Football: Trumbull defeats Greenwich, 28-23

Trumbull High’s Troy Murray intercepted Greenwich High quarterback Frank Alfano’s pass with 40.7 seconds left and the Eagles defeated the Cardinals, 28-23, in an FCIAC game at McDougall Stadium on Friday night.

“Trumbull improved to 3-1, Greenwich is 2-2.

“This was like an elevator game,” Trumbull High head coach Bob Maffei said. “Win and you go to the penthouse; lose and you go to the basement. Our defense played great, it was a great effort. Our offense did its job, we just couldn’t put them away.”

Greenwich got the ball for the last time on its 22-yard line with 1:54 remaining. Ryan Kelly and Joey Ryan were in on the stops before Murray came up with his interception on a second-and-6 play.

“I took my drop and looked for #80 (Scooter Harrington) because I thought that’s where they would go,” Murray said. “When I saw him I just creeped up and got to the ball first. It feels great. What we can do together is amazing.”

Johnny McElroy was at the top of his game from the start. With the offensive line of Justin Appleby, Cory Haslam, Desmond Washington, Jakub Pirog and Jake Dudal providing protection, McElroy completed 7-of-7 passes for 83 yards and an 18-yard touchdown pass to Markeese Woods of the opening possession.

Greenwich answered right back as Alfano threw a short drag pass to Tyler Farris, who turned it up the sideline for a 47-yard score. Soh Nakayama ’s PAT made it 7-6 with 7:52 left in the first quarter.

Coach John Marinelli’s turned the field after a series of punts. The Cardinals went 40 yards in four plays with Kevin Iobbi scoring on a 10-yard run. Nakayama’s PAT gave GHS a 14-6 lead at the two-minute mark.

Danny Hoffman, who had returned the previous kickoff 30 yards only to see the drive stall, ran 73 yards with this kick to give THS the ball on the 13-yard line. He caught a quick pass from McElroy, shook a tackler at the eight, where he reversed field and dove inside the pylon for the touchdown. Woods ran for the two-point conversion to tie the game at 14 with 1:06 left in the first period.

Kelly recovered a Greenwich fumble two plays later on the 17. Three plays later, McElroy connected with Hoffman on a 12-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion failed, and Trumbull was in front 20-14 nine seconds into the second quarter.

Greenwich looked to surprise the Eagles from its 29 with a fake punt, but Connor Langan’’s pass to Harrington fell incomplete.

Trumbull earned one first down before Hoffmann’s 33-yard field goal attempt was low.

Greenwich took the score to 20-17 on Nakayama’s 25-yard field goal that completed a 10-play, 72-yard drive with 4:46 remaining in the half.

Nakayama recovered his onside kick to give Greenwich another chance, but Trumbull’s Dudal, Haslam, Joseph Turner and Harrison Klas made plays to force another field goal try. This one from 43-yards out was short.

Trumbull had 2:10 to make some magic. The Eagles moved the chains twice to the GHS 46, where Dwight Patrick Dailey outfought a defender for a 16-yard gain to the 30 with 15 seconds left in the half.

Hoffman caught a middle screen for four yards. After using its last timeout with 8.3 seconds on the clock, McElroy rolled left and found Dustin Siqueria breaking back toward him in the end zone for a 26-yard score with .5 seconds remaining. After the two-point conversion, Trumbull took a 28-17 lead into the half.

McElroy finished the half 14-of-25 passing for 161 yards and four touchdowns.

“Trumbull is a good football team,” Marinelli said. “They throw the ball around and they executed. Hats off to them. They are well coached, they deserved to win and they will do well (going forward).”

The only offense after intermission came from Greenwich.

After Kelly’s interception stopped one drive, the Cardinals scored when Alfano found Farris open on a slant pass and the speedy junior went 73 yards for the touchdown with 2:26 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion run was short, leaving the score at 28-23.

“In the second half our defense played well,” Marinelli said. “This is a tough one; it stings a little bit. It’s important we go back to work.”