By Ryan Lacey
WESTPORT--With its FCIAC and Class LL playoff fate largely out of its hands, the Staples football team focused on what it could control with the regular season drawing to a close.
While results outside of Westport didn't go the Wreckers way in terms of reaching the FCIAC title game next week, their Class LL hopes remained healthy thanks to a complete team effort on both sides of the ball.
Jack Greenwald had touchdown runs of four and eight yards and added an interception on defense as Staples scored 48 unanswered points en route to a 48-13 win over Norwalk on Friday night to improve to 8-2 with one game remaining.
"We're trying not to focus on that we're trying to win each game and see what we can do," running back Patrick Lesch, who had 10 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, said. "We did that we took care of what we could control, winning this game and hopefully winning against Greenwich (on Thanksgiving) and see where that leads us."
Jack Massie threw two touchdowns and added a third on the ground for the Wreckers, who shook off a slow start for the second straight week.
"Massie did a great job; it took him a little bit to get warmed up," Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. "They came out in a completely different defense than we thought they would. But that's Jack Massie.
Norwalk (4-6) got off to a dream start after the Wreckers fumbled on the first play from scrimmage. Eight plays later, running back Clifford Joseph found the end zone from four yards out. After the Wreckers went three-and-out, Norwalk quarterback Andrew Huzina hit Yesid Rodriguez for a 56-yard touchdown to give the Bears a two-score lead.
"If I was told we'd be 13-0 up on Staples I would have signed on the dotted line right there," Norwalk coach Sean Ireland said. "We had the momentum."
After the teams traded three-and-outs, the Wreckers marched 66 yards late in the first quarter to get on the board. Massie carried three times for 51 yards on the drive finished it off with a 16-yard touchdown.
Lesch scored on a 26-yard run on Staples', Greenwald's interception soon followed and the Wreckers never looked back.
"When you play Staples you have to play disciplined for four quarters," Ireland said. "We did that in the first half but we didn't for four quarters. That's what their offense is designed to do, you get complacent, you don't read your keys and the next thing they are running down the field like a track meet."
Staples particularly tightened the screws in the second half. Norwalk had just 31 yards offense over the final 24 minutes.
"We were coached well, we knew what they were going to do, which was a good call," Lesch said. "We made some adjustments in our formations; everyone was doing what we needed to do."
Will Johnson had five catches for 124 yards and a touchdown for Staples. The senior wideout had one-on-one coverage for most of the night and took full advantage.
"(Johnson) had a great game, they started picking up on the run and stacking the box so we were able to put Will on the outside and he's phenomenal," Lesch said. "The combination of him and Massie is deadly. If he gets open Massie is going to find him."
NORWALK 13 0 0 0--13
STAPLES 7 21 6 14--48
Records: Norwalk 4-6, 4-6 FCIAC; Staples 8-2, 8-1.
N--Clifford Joseph 4 run (LJ Harris kick)
N--Yesid Rodriguez 56 pass Andrew Huzina (kick blocked)
S--Patrick Lesch 26 run (Gifford kick)
S--Bryan Porter 8 pass Massie (Gifford kick)
S--Jack Greenwald 4 run (Gifford kick)
S--Will Johnson 15 pass Massie (kick missed)
S--Greenwald 8 run (Gifford kick)
S--Teddy Coogan 32 run (Gifford kick)