Staples coach Marce Petroccio had a decision to make at halftime of last Friday’s game with Brien McMahon. The Wreckers were leading, 49-0, putting Petroccio on the precipice, with the constraints of the CIAC’s much-ridiculed 50-point rule, of how to play the second half.
Petroccio did it the right way.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for every coach in the league and I would never look to embarrass anyone,” Petroccio said in a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon. “I made a decision that I was going to play the entire JV for the second half of the game. I was not about to make a mockery of the game, and not do what I felt would embarrass (McMahon coach) A.J. Albano and take a knee or have kids fall down. That’s almost a lack of respect for the game.”
It is sad that Petroccio even had to consider handling the situation as he did, having junior varsity kids run between the tackles, getting the chance both to impress their coaches with rare playing time and under Staples’ new lights.
Petroccio said he never considered the ramifications of a possible one-game suspension for winning by more than 50 points — the Wreckers were up 55-0 early in the third quarter — though he said his players did.
“I told the kids I would deal with it,” Petroccio said.
This is going to be an abbreviated post; the interview with Petroccio was compelling, it is an issue I feel strongly about and Petroccio handled it with the same perfection his players exhibited in the first half.
Most interesting is what would have happened had the Wreckers’ 55-0 lead stood. It would have brought the spotlight again on one of the most inane sports rules on any level.
I will have much more on Petroccio and the 50-point rule in a column in Friday’s Advocate.
Game of the Week
Stamford (2-1) at St. Joseph (2-1), Saturday, 2:30. The most compelling game by far on a mediocre slate. Will the Cadets suffer a letdown after their great come-from-behind overtime win over Darien? Will the Black Knights bounce back from a disheartening loss at Ridgefield? Each team will be taking different paths on the crossroad depending on the outcome.
The Fab 5
1. STAPLES (3-0). The Wreckers get a much-needed bye week to rest up from all those trips into the end zone.
2. GREENWICH (2-0). The Cardinals return to action off a bye week to continue on the march that seems to have them headed to a Thanksgiving Day showdown between unbeaten teams with Staples.
3. RIDGEFIELD (2-1). The Tigers will reportedly be without quarterback Connor Rowe again; he is serving a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules. They still looked sharp against Stamford.
4. ST. JOSEPH (2-1). The win over Darien has put the Cadets back into the thick of the state playoff race, though a few difficult tests remain.
5. DARIEN (2-1). The Blue Wave need to get healthy, and probably at least a split with Staples and New Canaan to return to the postseason.