Football: St. Joseph defeats Rocky Hill, 49-20

Jared Mallozzi caught three touchdowns passes in St. Joseph's Class S semifinal win over Rocky Hill. - Andy Hutchison photo
Jared Mallozzi caught three touchdowns passes in St. Joseph's Class S semifinal win over Rocky Hill. — Andy Hutchison photo

Just when third-seeded Rocky Hill had a little momentum on its side and appeared posed to have a chance to make it a one-possession game, things turned back in St Joseph’s favor in Sunday’s Class S state playoff semifinal contest at Trumbull High.

With the Cadets leading 28-14 and driving in the second quarter, a deflected fourth down pass landed in the arms of leaping St Joseph receiver Will Diamantis to move the sticks.

This led to a touchdown, as the Cadets pulled away for 49-20 triumph over last year’s state runners-up.

“Sometimes you’ve got to be a little lucky. That was definitely a big play for us,” said St Joe’s coach Joe Della Vecchia, whose second-seeded team will face No. 1 seed Ansonia in Saturday’s 11 a.m. title game at West Haven High's Ken Strong Stadium.

The Cadets did not need much luck in advancing to the pinnacle tilt.

Jared Mallozzi caught three touchdown passes from quarterback David Summers, including an 11 yard reception to open the scoring.

Philip Pasmeg had a pair of TD receptions.

Summers and Jaden Shirden each ran for a TD.

“I think we were very intelligent on offense,” DellaVecchia said.

Shirden got into the end zone on a 2-yard rush for a 14-0 lead.

Summers then connected with Mallozzi on a 26-yard score, as the senior dove and hauled in the pass in the back corner of the end zone.

The Terriers drove to the one-yard line as time ran out in the first quarter and punched it in on a Joe Ferreira rush on the first play of the second making the score 21-7.

Back-to-back offside calls against Rocky Hill on the ensuing kickoff attempt backed the ball up to the 30 for the kick.

Shirden returned the kickoff to the Rocky Hill 49 and one play later Pasmeg caught a pass over the middle and scored to reclaim the Cadets’ three-TD cushion.

Penalties cost the Cadets on the ensuing drive, as the Terriers drove 90 yards to paydirt, culminating with Will White’s 2-yard rushing TD with 4:15 remaining in the half.

St Joe’s faced a 4th and three at the Rocky Hill 35 when the near pass breakup and what would have been a subsequent turnover on downs went for a seven-yard reception by Diamantis.

That led to a seven-yard catch by Pasmeg for a 35-14 lead with 1:55 to go in the half.

Summers broke free to score on a 36-yard keeper less than three minutes into the third period.

The differential meant a running clock.

Mallozzi’s 15-yard touchdown reception late in the third capped the Cadet scoring.

Rocky Hill QB Danny Cavallaro scored on a 1-yard keeper in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.

The Cadets had contributions from throughout its defensive corps, including Darren Warren and Mike DiIorio, who broke up passes, and Michael Morrissey, Cayden Porter and Pasmeg with tackles.

“It feels great,” Summers said. “All around the board we played well as a team. Our passing and running games were working and our  defense stepped up.”

“It’s an incredible accomplishment. It’s one of our goals every year to get there,” said Della Vecchia, adding that Ansonia will be a tough opponent. “I know they’re real good. We have to play hard, be able to move the ball, and contain them.”