Ludlowe, Trumbull football want to show talent, earn first win

Ludlowe and Trumbull will look to prove the talent on their respective teams will outweigh their combined 0-3 start to the season when the FCIAC football rivals meet at Taft Field tonight at 6.

Ludlowe coach Mitch Ross said that his team is ready to change direction after losing close decisions to Norwalk (28-21) and Wilton (21-14).

“Trumbull is very good. They are very big and physical. They got off to a slow first half start, which hurt them against Staples (a 27-20 loss). They are certainly a playoff caliber team,” Ross said. “We will have to play our ‘A’ game. We cleaned up the (five) turnovers from the Norwalk game. Now we have got to clean up the mental mistakes that cost us against Wilton.”

Trumbull coach Marce Petroccio said his team is ready to play, after having its week two game with Westhill postponed by COVID-19 protocols.

“We were hitting our stride after game one. We came out in the second half and played well,” he said of his squad coming back from a 14-0 halftime deficit to tie the game in the fourth quarter. “We made less mistakes. Even after they scored to take the lead with 17 seconds left, we went down the field again.”

Ludlowe will go with a young quarterback due to necessity; Trumbull has its first option.

Ross said: “We lost senior Dom Bellucci halfway through our first game. Jackson Cooke is a junior and getting up to speed. He should be more comfortable this week and I expect good things from him.”

Trumbull’s Hunter Agosti threw for two touchdowns against Staples.

Petroccio said: “I thought Hunter Agosti played well in his first varsity start. We had missed assignments on the line that hurt. We did things we characteristically don’t do. We roughed the punter. We had two personal foul penalties. We couldn’t make an extra point or a two-point conversion. We feel that we could have played better than we did. We’ve worked hard this past two weeks to correct those mistakes.”

Ludlowe is counting on its running game and a stout defense.

“Offensively, we’ve become much more of a running team thanks to an improved line,” Ross said. “Aaron Fields and Denham Feldman have been running the ball well. Aaron had well over 100 yards rushing in our last game. Denham added to that total as well. Our coaches have done a great job getting our defense ready.”

Petroccio recognizes Ludlowe’s balance.

“Their running game has improved and they can throw the ball,” he said. “This will be a good game. We want our defense to get us the ball back three-and-out and then show consistency on offense.”

Trumbull will be led by linebackers Jordan Black and Jake Peterson, safeties Owen Solano and Corbin Smith, and the line play by Dylan Moran, Cooper Dayton and Jake DelFino.

The team that scores first and makes the other team chase will have a leg up.

“We have got to start a bit quicker and keep going through the full game,” Ross said. “Despite the record we are a good team. We have got to prove it on the field. Both our games involved significant second half comebacks that didn’t quite put us over the top.”

Petroccio said: “The problems we had on offense wasn’t a physical thing, it was more about execution. The kids understand what went wrong in the Staples game. You can’t start off your first game in two years with a turnover. We all own a piece of what happened, but we’ve moved on. We had positive things to bring forward. We didn’t fold. Our kids showed grit and tenacity.

“There were 4,000 people there. It was a big-time atmosphere, well attended by both sides. The crowd was amazing,” he added. “When things went wrong, we unraveled a bit. What I loved was the fact we came out in second half and did a great job on both sides of the ball. We are confident it won’t take us a half to get going.”

william.bloxsom@hearstmediact.com Twitter: @blox354