When Chet Pajolek, starting quarterback at Staples High School, was declared out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Wreckers' march to the FCIAC championship was put in doubt. Trumbull's defense flummoxed freshman quarterback Jack Massie on Saturday, succeeding where every other team had failed this season.
Trumbull's defense held Massie to 14 yards passing until Staples' final possession of the game. Trailing 15-7 with less than two minutes remaining, Staples put together its longest drive since the first quarter, marching 77 yards down the field. In the back corner of the end zone, Massie found Jason Mawicke, who kept his toe inbounds as time expired. Needing a two-point conversion to tie, Trumbull's Bryan DeWalt sacked Massie with no time left, snatching the spot in the FCIAC title game from Staples.
Staples scored on its first drive, culminating in a 5-yard Tyler Jacobs touchdown run. That was the last time the Wreckers got anywhere close to the goal line until that final play. Neither team managed much of anything for the rest of the first half, but Trumbull accomplished what no other team has done this season: It solved the Staples defense in the second half.
Trumbull running back Don Cherry scored early in the third quarter after a muffed Staples punt put the Eagles in excellent field position. Trumbull scored again after Staples fumbled on its own 21-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter. The dagger was a 32-yard field goal by Anthony Matera, putting Trumbull up by eight.
The crushing loss, Staples' first of the season, denies them a shot at the FCIAC championship against undefeated Darien. The Wreckers face a must-win game against Greenwich on Thanksgiving Day as they cling to the eighth and final spot in the Class LL state tournament .
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