FAIRFIELD — Sandwiched between an emphatic win over GametimeCT then-No. 1 New Canaan and an impending matchup with No. 3 Darien next Saturday, Friday’s matchup for newly-minted No. 1 St. Joseph against Fairfield Warde presented the classic trap-game scenario.
And, while the Hogs did more than survive — downing Warde 44-6 — the sloppy, penalty-filled affair did little to inspire confidence going forward.
“Trap game, trap week of practice, that’s what happens,” St. Joe coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “I don’t know how many penalties we had, but I’m guessing 22. I warned them all week, warned them before we left and we just had all those penalties and don’t play well and that’s what happens. We just I guess had a bad hangover, I don’t know.”
Midway through the first, St. Joseph was facing a fourth-and-three in Warde territory, but a 30-yard quarterback draw from David Summers put the Hogs at the 15-yard-line, eventually leading to a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Bike on a long third-and-goal following a penalty.
The second Hogs’ score came a little easier as on the first play of the drive Summers dumped a screen to Jaden Shirden, who galloped 52 yards to make it 14-0 in the first.
The Warde offense woke up from there, as quarterback Joey Gublin hit Jeff Seganos Jr. with a 32-yard pass to the St. Joe seven, where they would once again connect to make it 14-6.
With just under nine minutes to go in the second, St. Joe’s Jesse Lawson recovered a fumble at the plus-22 and the Hogs made it count.
Receiver William Diamantis skied for a jump ball at the two on the first play and eventually hauled in seven-yard touchdown following a St. Joseph false start penalty.
Warde responded with a long drive, but Cole daSilva intercepted a pass for St. Joseph at his own 21.
The Hogs would drive to the two before losing a fumble, but DaSilva saved the day with a tackle for a safety to make it 23-6 St. Joseph headed to the half.
“I’m very pleased with how our kids played and the effort they gave,” Warde coach Duncan Della Volpe said. “At one point the score was 23-6 and we probably gave them nine of those points, so 14-6 against a pretty talented team, I thought we did a heck of a job.”
The third was uneventful from a scoring standpoint, but important in that Gublin exited the game for the Mustangs with an injury, leading to three touchdowns from the Hogs in the final frame.
Early in the quarter, Summers hit Diamantis with an eight-yard strike for a score, then the quarterback broke off a 19-yard touchdown run, barreling through several defenders on his way to pay dirt.
“That was great,” Summers laughed. “I don’t run a lot so it’s always nice to score a running touchdown. Our line did a nice job blocking, Jaden had a nice lead block for me. It is what it is, great team effort.”
Shirden put a bow on the win with a 20-yard touchdown romp as time expired.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Summers, St. Joseph. The senior QB wasn’t perfect, but threw for four scores and ran for another. His biggest accomplishment was eliminating turnovers after throwing three interceptions against New Canaan last week.
“Just was smarter with the ball,” Summers said. “Against New Canaan I took a couple shots I shouldn’t have taken, a couple bad throws when I didn’t need to throw the ball. Today was just, play smarter with the ball and get it to the guys that are open.”
While it was technically the home opener for Warde, the game was played across town at Fairfield-Ludlowe High School due to construction at the Mustangs’ field.
“If we play with that effort and we clean up mistakes, then I’m confident in every game that we go into,” Della Volpe said. “This team that we played tonight should be one of the better teams that we face. If we continue to get that effort, we’ll be in every one.”
ST. JOSEPH 44, FAIRFIELD WARDE 6
ST. JOSEPH 14 9 0 21—44
FAIRFIELD WARDE 0 6 0 0—6
Records: St. Joseph 2-0, 2-0 FCIAC; Fairfield Warde 1-1, 1-1.
SJ—Jesse Bike 20 pass David Summers (Luke Kirby kick)
SJ—Jaden Shirden 52 pas Summers (Kirby kick)
FW—Jeff Seganos Jr. 7 pass Joey Gublin (PAT failed)
SJ—William Diamantis 7 pass Summers (Kirby kick)
SJ—Cole DaSilva safety
SJ—Diamantis 8 pass Summers (Kirby kick)
SJ—Summers 19 run (Kirby kick)
SJ—Shirden 20 run (Kirby kick)