WEST HAVEN >> St. Joseph had the most prolific offense in the entire state last season, amassing more than 7,000 yards en route to the Class M state championship.
In fact, the last time the Hogs scored less than 20 points in a game was Oct. 28, 2012.
Notre Dame-West Haven needed to hold St. Joseph under 20 points Thursday night to have a shot in this SCC-FCIAC Challenge game at Veterans Stadium. The Green Knights did. But the Hogs, they can play some defense, too.
St. Joseph held Notre Dame scoreless in the second half to win 17-6 and sweep the Green Knights in this two-year conference mega-matchup.
“I can’t say enough great things about our defense,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “We think we’re pretty good at linebacker. We’re a heckuva lot better than we were (at linebacker) the year before.”
It was the 300th win in the history of the program for St. Joseph. The two programs used to be former All Connecticut Conference rivals.
The Green Knights (0-1) drove into St. Joseph territory on its last three possessions, but came up empty each time.
“I thought our defense played great the whole night,” Notre Dame coach Tom Marcucci said. “We were too erratic on offense. We didn’t have any rhythm.”
Mufasha Abdul Basir intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Christian Lupoli on one of those drives midway through the fourth quarter. But Basir is better known as St. Joes’ top tailback and he didn’t disappoint.
Basir rushed for a game-high 204 yards on 28 carries and the Hogs’ second touchdown.
“I had the utmost confidence in them (the offensive line),” Basir said. “I knew they would make the holes. I just had to run like I did last year.”
The Green Knights did stuff Basir and quarterback Kevin Trefz (who scored the only other TD) on consecutive plays at the goal line to take over in the early stages of the third quarter. And after a blocked punt by Marc Mrozek, the Hogs drove to Notre Dame’s 3-yard line.
But the hosts stiffened and Mrozek kicked a 24-yard field goal to put St. Joes up 17-6 early in the fourth quarter.
“That’s a really good team,” Della Vecchia said. “They’re big, they’re physical, they have athletes all over the place and we knew this was going to be a heckuva game. It was last year, too.”
Kobe Wiggins scored Notre Dame’s only touchdown, a 60-yard run in the second quarter the first time he touched the ball.
But St. Joseph was able to keep Notre Dame from making it a one-score game on its last three possessions.
“I thought we could score more than 17 on them to be honest,” Marcucci said.
“We will keep fighting. We will be OK. We need to regroup and lick our wounds a little bit.”
|St. Joseph 17, ND-WH 6||1||2||3||4||F|
SJ — Kevin Treftz 9 run (Mark Mrozek kick)
ND — Kobe Wiggins 60 run (kick failed)
SJ — Mufasha Abdul-Basir 2 run (Mrozek kick)
SJ — Mrozek 24 field goal
Records: St. Joseph 1-0, Notre Dame-WH 0-1