Football: Trumbull High shows off its skills

Johnny McElroy, Danny Hoffmann and Markeese Woods showed off their skills, and combined with a stout defense come crunch time, the Trumbull High football team defeated Fairfield Ludlowe, 35-6, in the season opener for both FCIAC squads at Taft Field in Fairfield on Friday night.

“We looked for match ups that were favorable to us,” Trumbull head coach Bob Maffei said. “We’ve got explosive players. Defensively, it was good to see us tackle so well and cover so well.”

McElroy threw two touchdown passes, one to Woods and one to Hoffman, who did a little bit of everything for Trumbull.

A junior, he caught a scoring pass good for 67 yards and ran 49 yards for another TD. He was perfect on five conversion kicks.

Behind this success, was the play of the offensive line — Cory Haslam, Justin Appleby, Jake Dudal, Odai Dayoub and Jakub Pirog.

“We have lots of speed and those guys give them room,” McElroy said of his blockers. “Markeese, Steven Nagy and Danny all have a lot of speed. Get Danny in space and he’s a playmaker.”

Trumbull was driving after it took the opening kickoff and McElroy completed four straight passes.

Maffei said he got greedy here; McElroy said, “We were throwing underneath because they were in a cover three (defense), but on my interception they had two safeties back.”

That interception on a deep slant by Chris Howell on the Ludlowe six-yard line slowed the Eagles, but Harrison Klas sped things right back up when he blocked the ensuing punt.

With possession on the Falcons’ six, Woods carried twice, the second good for a one-yard touchdown with 6:31 left in the first period.

The Eagles were back in business when Dustin Siqueria recovered a squibbed kickoff on the Falcon 37.

Led by Billy Stapleton and Tommy Chandler, the Falcons held on downs at their 29.

Two plays later, quarterback Aiden Kudzy play-faked a handoff and fired a pass to Javion Beasley, who stiff-armed a would-be tackler on the 48 and scampered 66 yards inside a fine stalk block from Mitch Wykoff.

The long PAT attempt after a penalty was blocked, and it was a 7-6 game with 4:14 left in the quarter.

After one exchange of punts, Ludlowe’s Markus Schuemann booted a 46-yarder. McElroy got all the yards, plus 25 more, when he dropped a pass into Woods’ arms while the sophomore was racing up the near sideline.

Hoffmann’s kick made it 14-6 with 2:36 remaining on the clock before halftime.

Kudzy, behind the blocking of Brendan Casey, Jasper Jones, Will Melbourne, Schuemann and Stapleton, guided the Falcons down field with Sean Close gaining key yards and Howell catching an 18-yard pass.

With 2.3 seconds left, Kudzy put the ball where only Beasley could catch it, but the junior couldn’t come up with the catch cleanly in the end zone as the half ended.

Klas’ pinned Ludlowe deep with a great punt on his own early in the third quarter.

Ryan Kelly dropped the Falcons for a seven-yard loss to the three and Klas again broke through to block the punt.

This time he won a scramble for the ball in the end zone for the touchdown. Hoffmann’s kick made it 21-6 at the 3:21 mark of the third period.

Ludlowe had two straight chances to climb back in the game.

Kudzy rambled 47 yards on a keeper and moved the chains to the Trumbull 18 with an 11-yard carry.

Haslam came up big for the Eagles, joining Desmond Washington for one stop and then submarining Kudzy while fighting off a trap block for no gain on a third-and-two run from the 10.

On fourth down, the Eagles shot their linebackers threw the gaps and Joey Ryan got a piece of Kudzy and waited for help to arrive for the drive-stopping eight-yard loss.

Ludlowe had another opportunity when the punter’s knee touched the ground and gave it possession just inside the 10, but the Eagle defense held on downs.

Ludlowe’s defense, led by Jones, forced a three-and-out, but the ball kicked off a blocker’s foot and Zach Lombardi recovered for Trumbull at its own 32.

Two plays later, McElroy went up top to the mercurial Hoffman, who took his reception for a 73-yard touchdown.

Jonny DeRosa jumped a pass route and his interception gave the ball back to Trumbull at the 44.

Hoffmann then went right before he cut back and went the distance to complete the scoring with 4:12 left in the final period.