Football: Trinity Catholic defeats Trumbull

Trinity Catholic controlled the clock in the first half and the scoreboard in the second when the Crusaders handed coach Bob Maffei's Trumbull High football team its first loss of the season with a 32-20 victory in FCIAC play in Stamford on Saturday.

Trinity Catholic improved to 2-1 with the win. Trumbull fell to 2-1.

The Crusaders had the ball for 18:26 of the 24-minute first half, and put together drives lasting 13 and then 16 yards, but were denied the end zone by a pair of Trumbull High defensive stands. Leading the Eagles were Kris DiCocco, who was in on 10 stops in the first two periods, Cory Haslam and Joe Turner.

The stalemate was broken when Trinity’s Johnny Somers blocked a punt with his right hand and the offense retook the field on the Trumbull 7-yard line with 2:37 remaining in the second quarter.

Trumbull’s defense again forced a 4th-and-goal, but this time the Crusaders’ Jonmichael Bivona avoided a push up the middle and made it to the edge to score from three yards out.

Anthony Lombardi ran for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 lead with 35 seconds left on the clock.

Trumbull had the ball for only 14 plays in the half. The Eagles garnered two first downs and 43 yards of offense before intermission.

Trinity Catholic took the third-quarter kickoff and drove into Trumbull territory before giving the ball up on downs at the 39, with Ryan Kelly, Stephen Nagy and Troy Murray making the stops.

Trumbull quarterback Johnny McElroy completed an 11-yard pass to Dustin Siqueria, but a 4th-and-two play was stopped by the Crusaders, who took over on their 40.

Trumbull’s Turner took the ball out of Bivona’s hands on a power run to the right side, and returned it to the Trinity 5-yard line. Marqueese Woods’ swept the left side and was stopped at the pylon on second down. A third down run lost a yard, before the Crusaders’ Nick Melia sacked McElroy at the 14.

Trumbull’s best-case scenario was to hold the Crusaders deep in their end and force Trinity to punt for the first time in the contest. But they had their own plans and churned out three first downs in driving 86 yards in nine plays. Lombardi found Izaiah Sanders in the right corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown on third-and-8. Lombardi ran again for the conversion to take the score to 16-0 with 1:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Trumbull answered with its first drive of the game. Behind the blocking of Haslam, Justin Appleby, Jake Dudal, Jakub Pirog and Desmond Washington, McElroy got the hot hand and completed passes to Peter Raverta (11 yards), Siqueria (12 yards) and Danny Hoffmann (15). Hoffmann broke a tackle on his reception, and a personal foul call at the end of the play brought the ball to the Crusaders’ 7-yard line.

Hoffmann made a diving catch of a corner route in the end zone on second down. The PAT attempt was no good, but Trumbull had made it a 16-6 game with 11:08 left to play.

Robert Pascale recovered the onside kick for Trinity, who marched the remaining 48 yards in eight plays. On 4th-and-5 from the 9, Sanders was given too much room and turned inside the goal line to catch Lombardi’s scoring pass. Somers caught the conversion pass for a 24-6 lead at the 7:18 mark.

Sanders intercepted a tipped pass on Trumbull’s next series, and Trinity drove 68 yards for another score. The big play came on 4th-and-6 from the 36 when Somers leaked out from a tight formation and gained 34 yards after his catch.

Bivona finished the drive with a 30-yard run. Melia ran for the conversion and a 32-6 lead with 3:41 remaining.

McElroy guided the Eagles on a 60-yard touchdown drive on their next possession.

Joe Jones (16 yards), Hoffmann (9 and 8 yards) helped move the chains before Woods ran for 24 yards to the three, where he scored on his next carry. McElroy connected with Hoffmann for the two-point conversion.

Siqueria recovered the onside kick with 1:43 remaining. Trumbull went 50 yards to score again, with  Jones catching two balls. From the nine, McElroy dumped off a pass to Woods who scored with 24 seconds left. The conversion failed, as did the ensuing onside kick.