STAMFORD >> Two years ago Trinity Catholic didn’t win a game. Now the Crusaders are one step away from playing for a state championship.
Led by senior Johnny Somers, fourth-seeded Trinity Catholic crushed No. 5 Morgan 40-12 in the Class S state quarterfinals Tuesday at a rainy Boyle Stadium.
The Crusaders (9-1) will visit unbeaten and top-seeded Ansonia (11-0) in Monday’s semifinals.
Somers, then a sophomore, has not forgotten that 0-11 season, which came one year after Trinity Catholic’s last trip to the postseason. The Crusaders finished 7-4 last year.
“It’s a loss of words,” Somers said about Tuesday’s victory. “State playoffs for a lot of kids, like New Canaan, Darien, they come here every year. They know what it is, it’s just another day. But this is special for us. We were 0-11 two years ago. We went through a rough year that year. We just used last year as a building block.”
Trinity Catholic has won nine straight games since losing its season opener to Greenwich.
“To lose the first game the way we did, in the fashion we did, 42-38 to Greenwich in a heartbreaker, we knew what we had deep down,” the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Somers said. “For the stars to align the way they are right now, it’s awesome. It’s a dream come true to be out in this rainy, cold, crappy night knowing that we just smoked that team from Clinton.”
Jonmichael Bovina scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to give the Crusaders the lead for good. Somers then caught a short pass from senior Anthony Lombardi (6-3, 200) and turned it into a 75-yard touchdown after some nifty moves in the middle of the field.
Senior Izaiah Sanders (6-2, 200) caught a 6-yard touchdown from Lombardi, and junior Nick Granata returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown to give Trinity Catholic a 26-0 lead at halftime.
Lombardi completed 8 of 12 passes for 157 yards and two scores in the first half. He did not complete a pass on six attempts in the second half, but Lombardi and his slew of receivers proved to be too quick, strong and big for the Morgan defenders.
“They have some good athletes on that team, they really do,” Lombardi said about Morgan. “But I’ll take my receivers over anybody in the state of Connecticut. They work hard day in, day out, and I love those guys.”
Lombardi and the Crusaders are looking forward to playing Ansonia, which has won a state-record 19 state championships.
“The goal of ours all season was to get a state championship, and we’re one step closer,” Lombardi said. “Big game against Ansonia. We wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Lombardi scored on a 19-yard run in the third quarter, while Nick Melia scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth. Bovina finished with 98 yards on 11 carries. Dominick Svrcek and Willie Sadler made interceptions for Trinity Catholic.
Senior John Lee caught a 2-yard touchdown from senior Chucky Kostek and senior Gabe Eriksen scored on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter for the Huskies (9-2). Kostek completed 15 of 29 passes for 128 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Eriksen also caught two passes for 37 yards and recovered two fumbles. Will Fritz also recovered a fumble for Morgan.
The Huskies played without their leading receiver, Mateo Zumpano (back spasms).
“I think there were a couple of things we might have been missing,” first-year Morgan coach Peter Nye said. “Being bigger, stronger and faster was one of them. I think we matched them in heart, absolutely. I would never say that anyone played harder than Gabe Eriksen tonight on the field.”
Trinity Catholic 40, Morgan 12
Morgan 0 0 0 12 — 12
Trinity Catholic 14 12 6 8 — 40
T—Jonmichael Bovina 11 run (run failed)
T—Johnny Somers 75 pass from Anthony Lombardi (run good)
T—Izaiah Sanders 6 pass from Anthony Lombardi (run failed)
T—Nick Granata 66 int ret (pass failed)
T—Anthony Lombardi 19 run (run failed)
T—Nick Meila 2 run (John Petrizzi pass from Lombardi)
M—John Lee 2 pass from Chucky Kostek (kick failed)
M—Gabe Eriksen 2 run (pass failed)
Team records: Trinity Catholic 9-1; Morgan 9-2