Staples Wreckers Fall to NFA in CIAC Semifinal Game

Senior Jared Levi is comforted by a coach.

contributed by Doug Healy from Westport Now

Senior Jared Levi is comforted by a coach.

It’s been over a year since Coach Marce Petroccio and his  team have had the bitter taste of loss in their mouths, but today they tasted it again after a huge upset by the Norwich Free Academy (NFA) in the CIAC state semifinal football game.

In their hardest fought  game this season, the Wreckers tried their best to hold off their competitors from up north, but the fight proved to be too much as they fell 30-28.

The usually unstoppable Staples offense had to play without one of its key players, senior running back Nick Kelly, who was sidelined due to a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the week at the Quarter final game against West Haven.

During the second quarter, it seemed as if the  Wreckers could handle the absence of Kelly  as junior running back Patrick Lesch stepped  up  his game and rushed for over 100 yards.

Lesch, along with fellow running back Joey Zelkowitz ’13 and  Wide Receiver James Frusciante ’13 worked tirelessly to make up for the loss and sent Staples into the locker room tied with NFA at 21 points.

However, after scoring two additional points due to a safety in the beginning of the third quarter, NFA was unstoppable and took advantage of several grave errors Staples made, including a lost return in the fourth quarter due to a punted ball which ended up bouncing off of senior linebacker Kevin Kearney’s foot causing Staples to lose possession of the ball.

Staples star defensive players Pieter Hoets ’13, Lance Lonergan ’13, and Kevin Kearney ’13  worked to prevent NFA from scoring more than one touchdown in the last half of the game as they made several key tackles and acted as an iron curtain against the NFA offense.

In the end, the last minutes of the fourth quarter proved to be the most suspenseful of the game. The possession of the ball switched between both sides as each battled to end up on top.  The pressure on Staples increased with each passing second as the clock wound down to zero.

NFA will now move on to the CIAC class LL state championship game at Rentschler Field on  the UCONN campus where they will face off against  Xavier High School.