There were plenty of talking points from Staples wild 49-42 win over Trumbull.
It was a classic back-and-forth contest; each time Trumbull scored, Staples responded. The teams traded scores and even occasional defensive stops until Staples had the final say.
Trumbull, which led 35-28 with less than six minutes left, appeared it would force a stop on the penultimate Staples’ drive in regulation thanks to some untimely penalties by the offense. The Wreckers committed three personal fouls on the drive, which eventually resulted in a third-and-29 from the Staples 49.
The Eagles intercepted the pass, but pass interference was called, moving the ball up to the Trumbull 36. Jack Massie was sacked on the next play, bringing up a fourth-and 17 from the 39.
Massie then delivered a 26-yard strike to Teddy Coogan, who made an excellent catch. Two plays later Patrick Lesch was in the end zone and the score was 35-35.
The Wreckers were also called for holding on the drive, so that’s 55 yards worth of penalties and thy still managed to score.
The Eagles responded as if their undefeated FCIAC season was on the line.
Led by running back Marc Cesare, who had 244 yards on 38 carries and six touchdowns Friday, Trumbull marched down the field. Cesare had runs of 11 — on a crucial third-and-1– and 19 yards to get the Eagles in striking distance. After the fourth personal foul of the game against the Staples put the ball inside the 10, Cesare finished off the drive with a 5-yard run on second down.
This is where you enter the Eagles scored too quickly cliché, because Staples was left with 1:25 and a timeout to get the tying score.
It was almost all over on the first play of the drive, as a slant pass deflected into the air and nearly into the arms of a Trumbull defender. Massie, displaying ridiculous poise given the situation, shook off the near-disaster and hit Will Johnson for 15 yards on the next play. Lesch then followed with a 22-yard run and Staples was in business.
Facing a third-and-10 from the Trumbull 29 with 30 seconds left, Massie lofted a pass into the corner of the end zone that Johnson laid out for, catching it with just enough space to get his feet down.
“We knew we had the team to win, even though there isn’t much time left our offense was confident we could score,” Massie said. “Great receivers like Will Johnson made a spectacular catch; we are very happy right now.”
“I expected him to make that catch.”
The comeback would have been for naught if not forcing a stop in overtime. After Jack Greenwald scored from five yards out to give Staples its second lead of the game, Cesare was stuffed on back-to-back carries and Nick Roberts overthrew a receiver in the end zone. On the game’s final play, Roberts found Quentin Brunetti , but he was tackled five yards from the end zone.
“I’m not going to lie, I got down on my knees and I prayed that we could stop them,” Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. “Thankfully my prayers were answered. We waited four quarters and the last play of overtime to play defense and the kids made a great play.”
Whatever pact Trumbull made to survive these crazy games it has been involved in lately was broken and the loss means both teams are now 6-1 in the conference with the regular season winding down. It will be interesting to see how this result affects both squads going forward.