Thaw leads Staples past Norwalk
WESTPORT — Jake Thaw has come into his own as quarterback of the Staples football team.
The junior signal-caller amassed 245 of the Wreckers’ 447 total yards Friday night, rushing for four touchdowns and throwing for another while leading Staples to a 40-20 win over Norwalk.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pounder scored on touchdown runs of 1, 10, 14 and 42 yards and connected with wide receiver Kevin Rabacs on a 28-yard passing play to spark the offense.
“Jake played really well,” Staples coach Phil Treglia said. “He’s behind a good offensive line and he complements what we’re doing. It was just his time to shine tonight and he did.”
Thaw — who led scoring drives on Staples’ opening two possession — was the first to admit he didn’t do it alone.
“Things just opened up,” Thaw said. “I’m going to get credit for the touchdowns, but it’s the offensive line opening up massive holes and the receivers blocking up field. It’s what everybody is doing around me that allows me to do that.”
Thaw carried the ball 13 times for 139 yards and was 8 for 11 through the air for another 106 yards.
Two of Thaw’s highlight plays on the night came on back-to-back plays.
He scrambled 42 yards for a touchdown to give Staples a 27-6 lead with 7:61 left in the third quarter.
On the Wreckers’ next drive, on a second-and-7, Thaw had the ball stripped away from him by a Norwalk defender.
He had the wherewithal, however, to pick the ball and race for a first down, keeping the drive alive. Staples would later score when Tim Luciano (25 carries, 147 yards) found the end zone on a 5-yard plunge as Staples built a 33-6 advantage.
“He’s very good,” Norwalk coach Sean Ireland said of Thaw. “He runs that offense well. He can throw a little bit. His reads are perfect on the run game. He’s a dual-threat quarterback and those are tough to prepare for.”
As good as Thaw was Friday, Treglia knows his quarterback can get even better.
“The most important thing is he’s a great kid and a great student. We see that every day,” the coach said. “He’s a really good player and he’s growing every week, and he still has room to grow. He’s not satisfied with his own play yet.”
WEIGHT FOR IT
Staples didn’t just dominate the scoreboard, it dominated the statistics on both sides of the ball.
And Ireland knows why.
The Norwalk coach all but said his team didn’t lose to Staples on Friday. It lost the game last summer.
“Whenever we go up against a team more physical, that’s our problem,” Ireland said. “We’re athletic. We break long runs, we break long passes, we break kickoff returns. We just get handled up front. Until we start working hard in the offseason, that’s not going to change.”
ONE YARD AND ONE FLAG
The game might have been a lot closer if not for two crucial calls, both of which went against Norwalk.
Trailing 13-6 in the second quarter, the Bears were faced with a third-and-inches at the Staples 18.
Norwalk quarterback Kyle Gordon called his own number and appeared to obviously get the first down by more than a yard. A questionable spot, however, led to a measurement which led to a fourth-and-short.
Norwalk would turn the ball over on downs on the next play and Staples answered with another scoring drive.
In the third quarter, Norwalk’s Jakari Walker went 91 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff return.
A flag was thrown out into the open field nowhere near any players, negating the touchdown and frustrating the Bears coaching staff.
“I’ve got to look at the film,” Ireland said, choosing his words carefully. “It was their call.”
ONE LAST STAT
As good as Staples’ offense was against the Bears, its run defense might have been even better.
The Wreckers gave up just 10 yards on the ground on 21 rushing plays by Norwalk.
STAPLES 40, NORWALK 20
NORWALK 6 0 7 7—20
STAPLES 13 7 13 7—40
S—Jake Thaw 1 run (kick failed)
S—Thaw 14 run (Bradley Cox kick)
N—Khalil Eason 2 run (kick failed)
S—Thaw 10 run (Cox kick)
S—Thaw 42 run (Cox kick)
S—Tim Luciano 5 run (kick blocked)
N—Eason 89 kickoff return (Vasilios Kiriazidis kick)
N—Jaki Elliott 16 pass from Gordon (Kiriazidis kick)
S—Kevin Rabacs 28 pass from Thaw (Cox kick)
Team Records: Norwalk 3-3, Staples 5-1.