STAMFORD — Heading into halftime up by just one score, it wasn’t a big secret as to what the Staples High football team needed to fix.
After three turnovers and a less-than-desirable performance on the defensive end against a young and speedy Stamford squad, the Wreckers made the adjustments in the final two quarters, outscoring the Black Knights 20-0 in route to a 41-14 victory Friday evening at Boyle Stadium.
“Coach said we got to pick it up a little bit and so we came out and played a lot better here in the second half,” senior running back Patrick Lesch said.
As simple as it sounds, Staples took over the game in the second half with an inspired defensive effort and a solid offense. Led by the efforts of senior running back Lesch, who finished the night with 18 carries for 257 yards and three touchdowns, he kept the Wreckers offense going on a multitude of hard runs.
Senior Jack Greenwald started the third quarter scoring for Staples (3-1) capping off a drive with a short touchdown run to put Staples up 28-14. The next Staples possession senior quarterback Jack Massie highlighted a nine-play drive with an impressive scramble to collect a big first down. He capped off the series with a well-placed 35-yard touchdown into the hands of Will Johnson to give the Wreckers a comfortable 35-14 edge. Massie finished the game with two touchdowns and 165 yards.
“Patrick Lesch, he was Patrick Lesch tonight,” Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. “He’s a game-changer. As usual, Jack was Jack.”
As the offense settled into a nice rhythm that they lacked in the first half, the defense held their ground against Stamford’s run game when it mattered. After a kickoff return from Tyree Smith that he brought all the way down to the Staples’ 5-yard line, the Wreckers defense held firm. On a fourth down play, the Staples defense stopped Stamford and ultimately set up the offense for another long drive and score.
“What I’m excited about is we’re beginning to play better defense,” Petroccio said.
The defense was led by Jack Mendillo’s two interceptions on the evening.
Lesch gave Staples its final score on an 11-yard run.
Stamford (0-4) first year head coach Jamar Greene said he thought his team should have gone into the half with a better showing on the scoreboard, but was pleased with the progression of his squad despite the penalties.
“We have a young team and we made mistakes,” Greene said. “If we play two halves like we did the first half we will get this thing turned around quickly.”
The Black Knights were paced by Cameron Webb who had two rushing touchdowns and displayed his impressive running ability all night.
Staples got on the board in the first quarter as Lesch scored on a fourth down 48-yard run. Webb tied the game at seven with a 69 yard run. Lesch added his second TD of the evening off a 12-yard dash and then Staples went up 21-7 off a highlight worthy one-handed catch from Massie to Teddy Coogan for 61 yards.
Staples will host Ludlowe next Friday at 7 p.m.