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Eagles Fly Just Over Wreckers, Take Game and FCIAC Championship Bid

Photos by Eric Essagof ’12.

If anybody, going in, knew how close of a game this would be, the event would have been on ESPN at primetime.

Well, MSG Varsity was there, so that will have to suffice.

The Wreckers and Trumbull met today at Staples Stadium to play in what was sure to be a tight game.  The Wreckers, at 8-0, were atop the league standings, with the Eagles of Trumbull High School close behind hoping to squeak their way into the FCIAC Championship game.

The winner of this game would automatically have a bid in the conference championship.

Coach Marce Petroccio and the Wreckers elected to receive the ball for the opening kickoff, which proved to be a worthwhile choice, as the only points scored for Staples in the first half were on the first drive of the game via a five-yard rush by Tyler Jacobs ’11 to finish a 72 yard drive.

The first drive proved to be a waltz, having been practiced hundreds, even thousands of times, and producing the simplest, yet most effective dance in the business. That’s just what Staples did. All 72 of those yards were on rushes while Jacobs was at the helm as the “Cheetah Spread” (a wildcat imitator) quarterback.

Staples led all the way into halftime 7-0.

Despite the early lead, the Eagles had high expectations for themselves and scored on a Don Cherry rushing touchdown with six minutes and change left in the third quarter. After a failed extra-point attempt. Staples took control of the ball. This time, the once smooth dance turned into a train wreck. The Staples offense wasn’t able to produce any points in either the second or third quarters, they looked like a different team, Staples also didn’t have a single passing yard until the fourth quarter.

After another touchdown from Trumbull on a run by quarterback Ian Milne, Anthony Matera kicked a field goal to take a 15-7 lead with a little over five minutes left to play in regulation.

The Wreckers then gave up the ball back to Trumbull and made a quick stop on defense.  They then forced the Eagles to punt.

After a touchback, Jack Massie ’14 and the Wreckers lined up at the 20-yard-line with a buck fifty left on the clock. This was the ultimate two minute drill: freshman quarterback, down by eight, no time outs left, winner goes to the FCIAC Championship game — loser goes home.

Massie, who hadn’t completed a single one of his five-pass attempts, led the Wreckers down the field on a drive that nobody could have predicted. He was four for six on the drive for 65 yards.

After a roughing-the-passer penalty, the Wreckers were knocking on Trumbull’s door, sitting on the 11 yard line with 35 ticks left in the game. They failed to convert on their first three attempts, one of which was almost caught by James Frusciante ’13 in the back of the end zone, however, was broken up by Trumbull’s Anthony Matera.

On fourth down, there were two seconds left in the game.  In effect, this would be the last play in regulation. Massie lined up under center with wide receiver Jason Mawicke ’11 out to his right. Mawicke had already made a huge reception earlier in the drive for close to 40 yards, which moved the Wreckers along during the drive and pumped up a battered and fatigued offense up to finish a noteworthy drive.

Massie took the snap and looked out right for Mawicke, and he waited for the senior wideout to get into the end zone before he lobbed up a desperation pass. Mawicke turned his body around and caught the pass with his back to the back of the end zone. He dragged his foot across some blue turf, and, after some communication with the referees, it was officially deemed a touchdown. It was probably the best catch anybody at the game had ever seen.

The clock had run out.  It read 0:00, and the Wreckers would have one last chance to tie the game up and send the tussle into overtime with a two-point conversion. The Wreckers set up with trips left and Mawicke went into motion to the right. Massie took the snap and rolled out right before Trumbull defensive back Bryan DeWalt left his assigned man and went on a beeline for Massie. DeWalt stuffed Massie two yards short of the end zone. The Eagles’ “twelfth man” (i.e. the fans), who had already left their seats in the stands were storming the field to celebrate their triumph, ending the Wreckers regular season winning streak at 18, and effectively ending Staples’ hopes at going on to the FCIAC Championship with a 15-13 loss.

Despite losing this game, the Wreckers still have a chance of making a surge for the state playoffs. After today’s loss, its ranking dropped down to eighth in the Class LL Standings. Eight teams make the state playoffs.

Trumbull will take on Darien, who defeated Norwalk 38-14, in front of their home crowd at McDougal Stadium on November 19 under the lights for the FCIAC title.

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