The St Joseph High football team pulled away in the second half to topple host Trumbull, 42-6, in the annual Thanksgiving Day game at frigid Jerry McDougall Stadium.

With the win, the Cadets improved to 9-1 and clinched the top seed in the Class M state playoffs which get underway on Tuesday. The Eagles finish the season at 5-5.

St Joe’s quarterback David Summers shared team MVP honors with offensive lineman Robert Mihaly. Trumbull linebacker/running back Adam Tolk earned MVP accolades for the Eagles.

St Joes led 14-0 at the half and was up 21-0 going to the fourth quarter.

“We picked it up,” Summers said of the Cadets’ improved play after slow start. “We knew exactly what they were doing and we just put it to them.”

“They were coming at us with a lot of heat,” St Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “We had to adjust our protection at halftime and adjust our routes.”

The teams were scoreless after one quarter of play.

Coach Marce Petroccio’s Eagles threatened after they converted on a 4th-and-10 play to keep a drive in Cadet territory alive. St Joe’s defensive back Jack Wallace broke up a pass and the Cadets took over at their own 19 after another incompletion.

On their first play of the ensuing drive, the Cadets changed the field position dramatically. Summers connected with Will Diamantis on a 75-yard pass play to Trumbull six.

Summers scored on a keeper from three yards out on 2nd-and-goal. After a Luke Kirby PAT, it was 7-0 Cadets 1:20 into the second quarter.

“In the first half we had opportunities and we kind of shot ourselves in the foot,” Petroccio said.

After an exchange of punts, Summers hooked up with Diamantis for a 4-yard TD pass. The score was set up by a long completion over the middle to Diamantis.

On the first possession of the third quarter, the Eagles went three and out and punted from their own end zone. The Cadets took over with great field position at the Trumbull 26.

A leaping grab by Brady Hutchison, led to Jaden Shirden’s five-yard TD run just 2:23 out of the halftime break.

The Eagles moved the ball down the field, highlighted by a long Colton Nicholas completion to Kyle Atherton and a fourth-down reception by Atherton to set up 1st-and-goal at the five.

But the Cadet defense, led by a tackle in the backfield by Cole daSilva, dug its heels in and thwarted the Eagles to force a turnover on downs.

Della Vecchia was pleased with the play of daSilva, a linebacker, and Jermaine Williams, a nose guard, as well as that of the secondary on the whole. “Our secondary played really well,” he said. “They batted down some passes and had good coverage.”

Shirden turned the corner and turned on the jets for a 40 yard gain to the Trumbull 33 on the final play of the third quarter.

On the first play of the fourth, Summers lobbed a pass that Jesse Bike jumped for, hauling the ball in for a 33-yard TD. It was now 28-0 just 10 seconds into the final stanza.

Hutchison had a 30-yard touchdown catch in stride to push the lead to 35-0.

Another leaping grab by Bike, set up a one-yard score on the ground by Shirden to cap the St Joes scoring.

The Eagles used some trickery with an impressive play to break up the shutout with 1:19 left.

Mileeq Green took a direct snap and handed off to Corey Osborne on a reverse. Osborne then pitched the ball to Nicholas, who threw to a streaking Green for a catch-and-TD run of 71 yards.

This season, Trumbull’s losses included those to preseason No. 1 New Canaan, a Darien team that later became tops in the state, No. 2 Greenwich and No. 4 St Joes.

“In the end, that’s only going to make us better,” Petroccio said. “The seniors have done an incredible job for us. We’re very proud of them.”