. Staples is 5-0 in conference play but is going to need to elevate its play with games against New Canaan, Trumbull and Greenwich left on the schedule.