Another game, another dominant effort for the Greenwich High football team.
Behind a superb defensive showing and a solid performance offensively, the Cardinals improved to 4-0, routing host Fairfield Ludlowe Friday night, 40-14.
The game marked the return of senior quarterback Liam O’Neil, who missed the first three games of the season with a fractured finger on his throwing hand. O’Neil completed 13-of-19 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
O’Neil spread the ball around to his receiving corps. Junior Jose Melo, who started at quarterback in place of O’Neil when he was injured, caught six passes for 84 yards, senior Vincent Ferraro had two receptions for 19 yards and a touchdown, senior Joe Kelly caught a 51-yard touchdown pass and Alex McMurray had three receptions.
“It’s awesome the way we can distribute the ball among our talented wideouts,” O’Neil said.
Following the game O’Neil pointed out to me that he had the initials NG on the back of his helmet. He informed me what the NG stood for.
“It’s for Nicole Graham, a student at the school, she was diagnosed with leukemia,” O’Neil said. “I want people to know so they can keep her in their prayers. She’s an incredible girl, a wonderful person.”
Kudos to O’Neil for his special tribute and we at Greenwich Time wish Nicole Graham the best.
The Cardinals’ defense was stingy as usual, limiting Ludlowe to just 76 total yards – the result of quarterback Matt White being sacked four times and the Falcons’ running backs being thrown for a loss several times.
Senior defensive lineman Joe Kelly, junior lineman Jack Wynne, and senior linebacker Matt Bernstein each registered sacks, with Wynne taking White to the turf twice. Senior safety Taylor Olmstead set up a Cardinals’ touchdown with an interception and Bernstein picked off a pass.
Though Greenwich put 40 points on the board, the game moved quickly. When Ludlowe had the ball its strategy was to work the game clock down to about five seconds before running a play.
“They wanted to keep us off the field as much as possible,” GHS coach Rich Albonizio said. “I thought we played well in the first half, but we only had 20 points. They were feisty and tried to make a game of it.”
Sophomore Austin Longi showed his playmaking ability, returning a punt 99 yards for a touchdown. He also ran back a punt for a TD, but the score was nullified by a holding penalty.
McMurray ran for 64 yards and three touchdowns for Greenwich, which turns its attention to Bridgeport Central. The Cardinals will celebrate Homecoming Saturday afternoon against Central.
“Hopefully, we’ll get another big crowd in our second home game,” Olmstead said. “It should be fun.”
“Homecoming is always special for our kids and Central has always given us a tough game,” Albonizio said.