Talk about setting the tone early.
Watching the Greenwich High School football team’s 62-31 win against Trumbull Friday, it was apparent which direction this game was headed practically from the outset.
The Cardinals’ defense made the first statement, making Trumbull go three-and-out on the game’s first possession. Junior defensive lineman Jack Wynne sacked Golden Eagles quarterback Nick Roberts for a 10-yard loss on Trumbull’s second play from scrimmage. Roberts hitting the turf was a scenario the large crowd at Cardinal Stadium saw throughout.
After a short punt, Greenwich took possession on the Trumbull 37-yard line and the Cardinals promptly hit paydirt. Speedy senior running back Alex McMurray scored on Greenwich’s first play from scrimmage, taking a handoff from senior quarterback Jose Melo and sprinting 37 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. The rout was on.
Greenwich’s defense made it tough for Trumbull to get anything generated offensively in the opening half. Wynne and senior defensive lineman Alex McGee combined on a sack on the Golden Eagles’ second possession, senior defensive end Joe Kelly sacked Roberts in the first quarter and McGee got Roberts in his grasp again in the second quarter. The Cardinals (3-0) sacked the Trumbull quarterback six times in the first half and registered eight sacks for the game.
“Defensively, we did a good job of drawing false starts and forcing them to make bad snaps,” said Greenwich senior linebacker Dan Claroni, who registered a sack, blocked a punt and recovered a fumble.
While the defense stopped Trumbull in its tracks, Greenwich’s balanced offensive attack flourished. McMurray, who has done it all for the team, gained 145 yards on 15 carries and scored four touchdowns. Junior quarterback Jose Melo threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns and senior Mark Bernstein bulled his way for 65 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals, who treated their home crowd and the Cardinal Crazies to touchdowns on their first six possessions.
“Our offensive line did a great job of opening holes for us to run,” McMurray said. “They are turning into one of the strengths of our team.”
Leading 42-7 at halftime, a natural letdown may have taken place in the second half for Greenwich, as Trumbull got on track offensively, scoring 18 straight points. But McMurray got the Cards going again. His 43-yard TD run made it a 49-25 game the first play of the final quarter. Looking impressive in all phases of the game, Greenwich, ranked fifth in Class LL heading into the game, kept pace with the top teams in the state.
Here’s a look at Friday’s statistics
Jose Melo threw for 201 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. McMurray (145 yards, 15 carries, four touchdowns), Bernstein (8 carries, 65 yards, one touchdown), Joe Kelly (2 receptions, 26 yards, one touchdown), Vincent Ferraro (3 catches, 72 yards, one touchdown), Bernstein (2 receptions, 59 yards), Shawn Dunster (1 reception, 13 yards), Taylor Olmstead (1 reception, four yards, one touchdown on blocked punt recovery in end zone).
Roberts completed 18-of-28 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown, while constantly being pressured.
My colleague Scott Ericson took some great video of Friday night’s game and will post it on here Saturday, so check it out.