DERBY >> Shelton prides itself on having a strong, physical offensive line. Quarterback Mark Piccirillo took advantage of everything his buddies on the line gave him against Valley rival Derby on Thursday.
Piccirillo rushed for 143 yards on 16 carries, including touchdown runs of 25, 5 and 3 yards, and completed 9 of 13 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns to lead Shelton to a 56-20 non-league win over Derby in front of 2,500 at DeFilippo Field.
It was the 103rd meeting between the two teams, and Shelton leads the series 53-43-7. The Gaels (7-4) have won the last 11 games in the series.
Piccirillo was honored with the Silver Turkey Most Valuable Player award.
“Our offensive line was amazing today, they did a great job making the holes for me today,” Piccirillo said. “Our plan was to go into it playing hard against them the whole game. Everyone did a great job. Things went the way we hoped it would with us scoring early and keeping the pressure on them. Winning the MVP award is great, but it’s really the result of what everyone did out there today.”
Piccirillo set the tone early as the Gaels scored on all four possessions in the first quarter. Piccirillo scored on a 5-yard touchdown run just 1:46 into the game and completed the two-point conversion pass to Kyle Drost for an 8-0 lead.
A 25-yard TD run by Piccirillo, and a Piccirillo rush for two points, made it 16-0 with 6:46 to go in the first quarter. A 40-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pingree made it 22-0 with 2:28 left.
Derby cut the lead to 22-6 when quarterback Michael Kreiger threw a 26-yard touchdown to Tyler Dobek with 1:11 remaining in the first. But Shelton responded 31 seconds later when Jason Thomnpson scored on a 1-yard run for a 28-6 lead.
Kreiger connected with Jordan LaRue for a 33-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to cut the lead to 28-12. But on the ensuing kickoff, Shelton’s Troy Vasilescu bolted down the right sideline for a 51-yard scoring return and a 36-12 lead following a Peter Hoff two-point rush.
Piccirillo ended the first half scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:14 to go. Joe Zoppi’s kick made it 43-16 at the half.
“Piccirllo has been playing great all year for us and his dual threat as a runner and passer gives defenses trouble,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “We wanted to jump on them early and we certainly accomplished that goal. It was a great game, very physical.”
A 55-yard touchdown pass to Drost in the third quarter and a Pingree 30-yard touchdown run with 4:44 left in the fourth quarter made it 56-12.
A 70-yard touchdown run by Tyrae Small and Kreiger’s two-point pass to LaRue provided the final score of 56-20 with 3:40 to go in the game.
“We had a good game plan coming in here, but they just blew us off the ball and beat us up front,” Derby coach George French said.
“They are a physical team and Piccirllo is a very physical kid, too. We kept making adjustments on the fly, but they kept making adjustments too.
Shelton 56, Derby 20
Shelton 28 15 7 6 — 56
Derby 6 6 0 8 — 20
S—Mark Piccirillo 5 run (Kyle Drost pass from Piccirillo )
S—Mark Piccirillo 25 run (Piccirillo rush)
S—Mike Pingree 40 pass from Mark Piccirillo (rush failed)
D—Tyler Dobek 26 pass from Michael Kreiger (kick failed)
S—Jason Thompson 1 run (pass failed)
D—Jordan Larue 33 pass from Michael Kreiger (pass failed)
S—Troy Vasilescu 51 kickoff ret (Peter Hoff rush)
S—Mark Piccirillo 3 run (Joe Zoppi kick)
S—Kyle Drost 55 pass from Mark Piccirillo (Zoppi kick)
S—Mike Pingree 30 run (kick failed)
D—Tyrae Small 70 run (LaRue pass from Kreiger)
Team records: Derby 5-6; Shelton 7-4.
“In the end, we just didn’t execute and they did. Mike Kreiger played well for us, but we’re very young in some areas and it showed today.”