Trumbull scores in final seconds to survive scare from Masuk, which overcame 20-point deficit to take lead in final minute

TRUMBULL — Despite just a six mile drive between the two schools, the Trumbull and Masuk football teams met for the first time in at least a generation, maybe more, to kick off the 2022 season Friday night.

The result? An instant classic.

Masuk overcame a 20-point halftime deficit, took a one point lead on a two-point conversion with 26 seconds left only to have No. 9 Trumbull march down the field and score with just three seconds left to emerge with a heart-pounding 49-43 victory.

“These kids have no quit,” Trumbull coach Marce Petroccio said. “This is a senior-laden team and they showed tonight how important it is to be a senior and to be a Trumbull Eagle. I am so proud of my kids.”

Trumbull junior running back Rowan Johnston broke out after missing the majority of last season with a broken wrist suffered in Week 2, scoring all seven of the Eagles’ touchdowns in the win. Six of his touchdowns came on the ground with the other being a TD reception.

“It was just amazing, we knew we had a good one for a long time,” Petroccio said. “He was hurt last year, and I mean, Rowan Johnston is just phenomenal.”

Trailing 42-35, quarterback Dylan Jackson marched Masuk down the field and with 26 seconds left, hit Shane Walker in the end zone to pull the Panthers within one. In a similar circumstance to last year's Masuk miracle, when the Panthers overcame a 28-point deficit to New Fairfield and won on a 2-point conversion in the final seconds, Masuk coach Steve Christy again elected to go for two.

The two-point conversion was successful, and it appeared as if Masuk would once again pull off the improbable comeback, leading 43-42.

However, 26 seconds would prove to be enough for time for Trumbull.        

“I thought we were going to close it out, but we didn’t,” Christy said. “I am so proud of these kids, I mean come on man, it was an amazing game. I am so proud of my seniors, so proud of the o-line. I am just proud of them.”

Staring down the likely possibility of an 0-1 start, Trumbull took over at the 50-yard line.

“I couldn’t believe it, I thought we had the game lost for sure,” Johnston said.

Trumbull senior quarterback Hunter Agosti was unwavering under pressure, and two passes later the Eagles were on the 3-yard line with three seconds left.

“We were three seconds away,” Christy said. “Maybe we fell a little short, but we are not an easy game to play. I think we showed who we are today.”

On the following play, Johnson broke the line for his seventh touchdown, sending Trumbull into hysteria with a 49-43 Trumbull victory.

“I am about to have a heart attack,” Petroccio said jokingly. “But seriously, we didn’t panic, we did what we had to do, and this is going to help us down the road. We know if we are down with 26 seconds left, we can come back and win it. I am so proud of my kids.”

Trumbull broke into the score column first on a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Agosti to Johnston, but Masuk responded when quarterback Jackson connected with sophomore Shane Walker.

The second quarter belonged to Trumbull. The Eagles took a 27-7 lead on three rushing touchdowns by Johnston, the last of which came in the final second of the half.

Both teams proceeded to trade rushing touchdowns as Trumbull maintained its 20-point lead with 3 minutes left in the third quarter.

Then Masuk came to life.

Jackson found running back Jason Champagne for a 32-yard touchdown, cutting the deficit to 14. Following a successfully recovered onside kick, Jackson completed a 27-yard pass to Shane Walker for his second touchdown to cut the Trumbull lead to 34-28.

The Panthers took a one-point lead with 8:55 remaining in the game when Jackson found the second of the Walker twin receivers, Gavin.

With 4:44 left on the clock, Johnston struck again with a 12-yard rushing touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion to reclaim the lead for Trumbull.

“We hung in there, it wasn’t easy,” Petroccio said. “They are going to win a lot of games, that team. All of the compliments go to Steve Christy, his staff and that Masuk team.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Rowan Johnston, Trumbull RB: Scored all seven of Trumbull’s touchdowns and had around 200 total yards from scrimmage.

NOTES

Estimates vary as to when, if ever, the neighboring towns have met on a football field. GameTimeCT archives go back 40 years, but don’t list any meetings.

TRUMBULL 49, MASUK 43

TRUMBULL    7 20 7 15 —  49
 MASUK           7 0 21 15— 43

  • T—Rowan Johnston 30 pass from Hunter Agosti (kick good)

  • M—Shane Walker 37 pass from Dylan Jackson (kick good)

  • T—Johnston 2 run (kick good)

  • T—Johnston 9 run (kick good)

  • T—Johnston 1 run (kick not good)

  • M—#13 21 run (kick good)

  • T—Johnston 6 run (kick good)

  • M—Jason Champagne 32 pass from Jackson (kick good)

  • M—Shane Walker 27 pass from Jackson (kick good)

  • T—Johnston 12 run (2pt good)

  • M—Gavin Walker 25 run (kick good)

  • M—Shane Walker 4 pass from Jackson (2pt good)

  • T—Johnston 3 run (kick good)

  • Records: Trumbull 1-0; Masuk 0-1.