WEST HAVEN >> Notre Dame-West Haven football coach Tom Marcucci’s game plan for dealing with the massive Fairfield Prep line involved circumventing the middle of the field by getting star running back Cam Tucker outside the tackles.
On the first play from scrimmage, Tucker caught a quick lateral, was tackled for no gain and limped to the sidelines.
It was his only action of the evening.
The Jesuits wasted little time in overwhelming Notre Dame, scoring three touchdowns in a 3:14 span midway through the first quarter en route to a 49-14 rout at Veterans Field Friday night in Southern Connecticut Conference Division I action.
“I mean, he’s your best player and him being out of the picture after the first play, obviously that’s not the best thing,” Marcucci said. “We had plans to use him in a couple of different ways and we didn’t get to do that. But a game like this, there were too many turnovers, too many easy touchdowns for them. Prep is a big, solid, physical team and they were too much for us tonight.”
Notre Dame (1-2) actually held the Jesuits (2-1) on their first possession, but Stephen Walsh’s interception — the first of five Green Knight turnovers — turned into a Nicholas Crowle 12-yard touchdown run two plays later. Three minutes later, Prep scored twice within 15 seconds when Joseph Ganim ran in untouched from 25 yards out and Crowle scooped up a fumble and raced 24 yards on the first play of ND’s next possession. It was 21-0 with 4:14 left in the first quarter.
The Green Knights were given some life early in the second quarter when Drew Arciuolo took back Colton Smith’s tipped pass 32 yards for ND’s first touchdown. But Smith would add two rushing touchdowns before halftime and Ganim (11 carries, 157 yards) scored on his first two carries of the second half. By then it was 49-8 with 9:55 still to play in the third quarter and most of the starters on both sides headed to the sidelines.
Prep completed zero passes in the game. Smith ran six times for 37 yards and the two scores, but was 0-for-4 passing with a pick.
“The running game was working well. We tried a few passes and maybe we were a little amped up and overthrew some people,” Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea said. “Colton has been superb for us this season, but he made a little mistake which led to their touchdown, but he certainly made up for it with his feet.”
Tucker was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain and will be reevaluated early next week. He tried to get retaped on a couple of occasions to attempt to come back into the contest, but to no avail.
The Jesuits bounced back nicely from a heartbreaking 36-34 loss on the final play of the game last week to St. Joseph. But the toughest part of their schedule is still to come.
“We’ll see what the future holds,” Shea said. “The challenge here was to play four quarters of football. We only played a quarter and a half last week against a very good football team and ended up with nothing to show for it. We’re a very good team right now for a short period of time, but football is four quarters long.”
Fairfield Prep 49, Notre Dame-West Haven 14
(at West Haven)
Fairfield Prep 21 14 14 0 0 — 49
Notre Dame-WH 0 8 0 6 0 — 14
F—Nicholas Crowle 12 run (Sean Morrison kick)
F—Joe Ganim 25 run (Morrison kick)
F—Nicholas Crowle 24 fumb ret (Morrison kick)Second quarter
N—Drew Arciuolo 32 int ret (Kameran Matthews pass from Zach Cofrancesco)
F—Colton Smith 1 run (Morrison kick)
F—Colton Smith 26 run (Morrison kick)Third quarter
F—Joe Ganim 57 run (Morrison kick)
F—Joe Ganim 13 run (Morrison kick)Fourth quarter
N—Wyatt Miller 15 pass from C.J. Lewis (run failed)
Team records: Notre Dame-West Haven 1-2; Fairfield Prep 2-1