TRUMBULL >> This time around, there was no need for a last-second play to beat Fairfield Prep.
The St. Joseph football team made sure this thing was wrapped up way before the last seconds ticked away.
Behind a sensational offensive performance from senior running back Mufasha Abdul Basir, the Cadets defeated Prep 48-33 Saturday afternoon to improve to 2-0 on the season.
“This is a big win for us,” Abdul Basir said. “Last year wasn’t my best year when I played them (Prep), and I came out today with a chip on my own shoulder and I had a lot of expectations about myself.”
Last year against the Jesuits, in a game the Cadets won on a Hail Mary pass (36-34) Abdul Basir recorded just nine carries for 18 yards.
It’s safe to say Abdul Basir more than made up for that game on Saturday. The senior ran for two scores on 27 carries and finished with an impressive 281 yards on the ground.
“He had a great day, our entire offense had a great day,” head coach Joe DellaVecchia said. “The kids got great vision, great balance; he’s so competitive.”
After building a 26-7 lead at the half, Fairfield Prep did its best to come back, almost reminiscent of last year’s game.
Senior quarterback Colton Smith started the second half for the Jesuits with a nifty 21-yard score on fourth down to make it 26-14.
With some momentum, the Jesuits defense came up with a huge fumble recovery by Nick Franchuk near midfield and the offense took over. Allen Gibson capped off a nine-play drive finding the end zone to bring Prep within 26-21.
With the Jesuits pressing, Abdul Basir responded as he broke free for a 68-yard touchdown late in the third and pushed the Cadets lead to 33-21.
“A wise man once told me, ‘Big time players make big time plays in big time games,’ and I wanted to be a big time player,” Abdul Basir said.
Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea on the Cadets running game: “It was dominant. We did a terrible job against it. We did a poor job tackling; he’s a terrific back, I’ll give credit where credits due. But we did a very poor job tackling. If we stopped them where we hit them the first time…but we didn’t wrap him up and that’s why he’s good. We didn’t do the job against him.”
Prep didn’t back down though as Joe Ganim scored on an 8-yard TD to make it 33-27. But as the game played out all afternoon, the St. Joseph offense seemed to have an answer. On fourth down with seven minutes remaining, quarterback Kevin Trefz connected with Lars Pedersen for a 23-yard score to put them up 41-27.
Trefz finished the afternoon with two touchdowns and 165 yards.
“I thought Kevin played very well, a lot of kids grew up today,” DellaVecchia said. “It was a great day for us.”
As good as the offense looked, the defense did its part too.
Aside from the third quarter, the Cadets limited dual-threat quarterback Smith to just one score and kept him in check for most of the afternoon.
“I thought we did a great job in the first half, the third quarter wasn’t so good,” DellaVecchia said. “They figured out what we were trying to do. The kids played a heck of a game, he’s a heck of a QB…he’s tough to stop. I thought we did a great job containing him.”
Abdul Basir started the Cadets opening drive with an early statement of a run, going 54 yards. He capped off the drive with a 1-yard score to give his team the 6-0 lead.
Pedersen added to the total with a near 60-yard punt return for the 12-0 lead.
Ganim scored Prep’s lone TD of the first half on a 1-yard score to cut the Cadets lead to 12-7.
St. Joes two other scores of the first half came a nice reverse play as Pedersen threw to an open Seamus Keating to go up 19-7, and then Trefz found Keating late in the second quarter for an 18-yard touchdown.
While St. Joes improves to 2-0, Prep falls to 1-1 and will host 1-1 Notre Dame-West Haven at Ludlowe on Friday night.
“We’ve got work to do,” Shea said. “We need some leadership from our kids and its gut-check time. We’ve been here before. We’ll see what we’re made of.”
|St. Joseph 48, Ffld Prep 33||1||2||3||4||F|
|No. 2 FAIRFIELD PREP||0||7||14||12||—||33|
|No. 8 ST. JOSEPH||6||20||7||15||—||48|
SJ — Mufasha Abdul Basir 1 run (kick failed)
SJ — Lars Pedersen 55 punt return (kick failed)
FP — Joe Ganim 1 run (Henry Healey kick)
SJ — Seamus Keating 22 pass from Pedersen (Marc Mrozek kick)
SJ — Keating 18 pass from Kevin Trefz (Mrozek kick)
FP — Colton Smith 21 run (Healey kick)
FP — Allen Gibson 9 run (Healey kick)
SJ — Abdul Basir 69 run (Mrozek kick)
FP — Ganim 9 run (pass failed)
SJ — Pedersen 23 pass Trefz (Pedersen pass from Trefz)
SJ — Trefz 8 run (Mrozek kick)
FP — Brendan Beiser 14 pass from Smith (kick failed)
Team Records: Fairfield Prep 1-1; St. Joseph 2-0