Football: Trumbull rallies to defeat Trinity Catholic
Nothing was going right for the Trumbull High football team until Eagle quarterback Johnny McElroy did something absolutely mind blowing to help his team defeat Trinity Catholic, 24-14, at McDougall Stadium on Friday night.
McElroy, with his offense muddied by penalties too numerous to count in the first half, and with the talented Crusaders leading 14-6 with time winding down in the third quarter, made something out of nothing from his own 36 yard line.
Faced with a 3rd and six, McElroy dropped back to pass but under heavy pressure had to tuck the ball away.
First, he made Arthur Yanif miss at the line of scrimmage and headed right toward the TC bench area.
McElroy got away from three tackle tries on the sideline to get inside the 40. Here, he reversed fields twice within a five-yard parking zone before tumbling into the end zone to complete his 64-yard journey.
Danny Hoffman made a leaping catch in the far corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion pass from McElroy, and the game was tied at 14 with 3:52 remaining in the third period.
Trumbull’s defense held on downs near midfield, and then the Eagles went 48 yards in seven plays with McElroy finding Hoffmann for a 8-yard touchdown on 3rd and eight with 17 seconds left in the stanza.
Ryan Ruff made the conversion kick.
Trinity Catholic, now 1-3, marched from its 34 to the Trumbull 16, before Joe Turner tackled Jonmichael Bivona at the 15.
The Crusaders sent Dave Broncati on for a 32-yard field goal try that had the length but was wide left.
Trumbull then took 5:43 seconds off the clock, and added three points on Ruff’s 30-yard field goal, to take a 10-point lead with three minutes remaining.
The Eagle defense held before their offense ran out the clock, as Trumbull improved to 3-1.
“We were calm at the half,” Trumbull coach Bob Maffei said of his team’s 7-0 deficit. “Our defense was playing great. We came out relaxed, feeling we could run the ball in these conditions.”
Maffei admitted the constant drizzle and wind didn’t help his offense.
“Wind and rain are the two things you don’t want running a spread (offense),” he said. “At least there wasn’t any mud (turf field).”
Trinity took the opening kickoff and went 69 yards in 12 plays.
Bivona’s 32-yard run keyed the march that ended when quarterback Nick Granata scored on 4th and goal from the one.
Brancati made the PAT with 4:26 left in the first period.
After an exchange of punts, Frank Alfano stopped Trumbull with an interception that he returned to the Eagle 16.
Zach Heche, Jake Dudal and Turner made stops to force a 35-yard field goal attempt, which again had the distance but was outside the upright two-plus minutes into the second period.
Markeese Woods moved the chains on consecutive runs (14 and 18 yards) on Trumbull’s next possession.
Patrick Daley then ran a sweep to the right side and went 41 yards for what looked to be a touchdown.
Holding at the line of scrimmage, followed by the first of four unsportsmanlike conduct calls on the Eagles in the canto, took the points off the board and brought the ball back to the Trumbull 35.
On the subsequent punt attempt, Harrison Klas was ruled to have his knee touch the ground and TC took over on the THS 23.
The Crusaders self destructed here with a pair of holding penalties. Angelo Tuccinardi finished the threat with an interception and Trumbull took over on its 2-yard line.
Klas got off a great punt from the end zone, but another unsportsmanlike conduct gave Trinity possession at the Trumbull 43.
Bivona rambled for a 33-yard gain on first down. Heche downed Granto for a loss at the 25, but another unsportsmanlike penalty put the ball at the 12.
On 3rd and two from the four, and coming out of a timeout, Trinity lined up for a field goal try. Faking the kick, the Crusaders looked for six, but Heche made the interception for Trumbull and returned it to the 10-yard line.
Trinity had one more chance before the half. After they forced a punt, the visitors advanced to the 19. Heche broke up a fourth-down pass with 17.5 left in the half.
Trumbull took the kickoff to start the third quarter.
Hoffmann ran for 12 yards, Woods for 34 on a counter play with Zach Lombardi making a key block downfield. This set up McElroy’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Hoffmann to make it a 7-6 game.
Trinity extended its lead when Granata hit Alfano with a 69-yard touchdown off play action with 4:56 left in the third quarter.