St. Joseph blasts Barlow, reaches Class M final without Abdul Basir

STRATFORD >> After a scary injury to St. Joseph starting junior running back Mufasha Abdul Basir, in which he was wheeled off the field on a stretcher, receiver Shane Miller said there was no way the Hogs were going down in Saturday’s Class M semifinal to Barlow.

“He gives 110 percent every time he’s on the field,” said Miller, a senior receiver. “When he went down it was tough for us, but we knew we had to step up.”

The Cadets stepped up and No. 2-seeded St. Joseph routed No. 3 Barlow 62-34 at Bunnell High School. With the victory, the Hogs (12-2)move onto the Class M championship game to face No. 5 Brookfield (11-3) at 10:05 a.m. Saturday at Central Connecticut State’s Arute Field.

This is St. Joseph’s third state championship appearance in five years. The Hogs are looking for their 11th state title and third in the last five years.

After suffering what looked to be a serious head injury, Abdul Basir, who returned to the sideline in the forth quarter, said he should be ready for the final.

“I kind of got knocked out,” Abdul Basir said. ” I woke up and found myself on the field. I didn’t see it as a dirty hit by Barlow though. That’s how the game is.”

He said he got twisted and was hit on the left side of the head. Team trainers came out on the field, the ambulance was called and he was wheeled off to a standing ovation. St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia confirmed that Abdul Basir should be cleared for the final.

“I think he’s going to be okay,” the Della Vecchia said. “He’s back here how, so we’ll get him checked out again on Monday.”

The Cadets turned out to be okay, too, thanks to a 28-0 halftime lead. SJ got touchdown runs from Miller (88 yards), Jordan Vazzano (52 yards) and touchdown passes from Vazzano to Miller (28 yards) and another to Lars Pedersen. The Cadets defense looked good, too as Pedersen had an interception and Matthew Laveneziana recovered a fumble in the backfield.

However in the second half, the Falcons came back. Bryan Gallaer opened the half with a 46-yard TD run. The extra point was missed. Pedersen answered with a 95-yard touchdown return to put SJ up 34-6 after a failed extra point. Then Barlow quarterback Jack Shaban returned a kickoff 75 yards on the ensuing kick for a Barlow TD to make It 34-12.

Barlow kept it going after Harry Wilson scored from 20 yards out and the Falcons recovered an onside kick. That’s when the Cadets defense woke back up.

“We were on our heels,” Pedersen said. “That big fourth down play was right with the quarter change, so we had a little time to discuss what was going on.”

The Cadets punched their ticket to Arute Field on the campus of Central Connecticut State University for the state final by stopping Barlow on the fourth down conversion attempt and scored 28 fourth quarter points.

St. Joseph 62, Barlow 34
(at Stratford)
Barlow 0 0 20 14 — 34
St. Joseph 14 14 6 28 — 62
First quarter
S—Lars Pedersen 15 pass from Jordan Vazzano (kick fail)
S—Shane Miller 52 run (Vazzano pass Pedersen )
Second quarter
S—Jordan Vazzano 52 run ( Marc Mrozek kick)
S—Shane Miller 28 pass from Jordan Vazzano (Marc Mrozek kick)
Third quarter
B—Bryan Gallaer 46 run (kick fail)
S—Lars Pedersen 95 kickoff ret (Marc Mrozek kick)
B—Jack Shaban 75 kickoff ret (Juan Gomez kick)
B—Harry Wilson 36 run (Juan Gomez kick)
Fourth quarter
S—Shane Miller 22 run (Dylan Ryan pass Chris Prutting)
S—Shane Miller 63 run (kick fail)
B—Stephen Miller 49 run (Juan Gomez kick)
S— Marc Mrozek 47 kickoff ret ( Marc Mrozek kick)
Team records: St. Joseph 12-2; Barlow 10-3


  1. anotherfan says

    Mufsasha got the wind knocked out of him and was tied to a stretcher and went to the hospital?If that were an Ansonia player he would have gotten up shook it off and be in the next play.

    • FFLD-NH says

      You Ansonia fans need to get out of your bubble. When you play real football teams real injuries tend to happen which can scare teenage kids at times. Enjoy playing your pop warner championship next week.

  2. ACL says

    I don’t see how Abdul Basir can be ready for the final. If he lost consciousness, there is no way he didn’t suffer a concussion. When a player gets a concussion, he must sit out one week and then be cleared to practice without contact, by rule.

    I sincerely hope your remark about his injury was tongue in cheek.

  3. No Brainer says

    Where are the trainers and coaches? There is a CT concussion law and NFHS rules regarding return to play protocols. The head coach saying he should be fine to play before even beginning the protocols? Oops, forgot–it’s football and championship season!

    Remember folks, these are kids, with a big life ahead of them. Who’s looking our for their health and safety?

    • No Brainer says

      I hear now that it was a “stinger” and he will be playing on Saturday. Really???

      Obvious hit to the head, athlete said he was ” knocked out, and woke up and found himself on the field,” was carried off in a stretcher, and coach immediately dismissed injury and said he would be OK.

      Forgot about the health of a child. The priority is a W and the team needs it’s star player. We all know about about Second Impact Syndrome. For everyone’s sake, I hope there aren’t any consequences…

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