Eagles unleash their full offense in win over GHS

“It was like a ping pong game, going back and forth,” said Trumbull High football coach Bob Maffei after his Eagles defeated Greenwich High in a 50-44 thriller at McDougall Stadium this past Friday night. “A win is a win. That’s five in a row for us.”

Trumbull (5-1, 5-0 FCIAC) will visit Wilton High (3-3) at 7 p.m. on Friday. The Warriors are coming off a 35-21 loss to Fairfield Warde.

Nick Roberts led the Eagles through the air with 410 yards and three touchdowns while Marc Cesare rushed for 86 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

Quentin Brunetti had 10 catches for 201 yards and touchdown. Eric Anderson added 81 yards and a score. Liam Moore added a touchdown.

Greenwich (3-3) was led by tailback Austin Longi, who had 330 yards rushing with five touchdowns.

The Cardinals struck first with a 10-play, 66-yard drive capped by an 11-yard Longi run for a 6-0 lead.

Trumbull responded with a 47-yard drive, thanks to 40-yard connection between Roberts and Brunetti. The series resulted in a 38-yard field goal kick by Lance Bragg.

Early in the next Greenwich drive, quarterback Matt Marzulla fumbled the snap and the ball was recovered by Jordan Pabellon to give the Eagles good field position at the Greenwich 34.

Roberts capitalized on the turnover with a 14-yard back corner fade to Brunetti, after a 9-yard completion to Brunetti had put Trumbull in the red zone.

The next Greenwich drive didn’t go well for the Cardinals either, as Marzulla was intercepted Thomas Hayduk at their own 35.

Roberts made the best of the turnover again with a 51-yard touchdown to Anderson.

Roberts had two Greenwich defenders draped on him and he threw to Anderson, who was wide open in the flat at the 30-yard line. Anderson then scampered to the end zone to give Trumbull a 17-6 lead.

Greenwich answered with a six-play, 39-yard drive punctuated by a 16-yard Longi touchdown to make it 17-12.

The Eagles quickly responded with a 50-yard touchdown run from Cesare, who took the handoff off-tackle to the right side and sliced through the defense to take the score to 24-12, after Bragg’s third straight PAT.

The Cardinals came back with an 80-yard drive finished with a Marzulla 11-yard rush on a read-option keep from the quarterback.

After a Trumbull three-and-out, Greenwich fumbled the ball at the Trumbull 36-yard line and it was recovered by Dan McInerny.

Trumbull made it count again. Roberts first found Brunetti for 31 yards to set up a 13-yard touchdown from Cesare to give Trumbull a 31-18 lead at the half.

“Nick (Roberts) and M.J. (Cesare), our receivers and our line pass blocked very well,” Maffei said. “I think Nick got sacked or hurried maybe twice the whole game.”

The Cardinals opened the second half with a nine-play drive of 41 yards on runs from Longi and Tom Rappa.

Longi capped the drive with a 3-yard score to make it 31-24.

On the ensuing Trumbull possession, the Eagles were driving when Roberts was intercepted by Gardy LeBon.

Greenwich capitalized with a 3-yard Rappa touchdown, which was set up by a 49-yard Longi rush, to tie the game at 31-31 midway through the third quarter.

Trumbull regained the lead with a 10-play, 67-yard drive.

Roberts’ strike to Hayduk for 38 yards moved the Eagles into the Cardinals red zone. Roberts then found Cesare for 11 yards before he hit Moore in the flat for a 4-yard touchdown to lead 37-31.

Greenwich struck back with Longi.

His first rush was a 32-yard dash to the Trumbull 34. Longi then scored from 34 yards out to tie the game.

Trumbull tried to answer on its next drive, but Roberts was intercepted by Jack Weigold at midfield.

Longi rushed for 15 to set up a 28-yard score and give Greenwich a 44-37 lead with seven minutes left in the game.

The Eagles returned the serve, marching 58 yards in six plays thanks to a 41-yard connection from Roberts to Brunetti.

Cesare then rushed for 4 yards to tie the game at 44.

Trumbull’s defense stepped up on the next Greenwich drive. The Eagles forced a fourth down fake punt attempt from Greenwich that came up a yard short to give the Eagles the ball back at the 48.

“We had to set our edges a little better and come up and tackle. You can’t tackle him (Longi) up high,” Maffei said.

The big defensive stop gave the Eagles the momentum with a little over two minutes left to play.

Roberts led the drive of 52 yards, thanks to a 29-yard connection to Brunetti, to set up Cesare’s 10-yard score to give the Eagles a 50-44 lead with 1:49 to play.

Greenwich started at its 35 with 1:43 in the game. Marzulla dropped back on the first play and threw an incompletion.

Marzulla then found Jack Harrington on a screen that was sniffed out by the Eagles defense for an 11-yard loss.

On 3rd-and-21, Marzulla scrambled for nine to make it 4th-and-12 with just over a minute left.

Marzulla dropped back and rushed forward to evade the rush, began to run and crossed the line of scrimmage after he sent a pass downfield.

Although his pass was complete for a first down, flags were thrown and the officials ruled it an illegal forward pass to seal the fifth straight victory of the season for the Trumbull Eagles.

“As long as our guys catch the ball and Nick gets protection that’s what going to happen,” Maffei said of the win. “We caught the ball in traffic a lot of times and hung on. We played a pretty great offensive game today.”