The Staples High football team capitalized on a slew of St. Joseph’s miscues to earn a 28-20 FCIAC Division 2 victory at the Dalling Sports Complex on Saturday afternoon.

The Cadets, who fell to 5-2 overall, turned the ball over three times and committed a bevy of costly penalties in the contest. But, St. Joseph got to within a score with 1:58 left to play when senior tailback Christian Trefz capped a 75-yard, six-play touchdown drive with a 1-yard plunge.

Staples (6-1) went three-and-out and on its next possession, with the Cadets using all three of their timeouts to keep just 26 seconds from ticking off of the clock.

Wrecker punter Ryan Fitton then unleashed coffin-corner 44-yard punt to pin St. Joseph on its own 5-yard line with 1:32 left.

Quarterback Corey Babineau threw a pair of incomplete passes, before Trefz picked up three yards on a run to set up a fourth-and-7. Babineau’s fourth-down desperation heave then fell short, allowing Staples to take over on downs and kneel out the clock to seal the victory.

The Wreckers running game proved to be the difference in the contest, with quarterback Andrew Speed rushing for three touchdowns and running back Ethan Burger adding one.

After Staples punted on its first possession of the game, the teams exchanged fumbles.

St. Joseph then marched 86 yards in 11 plays, with Babineau connecting with Treftz for a 9-yard touchdown. Nick Dicairano’s PAT gave the Cadets a 7-0 with 4:19 left in the opening frame.

A 13-play, 80-yard scoring drive by the Wreckers pulled them level at 7, as Speed raced in from six yards out at the 6:45-mark on the second quarter.

Another fumble by St. Joseph set up Staples’ next score — a 25-yard touchdown run by Burger — and the Wreckers carried that lead into the locker room at halftime.

They pushed that advantage to 21-7 early in the fourth quarter, when Speed snuck in from a yard out. He also ran in the two-point conversion, staking the Wreckers to a 21-7 edge.

Kevin Trefz got the Cadets back to within a touchdown with an option-pass touchdown pass to Liam Seperack with 8:20 remaining, but the conversion failed.

Staples then ran nearly five minutes off the clock on next scoring drive, capped by Speed’s 23-yard touchdown run with 3:08 left.

St. Joseph stayed within one score on Christian Trefz’s TD run, but Staples kept the Cadets from the moving the ball on their final drive to sew up the victory.