Staples wins big over Norwalk, 45-13
By Ryan Lacey
Turnovers and ill-timed penalties have led to the demise of the Staples football team in its four losses this season. With the Wreckers looking to end the season on a positive note, their vaunted defense forced a number of early turnovers and the offense played a clean game Friday over Norwalk.
Teddy Coogan ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third as the Wreckers stomped the Bears, 45-13, in Norwalk. Coogan had 131 yards on nine yards carries in the win, while teammate Ethan Burger had two rushing touchdowns to push his season total to 10.
"Things finally came together for us," Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. "The offensive line played well. Tonight we went after them on both sides of ball and I'm proud of how the kids played."
The Wreckers went three-and-out on their opening drive, but recovered a muffed punt to continue the drive near the red zone. On the next play following the turnover, Coogan kept the ball and scampered 25 yards into the end zone. Coogan was back in the end zone late in the first quarter after the Wreckers recovered a fumble at the Norwalk 3-yard line.
"Turnovers for once we were forcing them instead of giving the ball away and when you do that that's type of performance you'll have," Petroccio said.
Staples capitalized on other Norwalk miscues to score 21 points in the second quarter. The Wreckers marched 79 yards in nine plays in a drive that ended on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Coogan to Jake Melnick to push the lead to 28-0. Burger's second touchdown run made it 35-0 at the half.
"Teddy ran the ball very well tonight, Jake made some catches and the offensive line blocked very well," Petroccio said. "(Norwalk) has some large people; we just took it to them."
The Bears, who were coming off an upset win over Stamford last week, shot themselves in the foot with numerous turnovers and penalties. Izaiah Sanders and Bobby Butler caught touchdown passes in the defeat.
"We just put ourselves in way too deep of a whole in the beginning of the game and a good team like Staples is going to capitalize on that," Norwalk coach Pat Moffett said. "We had a nice three-and-out to start the game and we fumble the ball. That was the trend for the rest of the night."
The win was the third straight for the Wreckers (6-4), who lost a trio of close games that ended their hopes for playoff football. While a play or two in each game creates an entirely different narrative on their season, the Wreckers are peaking at the end with a date against Greenwich on Thanksgiving.
"One or two plays and this team is 9-1 instead of 6-4," Petroccio said. "That's life, there's not much we can do about it now. We had a chance to do something way back when but we didn't and I just want to send these seniors out on a positive note."
Nick Esposito recovered two fumbles for the Wreckers. Staples forced four first-half turnovers. Burger has rushed for almost 1,200 yards for Staples this season. Wreckers kicker Paul Tricarico booted his 11th field goal of the season, leaving him one shy of the state record.
Staples 45, Norwalk 13
STAPLES 14 21 10 0 --45
NORWALK 0 0 7 6--13
S--Teddy Coogan 25 run (Paul Tricarico kick)
S--Coogan 3 run (Tricarico kick)
S--Ethan Burger 4 run (Tricarico kick)
S--Jake Melnick 31 pass Coogan (Tricarico kick)
S--Burger 14 run (Tricarico kick)
S--Tricarico 31 field goal
S--Connor Griffin 25 run (Tricarico kick)
N--Bobby Butler 4 pass Greg Goldstein (pass failed)
Records: Staples 6-4, 6-3 FCIAC, Norwalk 4-6, 4-5.