STAMFORD—Friday Night Lights officially arrived at Trinity Catholic High School’s Gaglio Field.
And the Crusaders football program made the most of the milestone event as they grinded away to a 27-13 FCIAC season-opening triumph over Danbury High.
The Trinity Catholic passing attack came alive in the second half as senior Sam Aldof — making his first varsity start — tossed his second and third touchdown passes of the evening before a thrilled partisan crowd to extend the Crusaders’ 14-13 intermission edge.
“Sam did some good things in his first varsity start. We had a lot of guys out there for the first time,” said Trinity Catholic coach Donny Panapada. “Everyone played their hearts out. It was a great fight.”
At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Aldof displayed a lot of natural ability with his feet and his right arm.
Staying with a ground attack early, Trinity Catholic eventually forced the Danbury defense to put extra defenders in the box. This led to the Crusaders having better matchups in the secondary which they exploited over the final 24 minutes.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
John Petrizzi, a senior captain for Trinity Catholic hauled in touchdown passes for 54 yards in the second quarter and 42 yards in the third quarter to send the Crusaders to victory.
“The running we did early created some great matchups for the receivers on the outside,” Petrizzi said. “We were all pumped to play our first game under the lights. We wanted it to be special. And now we’re 5-0 on our home field. The seniors are so proud of what Sam (Aldof) accomplished in his first start.”
SILVER LININGS FOR DANBURY
Danbury (0-1) rushed for 172 yards in the first half but barely 40 yards in the second half. The Hatters completed just two of nine passes in the contest.
“I had good chances to run (97 yards total, 65-yard TD burst) in the first half. Trinity’s defense took me out of the game plan (two carries, minus eight yards) in the second half,” said Danbury tri-captain and junior quarterback Diante Vines. “We showed we can play with heart and effort. I like things I saw from our running game. We just have to stay on task.”
Joe Merhi’s 12-yard TD reception late in the second quarter represented the bulk of Danbury’s passing attack. Two interceptions — in the first quarter and in the fourth quarter — by Trinity Catholic’s Tahj Morgan stopped the Hatters.
“We made too many mistakes,” said Danbury coach Alex Trasacco. “And Trinity Catholic capitalized on most of them. I’m happy with our effort level. The mental errors hurt.”
“I was nervous last night. I was nervous at the start of the game,” said Trinity Catholic QB Sam Aldof ( 9 of 14 passing, 168 yards, 3 TDs, 0 int). “But I settled in. Our guys supported me so much. I just wanted to get the win by any means possible.”
TRINITY CATHOLIC 27, DANBURY 13
DANBURY 0 13 0 0—13
TRINITY CATHOLIC 0 14 6 7—27
TC—Sam Aldof 1 run (David Broncati kick)
D—Diante Vines 65 run (kick failed)
TC—John Petrizzi 54 pass from Aldof (Broncati kick)
D—Joe Merhi 12 pass from Vines (Lucas Amaral kick)
TC—Petrizzi 42 pass from Aldof (run failed)
TC—Lucas Breault 18 pass from Aldof (Broncati kick)
Records: Danbury 0-1; Trinity Catholic 1-0.