Football: Trumbull Eagles stun St. Joseph Cadets

The Trumbull High football team came out and showed off the fire-power usually reserved for state playoff teams, when coach Bob Maffei’s Eagles stunned visiting St. Joseph, 39-7, at McDougall Stadium on Thanksgiving.

“We’ve put some points up all year really, but we were sharp today,” Maffei said. “We were really sharp. We had two good weeks of practice, and if you practice well, you play well.”

Trumbull (7-3) needed a victory, and some help, to garner a position in the Class LL tournament. Greenwich’s 37-10 win over Staples High took those hopes away, but nothing can take away the pride earned with this impressive win over the Class M playoff-bound Cadets.

Coach Joe Della Vecchia’s team had won eight straight games. With the loss, No. 5 St. Joseph (8-2) will be on the road Tuesday night at No. 4 Wolcott High (8-2). Kickoff is at 6:30.

Trumbull’s Game MVP Johnny McElroy threw for four touchdowns.

“It was obviously a must-win,” McElroy said. “It was obviously a town rivalry, a big game. We didn’t want to lose; they had beaten us the past (five) years. It’s time for the McDougall Trophy to come home.”

Danny Hoffmann latched onto a 48-yard touchdown pass on Trumbull’s first play from scrimmage, after St. Joseph was stopped on downs to open the game.

The Eagle defense forced a three-and-out. McElroy, after running for three yards and completing a 12-yard pass to Dustin Siqueira, found Peter Raverta behind the secondary for a 50-yard score. Ryan Ruff’s PAT took the score to 14-0 only 4:33 into the contest.

“I think we gave up four blown coverages for easy touchdowns,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “There was nobody there.”

St. Joseph quarterback Cory Babineau moved the chains with a 15-yard keeper, but the drive stalled and Trumbull’s Joe Turner blocked the punt.

With the ball at midfield, McElroy hooked up with Siqueira for an 18-yard gain. Penalties short-circuited the march and St. Joseph got the ball back at its 13-yard line.

Jaden Shirden began to ground out some good yards here, a 29-yard run and pass receptions worth four and eight yards to end the quarter.

Shirden earned a first down on two carries, before Babineau threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jared Mallozzi. Luke Kirby’s PAT made it 14-7 and seemingly leveled the playing field.

Not so. Three plays later, McElroy threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Siqueira for a 20-7 advantage after Brian Harner blocked the extra point try.

Looking to ride the wave, Trumbull went with an onside kick, which was recovered by Raverta at the Cadet 39-yard line. Twelve plays later, Kirby knocked home a 30-yard field goal with 5:43 remaining in the half.

A quarterback sack by Jake Dudal went for negative nine yards and Trumbull got the ball back at its 37.

Raverta caught a pass for six yards, and then the senior steamrolled through a tackle attempt and raced 47 yards to the St. Joseph 16.

Running back Angelo Tuccinardi, who provided balance to the Trumbull attack, ran for 11 yards.

A holding penalty two plays later put the ball on the 24.

A holding penalty two plays later put the ball on the 24.

McElroy, provided time by Eric Palinkas, Dudal, Parker DellAquila, Jakub Pirog and Joe Turner, waited for the area to clear and hit Raverta coming across the formation at the 10. Raverta dodged his way down the sideline to complete the scoring play with 2:18 left in the half.

St. Joseph punted, but the Cadets’ Nick Osborne got the ball with an interception at the 10.

It was Trumbull that made good use of the remaining 1:02 on the clock.

After recording a safety, Hoffmann return the ensuing free kick for a touchdown and a 39-7 lead.

The second half was uneventful, as Trumbull wanted to get to the locker room and scoreboard watch.

St. Joseph wanted to get on the bus and get ready for Tuesday’s playoff game.