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Staples football thrashes Southington, advances to first championship game in 12 years

Jolie Gefen ’24
The Staples Wreckers varsity football team shut out the Southington Blue Knights 41-0. The Wreckers advance to the state championship on Saturday, Dec. 9 and will face the West Haven Blue Devils.

On a rainy Sunday high school football playoff game at Paul Lane Field, the Staples Wreckers (11-1) emphatically defeated the Southington Blue Knights (7-5) 41-0 to advance to their first Connecticut Class LL championship game since 2011.

After Fairfield Prep handed the Wreckers a crushing defeat in the quarterfinals of the playoffs in 2022, the Staples football team entered the 2023 season fueled with determination for revenge. The long-awaited revenge for the Wreckers unfolded last Thursday, when they knocked off Fairfield Prep in a close 13-12 game to advance to the Connecticut Class LL state semifinal game against Southington.

Sunday’s game for Staples against Southington, however, was a little bit more one-sided than their previous one. Everything kicked off for the Wreckers when Sam Petrosino ’24 returned the opening kickoff to the endzone on the first play of the game as the student section erupted, handing the home team a 7-0 lead just 10 seconds into the ball game. It was a lead they would never surrender. 

“When I cut back to the right and saw the blocks from my teammates, I knew it was just a sprint [to the endzone] from there,” Petrosino said. “It was a great way to start the game because our team all understands the importance of starting the game well on special teams.”

Our defense set the tone today, just as they have all season. We pride ourselves on being physically and mentally tougher than our opponent, and we look to prove that early on in each game.

— Coach Matty Jacowleff

Staples kept their foot on the gas for the rest of the game as they were led by yet another outstanding defensive performance, forcing the Blue Knights to turn the ball over seven times throughout the course of the semifinal matchup.

Heading into the locker room after the conclusion of the first half, the Wreckers sported a comfortable 28-0 lead thanks to the touchdown from Petrosino and a first half hat trick of touchdowns from quarterback Caleb Smith ’24.

It was more of the same for Staples in the second half of play; Petrosino hauled a pass in for his second touchdown of the day and Max Maurillo ’24, who had two interceptions on the day, ran one of them back for six points.

“Our defense set the tone today, just as they have all season. We pride ourselves on being physically and mentally tougher than our opponent, and we look to prove that early on in each game,” Coach Matty Jacowleff said. “The five interceptions today are a testament to a complete defense […] We truly believe that as soon as the quarterback throws it, the football belongs to us.”

The Staples Wreckers will be looking to cap off their historic season with some hardware. They will be competing in the Class LL state championship next Saturday, Dec. 9, against the West Haven Blue Devils (10-2), who are the only team that has defeated Staples so far this season.

“We know that West Haven is a great team, but we are all really looking forward to going out and competing to win a trophy for Staples,” Anthony Armentano ’25 said. “All of us have worked extremely hard to get to this point, so winning the state championship would be an amazing end to the season.”

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About the Contributors
William Murray ’25, Web Sports Editor
Web Sports Editor William Murray ’25 has long held a passion for journalism, he views Inklings as a way to pursue his love of writing as well as his passion for sports. “I’ve always been interested in writing about sports especially,” Murray said. “Also, both my sisters were in Inklings so I wanted to follow in their footsteps.” Outside of performing his editor duties, Murray plays for Beachside Soccer Club. “I love soccer — I’ve played it since I was two,” Murray said. “I hope to do something with sports, [...] whether it's playing or writing about it.”  
Jolie Gefen ’24, Web Managing Editor
Web Managing Editor Jolie Gefen ’24 understands what it means to manage and organize, as this past summer she worked as a camp counselor for Westport’s camp Recing Crew.    “It helped me become more of a leader,” Gefen said. “[Recing Crew] gave me lots of skills that I'll be able to grow upon.”  Skillfully over the years, Gefen has learned to take advantage of Staples's numerous resources: one being Inklings. “Inklings allows me to write what I love and helps me formulate my own opinions,” Gefen said. “I look forward to being on a paper in college and pursuing journalism further.”  

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