Fairfield Prep holds off Shelton in wild fourth quarter

Fairfield Prep running back Nicholas Crowle slips from a Shelton Gael defender during their game at Shelton

SHELTON >> In the decisive final quarter, Shelton never quit.

But Fairfield Prep never relented.

Twice the host Gaels cut the lead to three. Both times, quarterback Colton Smith and the Jesuits answered.

Smith, a junior, twice answered Shelton scores with touchdown runs of his own in the fourth quarter to help Fairfield Prep fend off the Gaels 38-28 in this Southern Connecticut Conference Division I West contest Friday at Finn Stadium.

Shelton (4-1), ranked seventh in the Register Top 10 Poll, cut the lead to 24-21 with four minutes left. Smith, though, went 80 yards to pay dirt on the first play of the ensuing possession.

PHOTOS: Fairfield Prep 38, Shelton 28

The Gaels again cut it to three on a nifty 34-yard catch-and-run from Mark Piccirillo to Kyle Drost with 1:53 remaining.

But it took Fairfield Prep (4-1) just two plays to score on the next drive, capped by Smith’s 49-yard touchdown run.
Smith finished with 208 yards on 17 carries and four touchdowns. He also completed 11 of 18 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown.

“We really wanted it,” Smith said. “We showed we had heart against St. Joe’s (in a 36-34 loss on Sept. 20); that was heartbreaking. Now, we just came out and showed what we had.”

Those two long touchdowns runs, and the inability to capitalize on several scoring opportunities in the first half, ended Shelton’s perfect season. The Gaels missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs on the Jesuits’ 26 in the first quarter, and again failed to convert on fourth down in Fairfield Prep territory in the second quarter.

“I thought we let too many opportunities go in that first quarter,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “You have to make those plays against good teams. You have to make them, and we didn’t. That was the difference.”

After a scoreless first quarter, Smith scored on a 13-yard run and connected with John DelliSanti on a 10-yard touchdown pass. In between, Jason Thompson (10 receptions, 169 yards) caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Piccirillo. The Jesuits led 12-7 at the intermission.

Smith and Thompson (10 carries, 52 yards) traded touchdown runs in the third quarter as Fairfield Prep clung to an 18-13 lead.

DelliSanti scored on an 11-yard run to put Prep up by 11 in the fourth quarter, but the Gaels quickly cut the lead to 24-21 on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Piccirillo to Michael Pingree.

The Jesuits were playing without junior running back Joe Ganim, who missed the game due to illness.

“Our line picked up his slack,” Smith said. “Also, our backs (Andrew) Vegliante and (Nick) Crowle did a great job of finding the holes and hitting them hard.”

Piccirillo completed 29 of 49 passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice.

Jake Buckley and Stephen Walsh made interceptions for the Jesuits. Walsh also connected for a 60-yard punt.

“I think (our defensive performance) was the epitome of bend, but not break,” Crowle said. “We stood when we needed to. Obviously we gave up some big plays. They’re a very talented football team, but we shut them down when we needed to.”


Fairfield Prep 38, Shelton 28
(at Shelton)
Fairfield Prep 0 12 6 20 — 38
Shelton 0 7 6 15 — 28
Second quarter
F—Colton Smith 13 run (kick failed)
S—Jason Thompson 56 pass from Mark Piccirillo (Joe Zoppi kick)
F—John DelliSanti 10 pass from Colton Smith (kick failed)Third quarter
F—Colton Smith 9 run (pass failed)
S—Jason Thompson 6 run (pass failed)Fourth quarter
F—John DelliSanti 11 run (pass failed)
S—Mike Pingree 13 pass from Mark Piccirillo (Kyle Drost catch from Piccirillo)
F—Colton Smith 80 run (Sean Morrison kick)
S—Kyle Drost 34 pass from Mark Piccirillo (Zoppi kick)
F—Colton Smith 49 run (Morrison kick)
Team records: Shelton 4-1; Fairfield Prep 4-1


  1. says

    one of the best games of this long rivalry. Neither team gave up, with both teams playing with a lot of heart. But the recently new coaching staff led by coach Shea, a prep alum, and all state and Harvard football player. This combined with strong support from administration like Dr. Bob Perotta, will make prep a very tough and consistent contender like the old glory days of coach Lavery.
    Keep up the hard work and getting better with each week.
    Art proud father of a prep alum who went on to star at Wesleyan.
    Go bomb squad.

    • UBilly says

      Art, I think you hit it on the head…”Strong support from the administration” is what it takes for a “school of choice” to contend. don’t get me wrong, you still need the coaching, which I feel FP has now, but with that support of the administration, you will find the athletes you need to be competitive, much like Xavier has. You are not reliant on the local kids in a town’s geography like the public schools you compete against. See Prep for Lax, Hockey if you want to see what they can do if that is a focus and receives the “support of the administration” as a school of choice in a league of public schools.

  2. jeb says

    GGGreat atmps

    GGreat atmosphere at Shelton with two excellent teams. Shelton and Prep are both very good and they could qualify ort he states. Both QB’s were very effective but the Shelton QB should put a little more arch on the ball..receivers were open but he was line driving them all night.

    and a terific atmpa

  3. Big Dog says

    Ray,yes….LOL!!!Still smarting from my Huskies game Saturday….Ct Q.B new found enthusiasm same lousy result…But seriously I took in the Prep/Shelton game Friday night…As the two posts above say’s both teams are very good and I look for Prep to make a playoff run…They wore Shelton down late and made every 4th down conversion thru the game….Shelton,well they are Shelton….Defense just is not good enough to beat a legit SCC team….With Hand,Xavier,WH still on the schedule the Gaels will fall short once again for the states….The Big Dog say’s if you want to be a title contender you must be able to beat a “Big Dog” coach Roy…As Coach Dunaj found out he is a long way from TTown….Welcome to the league big guy hows the competition now???

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