Mufasha Abdul Basir rushed for 207 yards and a touchdown and the St. Joseph defense stopped Notre Dame of West Haven four times inside its 20-yard line, as coach Joe Della Vecchia\u2019s Cadets defeated the Green Knights, 17-6, before a packed house in an SCC-FCIAC Challenge game at Veteran Memorial Field in West Haven on Sept. 11. \u201cI can\u2019t say enough great things about our defense,\u201d said Della Vecchia after St. Joseph posted the program\u2019s 300th victory. \u201cI\u2019ve said our linebackers are a strength, but our guys really battled up front and did the job.\u201d The Cadets special teams shined. Cameron Ryan flipped the field on three occasions with punts that went for 50-plus yards. Marc Mrozek hit a pair of clutch extra points and the senior blocked a punt to set up his 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter that staked St. Joseph to a two-score advantage. \u201cWe knew going in it was going to be a tough game and we all went out and did our best,\u201d Mrozek said. \u201cThis is my first punt block. We work every day before and after practice on kicking field goals and PATs.\u201d The Cadets drove 65 yards on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead after quarterback Kevin Trefz scored on a 9-yard keeper and Mrozek made the point after. Abdul Basir ran for 12 yards on his first carry, and had 60 yards in total on St. Joseph\u2019s first series. \u201cI had the utmost confidence,\u201d Abdul Basir said when asked his thoughts on running behind a revamped offensive line. \u201cI knew they were going to make the holes.\u201d Troy Vazzano, Chris Taylor, Jack Ganser, Conrad Piczczatowski and Marc Bernatchez had the task of trying to move a talented defensive front seven. Tim Beyer came in to play guard and Vazzano switched to tackle when Taylor was sidelined early with an injury. \u201cWe knew we had the potential to play well up front,\u201d Della Vecchia said. They know their schemes and communicated very well.\u201d Notre Dame moved to the Cadet 18 midway through the first period, but were held on downs when Mike Jones forced a fumble and a loss of eight yards and Piczczatowski tackled ND quarterback Chris Lupoli short of the sticks. Ryan\u2019s first punt traveled 54 yards to gain valuable field position, but after St. Joseph forced a punt the return was fumbled and the Green Knights took over at the Cadets\u2019 47-yard line. Two plays gained 35 yards and brought the ball to the St. Joseph 12, as the second quarter got under way. K\u2019tory Cobb disrupted a bubble screen for a one-yard loss, the next pass fell incomplete, and Nick Colucci and Spencer Lucas read a screen pass and tackled Prince Brooks five yards behind the line of scrimmage. The secondary shadowed the receivers on fourth down and Lupoli had to throw the ball away. Notre Dame\u2019s defense toughened after St. Joseph\u2019s opening drive, and the Cadets needed Ryan to boot another 54-yard punt to keep the Knights on their side of the field. Flipping the field didn\u2019t help this time, as Kobe Wiggins had a tackle-breaking 60-yard run midway through the second period. The conversion kick went into the middle of the Cadet line and St. Joseph still led 7-6. Notre Dame crossed midfield late in the first half, but Colucci had a big hit on Lupoli to force a 15-yard loss. St. Joseph took the one-point lead into the half and the Cadets looked to boost their advantage on their first possession of the third quarter. With great protection, Trefz put the ball on target and Lars Pedersen made the catch for a 38-yard gain to the Knights\u2019 16. Abdul Basir, who had gained 110 yards on 15 first-half carries, ran to the five, but the Knights held on downs at the one. Buddy Wade had a key stop and St. Joseph forced a three-and-out and went 58 yards on its next series to stretch its lead to 14-6. With Notre Dame focused on Abdul Basir, Trefz went to the quarterback read and took the ball out of his running back\u2019s belly and kept the ball three times for 19 yards total on the drive. Abdul Basir broke off a 21-yard gain and followed Ryan\u2019s block into the end zone from three yards out. Mrozek\u2019s PAT made it a 14-6 game with 2:16 left in the third quarter. After Mrozek\u2019s blocked punt went out of bounds on the Notre Dame 19-yard line, the Green Knights held before Mrozek split the uprights with his 24-yarder with 10:42 to play. Notre Dame drove to the Cadets\u2019 20 and 27, only to be halted on downs and by an Abdul Basir interception. \u201cThis game threw us right in the fire against a physical team and we didn\u2019t back down all night,\u201d Della Vecchia said. St. Joseph, ranked eighth in the state media poll, will host No. 2 Fairfield Prep on Saturday at 1 p.m.