TRUMBULL — St. Joseph’s Jude Andrzejewski raced around the edge and pummeled quarterback Daniel Thompson, forcing a fumble that Michael Morrissey returned 43 yards for a touchdown.

With that, the long, forgettable afternoon of football for Staples was on.

The showdown between two of the FCIAC’s top programs turned into a showcase for the sixth-ranked Cadets, who crushed Staples 49-9 on Saturday at Dalling Field.

“I think that was when we knew we were really going to get going,” Andrzejewski said of his forced fumble, which led to St. Joseph taking a 7-0 lead with 5:30 to go in the first quarter. “We knew we were going to have a good day at that point.”

Andrzejewski was part of a defense that recorded six sacks and intercepted Thompson twice. The senior linebacker returned one of those two interceptions four yards for a touchdown.

“Our defense played great today,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “They played really good. I thought they were emotional, and they were on-task. To hold them to nine points is something else.”

The Cadets offense did their part as well, as David Summers completed 17-of-34 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns, both to William Diamantis (5 and 29 yards). Summers also ran for a 60-yard touchdown, which put St. Joseph up 14-6 late in the first quarter, and scored on a 1-yard run.

“Defensively, we could only hold them out for so long,” Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. “We gave them a short field a bunch of times. They’re going to score; they’re that good.”

The win improved the Cadets to 7-1 and gave them ownership of the top spot in Class S with two games remaining. Staples, on the other hand, saw its playoff hopes all but ruined in Class LL after dropping to 5-3.

“Going in,” Della Vecchia said, “I thought they were a really good team and needed the game really bad. I think once we got the lead, it took the wind out of them.”

A punt return by Kevin Rabacs down to the 1 helped set up the Wreckers’ only touchdown — a 2-yard run by Brandon Adrian — in the first quarter. The Wreckers came out of halftime trailing only 21-9, but St. Joseph marched 72 yards on the opening possession of the second half. A 1-yard run by Summers increased the lead to 28-9.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jude Andrzejewski, St. Joseph, LB: The 212-pound senior spent almost his entire afternoon in the Staples backfield, recording four sacks and a forced fumble. He also returned an interception 4 yards for a touchdown.

KNOWING WHAT WORKS

St. Joseph wide receiver Jesse Bike caught five passes for 133 yards, 110 of which came off receptions on consecutive drives in the second half. When asked specifically about Bike following the game, St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said one of the plans throughout the week was to target the junior over the top of the Staples defense. “One of the plans going in, we felt on that play, was that they weren’t going to cover him,” Della Vecchia said.

QUOTABLE

“It was right place, right time. … I looked up and saw the ball, and that was it. I dove in the end zone.” — Andrzejewski on his interception return

dbonjour@ctpost.com; @DougBonjour

ST. JOSEPH 49, STAPLES 9

STAPLES 6 3 0 0 — 9

ST. JOSEPH 14 7 21 7 — 49

SJ — Michael Morrissey 43 fumble return (Luke Kirby kick)

S — Brandon Adrian 1 run (Kick failed)

SJ — David Summers 60 run (Kirby kick)

SJ — William Diamantis 5 pass Summers (Kirby kick)

S — Ben van der Marwe 35 field goal

SJ — Summers 1 run (Kirby kick)

SJ — Jaden Shirden 8 run (Kirby kick)

SJ — Jude Andrzejewski 4 interception return (Kirby kick)

SJ — Diamantis 29 pass Summers (Kirby kick)

Records: Staples 5-3; St. Joseph 7-1.