WESTPORT, Conn. Staples High School senior Jon Heil might have thought he was running track instead of playing in the Class LL football state quarterfinals Tuesday.
Heil, filling in for injured lead back Joey Zelkowitz, shattered the Staples' single-game rushing record with 366 yards on 27 carries and four touchdowns. In a performance that would make most video gamers playing "Madden" jealous, Heils explosive night carried Staples over Ridgefield, 48-21, and into the state semifinals .
The Wreckers' third-string running back and track standout, Heil became the story of the game at a rain-soaked Fujitani Field in Wilton. He ripped off a 94-yard touchdown run on Staples fifth offensive play from scrimmage. He also collected rushing scores of 80, 63 and 8 yards. If fantasy football fans out there are adding it up, that is a 60-point performance.
It was a night that Heil said he never could have imagined. Its pretty amazing. I knew Joey was banged up, so I knew I was going to be getting some more carries. The holes just opened up for me, he said. I just focused and didnt think about the rain that much.
Few people expected a night with so many big plays because of the rain pounding the field for nearly the entire game. Seven scoring plays were of 27 yards or longer, with all three Ridgefield touchdowns coming on long plays.
How many kids in a playoff game in a two-back option system have a night like that? Im so happy for Jon tonight, a beaming Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. Its a tribute to him and our offensive line. They didnt tackle him so we just kept running him. For whatever reason, we were on tonight.
Quarterback Jack Massie hit a wide-open James Frusciante for 36 yards late in the first quarter to put Staples up, 14-0. Heil took a seat after his stellar evening, and the Wreckers also got touchdown runs from Robbie Wolff and Nick Kelly.
Lost in the record-setting offensive success was a huge effort by the Staples secondary, which held Ridgefield quarterback Connor Rowe to just eight completions on 29 attempts. Frusciante and Vasili Tziolis each intercepted Rowe.
Heil smashed the old Staples single-game record held by Jesse Becker of 275 yards set on Thanksgiving Day 2000. Heil came within 10 yards of breaking the single-game conference rushing record (375 yards), set by Maurice Rosado of Danbury in 1992.
Staples will now take on sixth-seeded Newtown in the Class LL semifinal Saturday. The time and site of the game have yet to be determined.
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