St. Joseph puts up 84 points in its Class M football victory
Updated 1:02 am, Wednesday, December 4, 2013
TRUMBULL -- St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia tried to find the words to best describe his team's eye-popping display on offense.
This night, the scoreboard provided the loudest explanation.
The second-seeded Cadets racked up an incredible 808 yards in an 84-49 rout of No. 7 Ledyard in the Class M state quarterfinals Tuesday at Trumbull High.
"I thought we'd score. I didn't think we'd score (84) points," DellaVecchia said. "The first quarter was ridiculous. Nobody was stopping anybody.
"It was just like a fast-break basketball game. It did calm down a little bit after that."
It did, but not by much.
Leading 28-21 after one quarter, the Cadets (11-2) scored touchdowns on each of their final nine drives to score a berth in Saturday's semifinal against No. 3 Joel Barlow (10-2) at Bunnell High School at 2 p.m.
Junior running back Mufasha Abdul Basir accounted for a solid chunk of the offense, totaling a staggering 323 yards (248 in the first half) and five touchdowns on 21 carries. He opened the scoring on the Cadets' second play from scrimmage with a 51-yard run, making it 7-0 only 47 seconds into the first quarter.
"It was a good day. The offensive line, they have a great day every week," Abdul Basir said. "They really open up those holes for me, make it much easier."
Abdul Basir had plenty of help in the offensive explosion, and it didn't come from just the offensive line. Wide receiver Shane Miller accounted for four touchdowns and gained 201 yards on only five carries as the Cadets posted the state's fifth-highest point total since 1930. The 133 combined points, however, is a record, surpassing the old mark of 120 in Guilford's 67-53 win over Jonathan Law on Nov. 5, 2010.
"I know they were trying to put a lot of guys in the box, but we were still able to run the ball," DellaVecchia said. "We had a feeling they were going to do that, but we were just going to stick with our plan to keep running and open up our passing game when we needed it."
The Cadets didn't really need their passing game, although that was highly effective as well. Quarterback Jordan Vazzano tossed three touchdowns -- two of which went to Miller and another to Lars Pedersen -- as the Cadets led 47-35 at halftime and 72-42 after three quarters.
Ledyard (9-3) kept pace with the electric St. Joseph offense for much of the first half, even grabbing a 35-34 lead with 5:47 left in the second quarter on Jordan Kowalski's 37-yard grab from Ty Ebdon. The Colonels just couldn't keep scoring at that frenetic pace.
"I thought defensively we would play better," Ledyard coach Jim Buonocore said. "I liked our plan, I liked what we were doing. Obviously, we had to move, we had to blitz, we had to mix the coverages.
"Obviously, they were just bigger than us, stronger than us."
Only three plays after falling behind for the first and only time on the night, Vazzano connected with Miller for a 27-yard touchdown and a 41-35 lead. The Cadets forced a Ledyard punt -- one of only two in the game -- on the ensuing drive and capitalized again. Pedersen's 12-yard touchdown grab made it 47-35 just 19 seconds before halftime. In total, the Cadets scored touchdowns on 13 of their 14 drives.
"We did all the things we wanted to do early and often," Buonocore said. "But, at just some point in time, you're not going to keep going blow for blow. It's like a 15-round fight. The bigger, faster, stronger guy is eventually going to wear on you. They wore on us."
Kowalaski recorded three touchdowns for Ledyard, while River Thomas hauled in a pair of scores.
LEDYARD 21 14 7 7 -- 49
ST. JOSEPH 28 19 25 12 -- 84
SJ -- Mufasha Abdul Basir 51 run (Kevin Bortnick kick)
L -- Jordan Kowalski 3 run (Luke Saccone kick)
SJ -- Shane Miller 51 run (Bortnick kick)
L -- Joseph Carter 89 kick return (Saccone kick)
SJ -- Abdul Basir 29 run (Bortnick kick)
L -- Ty Ebdon 3 run (Saccone kick)
SJ -- Joe Civitella 3 run (Bortnick kick)
L -- River Thomas 22 pass Ebdon (Saccone kick)
SJ -- Abdul Basir 2 run (Kick failed)
L -- Kowalski 37 pass Ebdon (Saccone kick)
SJ -- Miller 27 pass Jordan Vazzano (Bortnick kick)
SJ -- Lars Pedersen 12 pass Vazzano (Pass incomplete)
L -- Thomas 43 pass Ebdon (Saccone kick)
SJ -- Miller 52 run (Bortnick kick)
SJ -- Abdul Basir 12 run (Kick failed)
SJ -- Abdul Basir 27 run (Kick failed)
SJ -- Miller 19 pass Vazzano (Run fails)
SJ -- Civitella 45 run (Kick fails)
SJ -- Christian Trefz 3 run (Run fails)
L -- Kowalski 20 run (Saccone kick)
Records: Ledyard 9-3; St. Joseph 11-2.