St. Joseph-Warde FB Game
The St. Joseph High football team defeated visiting Fairfield Warde, 49-7, on Saturday afternoon in an FCIAC matchup at Dalling Sports Complex.
Quarterback Jordan Vazzano threw three touchdown passes to pace the Cadets, who improved to 5-2 overall.
“He’s getting better each week,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said of his junior signal caller — who completed 14-of-23 passes for 230 yards.
Jake Pelletier hauled in a pair of scoring tosses from Vazzano on Homecoming Day in Trumbull, including a 58-yarder in the first quarter and a 28-yard strike in the third period.
The senior wide receiver notched a total of seven catches for 148 yards, and also converted all seven extra-point attempts for the Cadets.
Mark Hirschbeck caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Vazzano to open the scoring for St. Joseph at the 7:59 mark of the first quarter.
Mufasa Abdul-Basir added a 20-yard touchdown, Kyron Crawford chipped in with a 28-yard rushing score, and backup quarterback Pat Boyle scrambled for an 11-yard touchdown to round out the St. Joseph offensive attack.
The Cadet defense also got involved in the scoring bonanza, with senior linebacker Jon Prutting returning an interception 32 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the second half.
“It was a big boost for us,” Della Vecchia said.
The defensive TD helped the Cadets break open a 21-0 game at the half, en route to their fifth victory in six games.
“I thought we played a lot better in the second half,” Della Vecchia said. “In the first half, we were a little inconsistent, a couple of penalties hurt us.
“The intensity wasn’t there to start the game. I thought at halftime we picked it up.”
Warde’s lone touchdown came on 16-yard catch-and-run by Collin Ventura on a pass from Brandon Bisack with 31 seconds left to play.
The Mustangs caught St. Joseph off-guard on the game’s opening kickoff, squibbing a kick they recovered at the Cadet 40-yard line.
Tailback Dawud Mohamed carried three times for nine yards, setting up a fourth-and-1, but quarterback Max Garrett was stuffed for no gain by the Cadet defensive line on fourth down resulting in a turnover-on-downs.
St. Joseph responded with a seven-play, 70-yard scoring drive, capped by Vazzano’s play-action touchdown pass to Hirschbeck.
The Cadet line of Nick DelBouno, Tom Adzima, Steve Hashemi, Robert Roehrich and Jordan Vazzano, who replaced injured starter Peter Mestre on the opening series, provided sturdy pass blocking.
“They protected very well,” Della Vecchia said.
After the teams traded punts, Warde embarked on a 12-play drive that started on its own 40 and reached the Cadet 23.
On fourth down, Garrett’s pass was intercepted by Cadet defensive back Darren Jackson.
Three plays later, Pelletier broke across the middle and reeled in a 58-yard strike to push the locals’ margin to 14-0 with 10:50 left to play in the first half.
“We’re trying to be perfect all of the time,” Della Vecchia said.
St. Joseph then forced another three-and-out, taking over at Warde’s 37 after a short punt.
Facing a fourth-and-8, Vazzano found Matt Welch along the left sideline for a 15-yard gain.
Abdul-Basir then picked his way past the Mustang defense and raced 20 yards for a touchdown.
Bisack stepped in behind center and Warde moved inside of the Cadet 30.
On third down, Mustang tailback Kerven Jaques lost control of the football and Cadet lineman Mike Schuchmann recovered it, preserving the 21-0 halftime edge.
Prutting then picked off Bisack’s pass on the second play of the third quarter, returning it for the momentum-swinging score that propelled the Cadets to the win.
The Cadets will look to improve their state playoff positioning down the stretch, with remaining games against Bassick, unbeaten Trinity Catholic (7-0) and Trumbull (3-4).
“We control what we have,” Della Vecchia said of St. Joseph’s playoff chances. “We have three tough ones. We’re just concerned about one at a time. That’s all we can think about now.”
St. Joseph hosts Bassick (1-6) on Friday at 3:30 p.m., while Warde (1-6) hosts unbeaten Staples-Westport (6-0) at Tetreau/Davis Field on Friday at 7.