Trumbull Eagles fall to Fairfield Warde’s passing attack
Trumbull High football coach Bob Maffei was feeling pretty confident after starting quarterback Stephen Nagy barreled into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run to give the host Eagles a quick 7-0 lead in the first quarter of Sept. 19's game against Fairfield Warde.
The Eagles also led 7-0 against Shelton in the season-opener only to drop a 40-10 decision, but Maffei wasn’t worried.
“I thought we were in good shape,” said Maffei, the veteran head coach. “I thought we would be able to run the ball on them.”
Senior Adam Angelucci did that well, showing speed and toughness with 109 yards on 19 carries. But not before Warde senior quarterback Brandon Biscak did his own damage.
Bisack shredded the Eagles for 296 yards and three touchdowns, as Warde came back to post a solid 23-7 victory at Jerry McDougall Stadium.
Trumbull (0-2) scored on the opening drive of the game then stopped the Mustangs (2-0) with a goal-line stand on the second, getting a nice pass breakup by Lance Bragg on fourth down.
But the Eagles turned the ball over on its next two possessions and Bisack made it hurt.
Warde tied it 7-7 on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jack Polenza, then made it 10-7 with a 22-yard field goal by Chris Jones with 1:01 left in the first half.
Trumbull’s defense turned the Mustangs away after the second turnover.
But the Eagles never recovered.
Bisack, who completed 27-of-41 passes, extended the lead to 17-7 with a 28-yard touchdown pass to running back Nick Nardone in the third quarter, then sealed it with a 19-yard scoring strike to senior Ryan Brown, who capped a huge night with 10 catches for 127 yards.
It was Warde’s first victory over Trumbull since 1971 when Maffei was a junior at then Andrew Warde.
“They just executed better than us,” Maffei said. “We hung in there defensively somewhat, but when you turn the ball over and give a team two shots like that, you’re going to pay for it.”
Trumbull did some good things, getting a nice performance from quarterback John McElroy after going with the sophomore exclusively from the second quarter on. McElroy and Nagy alternated snaps in the first quarter.
McElroy ended up completing 12 of 23 passes for 113 yards and one interception.
Nagy caught one of those passes after moving to receiver. Bragg led the way with four catches for 29 yards while senior Niko Principi added three receptions for 36 yards.
The Eagles just couldn’t sustain a consistent offensive attack after its score on the opening drive.
“We just have to pick our heads up and keep working,” Maffei said. “We obviously know what going wrong here, so we have to fix it somehow. It’s not a mystery what we can’t do, so we have to fix it.”
Warde displayed a balanced attack with its spread offense. Bisack connected with seven receivers, hitting Polenza seven times for 72 yards.
Starting running back T.J. Gallagher gave the Mustangs a nice change of pace, rushing for 26 yards on nine carries while catching three passes for 28 yards.
“They did pretty well, didn’t they?” Maffei said. “They’re good. That’s a good team.”
After posting a solid 24-21 win against Foran in the season-opener, Warde feels like it’s on the verge of something special.
“We were called FCIAC sleepers, but we know we can compete with the best of the best,” Bisack said. “They can keep it that way. We like the underdog role. We came out with the mentality that we were going to fire out from the first play.”
Trumbull will visit Stamford High (1-1) on Saturday at 2 p.m.