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Let It Snow! Staples Blows Out Darien, 42-23

WESTPORT, Conn. – The weather outside was frightful, but the outcome sure was delightful for the Staples High School football team Saturday. Playing what head coach Marce Petroccio called “the greatest third quarter in Staples football history,” the Wreckers needed just 10 plays on four possessions to open the second half with four touchdowns.

Trailing 17-7 at halftime, the game seemed to change in Staples’ favor as quickly as the weather. Joey Zelkowitz rushed for four touchdowns, including a pair of 65-yarders as snow fell and blanketed the Staples field. Staples exploded for 35 points in the second half to beat Darien, 42-23, putting the Wreckers on the fast track to a date with New Canaan in the conference championship.

“I’ve always wanted to play in snow,” Zelkowitz said with a grin after the game. “This was the most fun football game I’ve ever played in. This is great for us going into the next two weeks and hopefully the FCIAC championship.”

Darien seemed to have complete control of the game heading into the locker room at the half. Nothing seemed to go right for the Wreckers in the first 24 minutes. Staples dropped an interception and was stopped on fourth down on the Darien two-yard line. In the wackiest play, the Wreckers blocked a field goal, but the ball bounced off a Staples player’s foot and Darien recovered on the Staples two-yard line.

Then the snow came and everything changed. Staples opened the half by returning the opening kickoff 33 yards. Nick Kelly busted loose for 30 and was followed by Zelkowitz’s first score from 32 yards out.

The momentum continued in Staples’ favor when Jon Heil blocked a Darien punt and Alec Kaplan recovered at the Blue Wave 17. Four plays later Robbie Wolf plunged in from three yards out to give Staples the lead for good.

Three plays later, Nick Kelly nabbed an interception after leaping what looked like more than three feet in the air. And Zelkowitz scored three plays later.

By the close of the third quarter, the yard markers were impossible to see on the sidelines, but Zelkowitz was just getting warmed up. The junior running back made like a snowplow and blasted through defenders and the elements for two 65-yard touchdown runs in three minutes.

“It was a big game coming in. When the snow started falling, something clicked in us,” Kelly said. “We’re not there yet, but we’ll go into next week and try to attain our goal, which is an FCIAC championship.”

Now ranked second in the conference, Staples (6-0) has two games remaining to clinch a spot in the FCIAC title game. The Wreckers host Fairfield Warde next Saturday at 2 p.m.

Watch Main Street Connect's " FCIAC Football Fast Five " every Thursday for a complete breakdown of Fairfield County football!

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for MSC's Fairfield County sports coverage. Like The Daily Westport on Facebook .

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