Trumbull-Warde (game story)

Despite trailing much of the first half to Fairfield Warde, the Trumbull High football team marched a defiant 77 yards in 13 plays to defeat the Mustangs, 28-21, in Fairfield on Sept. 20.

“We were hungry for a victory, after he had such a disappointing start last game,” said Trumbull coach Bob Maffei. “We had a great week of practice, the kids believe in themselves. Running the spread offense, we’re always in it.”

Nick Roberts led the offense, throwing 22-for-33 for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

Marc Cesare rushed for 108 and a touchdown, and had 53 yards receiving.

Quentin Brunetti caught passes worth 92 yards, including two touchdown.

Thomas Hayduk had 70 yards and a score, and Eric Anderson had 61 yards receiving.

“He’s a great player,” Maffei said of Roberts after the Eagles improved to 1-1. “If we can protect him, we’ll be golden. If we catch the ball...Tonight we caught everything, that was the difference in the game.”

Trumbull’s offensive line of Cory Haslam, Phil Reardon, Greg Goldman, Michael Connor Shea and Justin Appleby did their best to keep Roberts upright and unharmed.

The first two drives for each squad fluttered, as Trumbull’s first drive ended with 20 yards of penalties and Warde went three and out.

Then Roberts threw a pick, before the Eagles put together a seven-play, 58-yard drive culminating in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Roberts to Brunetti. The Eagles ran for two but came up short to lead Warde 6-0.

Warde (0-2) continued to struggle offensively, while Trumbull kept its groove going, starting at its own 17.

The Eagles promptly drove 83 yards on 10 plays to take a 12-0 lead. Roberts got the drive started with completions to Brunetti of 12 and 25 yards, before Cesare rushed the Eagles down into the red zone.

Cesare finished what he started on an 8-yard sweep to give Trumbull a 12-0 lead, nine minutes until the half.

The Mustangs answered with a drive of their own, marching 72 yards in 7 plays thanks to a 48-yard dash by tailback T.J. Gallagher to move Warde into the Eagles’ red zone.

Junior signal caller Brandon Bisack then hit Ryan Brown for the 19-yard touchdown, before the first of three Chris Jones’ extra-points made it 12-7.

Warde’s defense stepped up, making two big stops on the next two drives, thanks to sacks from Amhed Hourani and pressures from Colin McKeown and Zach Conduah.

Once the Mustangs got the ball back, Gallagher took off again gashing the Eagles for an 82-yard touchdown run. He took the ball off the right guard then cut left and out ran Trumbull secondary to give Warde a 14-12 lead at the half.

Warde started the third quarter with the ball, and Gallagher picked up where he left off as first run of the half was for 30 yards.

Bisack then hit Brian Kerrigan for a 43-yard completion to the 11.

Gallagher took three shots at the end zone getting, one, six and then no gain to leave the Mustangs in a fourth-and-goal situation at the four.

Jack Whiting took the handoff and lost six yards, tackled by Trumbull defensive lineman Jordan Pabellon.

With that stop, the Eagles regained the momentum and drove 90 yards on 12 plays to take the lead.

Roberts started with a 7-yard pass to Brunetti then a 17-yarder to Anderson. Roberts hit Brunetti with a 15-yard strike, before he found Hayduk for 10 yards and Hunter Wnukowski for 21 yards into Fairfield’s red zone.

From the 15, Roberts connected with Brunetti in the flat and he scored.

Roberts found Brunetti for the two-point conversion to make it 20-14 midway through the third.

Gallagher and the Mustangs answered immediately, with an 82-yard kickoff return to give the lead back to Warde at 21-20.

“They really just busted two plays and that was the extent of their offense for most of the game,” Maffei said.

“Then he had big kickoff return and they took the lead. We made that nice stop down there (in the third quarter). Jordan Pabellon made a big play there and that changed everything.”

After Gallagher’s return, neither team could muster much offensively, each having two scoreless drives until midway through the fourth.

Trumbull finally got a drive together starting at the 23, as Roberts found his familiar connection Brunetti for 12 yards, and then Cesare on a 35-yard screen pass to move into Warde territory.

Roberts-to-Anderson was good for 16 yards, and Roberts scrambled for 10 more.

In the final minute, Roberts hit Hayduk in the back right corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

He then hit Brunetti for the two-point conversion to lead 28-21 with 50 seconds remaining.

Warde started at its 40, and Bisack found Brown twice for 15 yards to the Trumbull 28 with 17 seconds left.

Bisack hit Brown again for 13 yards with 11 seconds left to put the ball at the 15.

On the next two plays, Bisack threw incompletions, coming up 15 yards short of paydirt.

Upcoming schedule

Sept. 27 Stamford, 7

Oct. 5 at Norwalk, 3

Oct. 12 at Westhill, 1:30

Oct. 18 Greenwich, 7

Oct. 25 at Wilton, 7

Nov. 1 Staples, 7

Nov. 8 Danbury, 7

Nov. 15 Central, 7

Nov. 28 at St. Joseph, 10:30