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Big second half lifts Staples football past Central

Updated 2:07 pm, Wednesday, November 13, 2013

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  • Central's quarterback Mykel Morris (23) strong arms Staples' Jackson Ward (65) as Staples' Ian Burns (55) defends during the football game at Kennedy Stadium at Central High School in Bridgeport on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 Photo: Amy Mortensen / Connecticut Post Freelance

    Central's quarterback Mykel Morris (23) strong arms Staples' Jackson Ward (65) as Staples' Ian Burns (55) defends during the football game at Kennedy Stadium at Central High School in Bridgeport on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013

    Photo: Amy Mortensen

 

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Comfortable wins have been hard to come by for the Staples football team. Despite their 6-2 record entering the game Friday at Central, the Wreckers have let some of their opponents hang around far longer than head coach Marce Petroccio would hope.

That trend continued with three games before a possible post season appearance, only for the Wreckers to turn on the jets in the second half to pull away.

Running backs Jack Greenwald (197) and Patrick Lesch (82) combined for 279 yards and four touchdowns as Staples overcame a 20-14 halftime deficit to down Bridgeport Central 42-26 on Friday night at Kennedy Stadium. The win improves the Wreckers record to 7-2 and keep them in the Class LL playoff hunt.

"They were told that at halftime," Petroccio said of the implications of the win. "There is a sense of urgency; the deal is if you want to be in the playoffs you can't lose a game like this. We have to run the table and hopefully have a shot."

The message was heard loud and clear as the Wreckers scored on its first four possessions in the second half. The win continued a trend for Staples, which has struggled in first halves this season.

"We had some problems moving the football early but once we figured out what (the Hilltoppers) were doing I thought we did a pretty good job in the second half," Petroccio said. "It was a tale of two halves as usual for the Staples Wreckers."

The ground game did the bulk of the work for Staples, but quarterback Jack Massie had an efficient game throwing as well. The senior completed all seven of his pass attempts for 125 yards.

"(Massie) took a shot to the back in the first quarter," Petroccio said. "He's a tough kid and he made some big throws that helped us win."

The Hilltoppers (0-9) were led by quarterback Mykell Morris, whose arm and legs gave Staples fits. Morris went 12-for-25 passing for 295 yards while adding 73 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Quinton Jones, who had more than 100 receiving yards, also had a touchdown throwing and receiving.

"(Morris is) a warrior; he lays it out there on both sides of the ball for us," Central coach Brian Gordon said. "He's getting better and improving and that's a big positive for our team."

Central had multiple chances to add to its point total, but the Wreckers defense got a trio of timely stops in the red zone. The final one came with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, with a Staples stop on 4th-and-goal from the 5-yard line preserved a two-score lead.

"I thought they performed really well," Gordon said. "We just missed some opportunities against a high quality opponent and I think that was the difference in the game. The effort was there and I'm proud of that."

Staples 42, Central 26

STAPLES 0 14 21 7--42

BRIDGEPORT CENTRAL 0 20 6 0--26

BC--Keyshawn Thomas 33 pass Quinton Jones (kick blocked)

S--Will Johnson 36 pass Jack Massie (Mike Gifford kick)

BC--Jones 77 pass Mykell Morris (run failed)

S--Patrick Lesch 3 run (Gifford kick)

BC--Dominique Hancock 33 pass Morris (Morris run)

S--Massie 14 run (Gifford kick)

S--Jack Greenwald 73 run (Gifford kick)

BC--Morris 2 run (pass failed)

S--Greenwald 5 run (Gifford kick)

S--Lesch 5 run (Gifford kick)

Records: Staples 7-2, 7-1 FCIAC; Bridgeport Central 0-9, 0-8.

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