STAMFORD — If you are seeking your first football win of the season, there is no better day to earn it than on Homecoming/Senior Day.
There was much celebration and relief Saturday afternoon at Gaglio Field as the Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech Co-op team put together a spirited 28-26 home triumph over intracity rival Westhill.
“We came in today at 0-7, but we knew we could win. And to get this victory on Homecoming and Senior Day is so big,” said Tahj Morgan, one of 15 Crusader seniors honored before the contest. “Everybody showed up and contributed. I love my guys.”
It was a classic and dramatic battle to the finish between Westhill (1-7) and the Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech Co-op.
The offenses ruled early as TC/WT led 14-13 after one quarter.
Westhill scored on a 9-yard TD pass from Matt O’Connor to Jack Engel and a 1-yard O’Connor QB sneak. The second touchdown was set up by a 54-yard pass from O’Connor to Engel (six receptions, 93 yards).
Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech, which had an lost 21-20 on a missed two-point conversion at Trumbull on Sept. 27, answered with a 43-yard TD run by junior Michael Barrett along with a 5-yard TD pass from Branden Louis to Morgan. TC/WT senior Mark Lombardo added two of his four successful conversion kicks.
Both defenses made their presence felt the rest of the way, forcing timely turnovers.
Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech kept Westhill at bay with senior Matt Dougherty at quarterback in the second half.
Dougherty connected with Morgan on a 29-yard TD pass on third-and-13 for 21-13 midway through the third quarter.
“My motivation today was to go hard every play,” Morgan said. “Think about scoring a touchdown every time I touched the ball. And I did score twice.”
Morgan also made Westhill’s offense often go long fields as he had a perfect day with his left-footed, spiralling punts off perfect long snaps.
Westhill closed to 21-19 with 1:22 left in the third quarter as David Moodie recovered a fumble and raced 8 yards for the touchdown. The two-point running attempt failed.
TC/WT coach Thomas Broschardt saved one of his power running backs, Isaiah Lopez, for the fourth quarter.
After a 37-yard pass connection from Dougherty to Morgan, Lopez rumbled for 21 yards on three tough runs. His 5-yard burst on first-and-goal gave TC/WT a 28-19 cushion with 3:57 left to go.
An interception by Crusader Evan Field on fourth-and-14 at the TC/WT 37 ended Westhill’s best hope at a comeback with 2:40 left.
The change of possession allowed TC/WT to force Westhill to burn all its remaining timeouts and run the clock down to 1:10 to play.
Lombardo’s extra points loomed large when Westhill QB O’Connor found Omari Lewis on a 51-yard TD connection on fourth down with 41 seconds left for the 28-26 final.
“We had some great individual efforts,” Westhill coach Joe DeVellis. “The way the game shook out, I apologized to my team afterwards. This loss is on me. A great effort on offense and defense. This loss hurts. Hats off to Trinity Catholic/Wright Tech. Both teams were hunting hard for victory. But this feeling stinks for us.”
Meanwhile, TC/WT’s Broschardt got his first victorious Gatorade bath as a head coach.
“This is awesome. It’s great for the kids. They’ve battled all season long,” Broschardt said. “We’ve been knocking on the door of victory. We finally knocked an opponent out. Westhill played this like a true intracity rivalry game. To get the first Co-op football team victory is historic. I’m excited the kids were rewarded for all the hard work put in along the way.”