St. Joseph defeats Prep, Wallace good for 5 TDs
FAIRFIELD — The St. Joseph football team had two weeks to prepare for its game against Fairfield Prep — and that was only for the Xs and Os.
The bye week provided ample time for the current Hogs to brush up on the longstanding rivalry, which was revived earlier this decade. The history lessons came in the form of stories from coaches, teammates or in the case of junior quarterback Jack Wallace, his father Mike — who was a 1985 St. Joseph graduate.
“They lost to Prep his senior year by one,” Jack Wallace said “So he’s like, ‘Make sure you beat them over there.’”
The younger Wallace and the rest of the Hogs didn’t disappoint. On Friday night No. 2 St. Joseph defeated Fairfield Prep 42-13 in front of a near-capacity crowd at Rafferty Stadium estimated at 3,500.
Wallace led the way for St. Joseph with five touchdowns — three thrown to classmate Brady Hutchison. In all, Wallace threw four touchdowns and finished with 196 yards passing. He also ran for a score.
“They had a great day together,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia. “They were on the same page reading what was going on.”
Wallace’s biggest play Friday night is one that doesn’t show up in the box score. St. Joseph led 14-0 at halftime on Wallace touchdown passes to Hutchison and Will Diamantis. Prep answered when freshman quarterback Champ Long capped a 13-play drive to start the third quarter with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Max McGillicuddy that made it 14-6.
Wallace returned serve with an 11-yard touchdown run on the next St. Joseph drive. Again, Prep responded — this time on a short touchdown run by Long to start the fourth quarter.
Ahead 21-13 Wallace and St. Joseph (5-0) faced a third-and-long from midfield with the momentum sliding toward Prep. Wallace eluded a near sack and ran for the first down. It set up Wallace’s second touchdown pass to Hutchison, who caught seven passes for 117 yards.
“I was just being an athlete and making the play the best I can even though no one was open,” Wallace said. “I just used my legs.”
St. Joseph, which hosts fellow unbeaten No. 7 Ridgefield next week, rolled after that. An interception by Preston Kral on the next Prep play from scrimmage set up Jaden Shirden’s short touchdown run that made it 35-13 with 8:29 left. Shirden finished with 172 rushing yards on 17 carries.
The Hogs’ offensive line controlled most of the game, allowing Wallace ample time to throw or running lanes for Shirden.
“I played against (Prep) in the late 70s and early 80s,” Della Vecchia said. “We used to play front of 10,000 people at at Kennedy Stadium so it’s a great rivalry … one of the best in the state. It’s great to bring it back. A lot of these kids their fathers played in it, so it was great they got a taste of it.”
Fairfield Prep (2-3) dropped its second straight and travels to Norwich Free Academy on Oct. 26.
“We’re still learning a little bit as we go and that is not an excuse, but that is a truth about growth and development as a team. We have to be accountable to that starting with me,” Jesuits coach Keith Hellstern said. “We have to take the lessons from this game and use it, because our boys have a lot still to work for. … This season is far from done.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jack Wallace, St. Joseph: Four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown … not too shabby for the junior quarterback.
“Our goal is to be 13-0.” — St. Joseph junior receiver Brady Hutchison.
ST. JOSEPH 42, FAIRFIELD PREP 13
ST. JOSEPH 7 7 7 21—42
FAIRFIELD PREP 0 0 6 7—13
SJ—Brady Hutchison 16 pass Jack Wallace (Austin Jose kick)
SJ—Will Diamantis 22 pass Wallace (Jose kick)
FP—Max McGillicuddy 25 pass Champ Long (pass failed)
SJ—Wallace 11 run (Jose kick)
FP—Long 4 run (James Urban kick)
SJ—Hutchison 6 pass Wallace (Jose kick)
SJ—Jaden Shirden 5 run (Jose kick)
SJ—Hutchison 7 pass Wallace (Jose kick)
Records: St. Joseph 5-0; Fairfield Prep 2-3