TRUMBULL — St. Joseph won a 63-3 decision from Warde in an FCIAC football contest at Dalling Field on Saturday afternoon.
The easy answer to the Hogs’ offensive success would be the individual talents of quarterback Jack Wallace, who threw for five touchdowns. Or maybe it was Jaden Shirden and his 100-plus yards rushing and two scores. Then there is Brady Hutchison, who caught three touchdown passes including one on a one-handed catch in the end zone.
The truth is, the entire unit for coach Joe Della Vecchia’s Cadets is more important or impressive than any one player.
“These kids know when its their turn,” Della Vecchia said. “Every year is a new team, a new class. They don’t care (about publicity) they just want to win.”
The Hogs, ranked second in the GameTimeCT football poll, showed off all its weapons on their first series against coach Duncan DellaVolpe’s 2-5 Mustangs.
Wallace completed passes to Austin Jose (6 yards), Hutchison (10 yards) and Will Diamantis (8 yards) to lead an 11-play, 62-yard drive to start the game.
Shirden accounted for 38 yards on six carries, including a one-yard touchdown blast, with the O-line of Nick DiIorio, Chris Kiley, Dennis Elrod, Kenny Martin and Brian Robertson being joined by upback-lineman Alex Pagliarini and Cayden Porter on the scoring run.
“Without them, some of the plays we make wouldn’t be possible,” said Shirden, who rushed for 105 yards on 16 carries in the first half. “I always thank them (the O-line) first, they do a great job. They are the reason we can run the ball, as well as pass.”
The Cadet defense limited the Mustangs to negative-one yard of offense on their first 18 plays through five possessions.
After the first three-and-out, Wallace found Owen DaSilva who turned the catch into a 17-yard gain to the Warde 7-yard line. The Mustangs blitzed and dropped Shirden for a 4-yard loss. Wallace then went over the middle to Hutchison. On the run, Hutchison reached out with his left hand and brought the ball in for an 11-yard touchdown with 5:58 left in the first quarter.
With Warde’s defensive personel balanced at each level, the Mustangs held on downs after St. Joe’s got to their 29.
Now it was Wallace’s ability to extend a play that resulted in the Cadets’ third touchdown.
Rolling to his left, Wallace checked down and found Hutchison over the middle. Hutchison went the distance for a 43-yard score.
A sack by Jermaine Williams got the ball back, but Warde’s Dylan Igram and Wyatt Morgan combined to sack Wallace for a 10-yard loss. On the next snap, however, the senior QB went over the top to connect with Hutchison on a 30-yard post pattern and a 28-0 lead.
Things got better for the Cadets when Justin Williams won a contested pass for an interception and returned it 31 yards to paydirt only three plays later.
After Joey Gulbin completed a 12-yard pass to a sliding Jack McKenna, Warde went for it on fourth-and-4 from its 22-yard line. Connor Burt got his hands under a pass for five yards and a first. Ryan Janz ran for six yards before the Mustangs had to punt.
It was all Shirden on the Cadets’ next drive, as the 5-foot-9, 175-pound runner carried the ball five times. His last jaunt was good for a 36-yard TD, with Jose sealing the edge with a great stalk block.
Again, Warde kept at it.
McKenna was on the receiving end of an 18-yard pass and Warde got to its 44. That’s when the Cadets’ Cole DaSilva picked up a fumble and ran it back to the 24, where a face-mask penalty brought the ball to the 22. Jose caught a 9-yard pass from Wallace two plays later for a 49-0 lead with 2:40 left in the half.
Wallace completed 12 of 17 passes for 184 yards and the five scores. Shirden ran for 145 yards on 17 carries. Hutchison finished with four catches good for 94 yards and the three touchdowns
McKenna caught 7 passes worth 80 yards. Gulbin was 9 for 18 passing for 97 yards.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Brady Hutchison, Jaden Shirden, St. Joseph. Hutchison caught four passes and three went for touchdowns. Shirden drew special attention, yet to turned those 16 first-half carries into 105 yards of offense and two scores.
“I always thank them (the O-line) first, they do a great job. They are the reason we can run the ball, as well as pass.” — St. Joseph’s Jaden Shirden