Staples' football team has been to the playoffs before. Just last year, the Wreckers reached the Class LL championship game before falling in overtime to Cheshire.
Their first-round opponent in Tuesday's Class LL playoffs, Glastonbury, has a nearly similar experience. The fourth-seeded Tomahawks host No. 5 Staples, and they have been to this rodeo before. The seniors on this year's Glastonbury squad won the Class LL title in 2008 as sophomores and lost to Cheshire in the Class LL semifinals in 2009 as juniors.
With big-game experience a draw, Tuesday's contest will come down to football basics. With freshman quarterback Jack Massie directing the offense, Staples will need a strong running game and defense to advance to the semifinals.
Tyler Jacobs (945 rushing yards, 15 touchdowns) will be the key to Staples' offense. The senior has rushed for more than 100 yards four times this season, and is the key weapon in Staples' attack. Jason Mawicke and Chris Coyne are the top targets for Massie, who threw a TD pass to Coyne in last Thursday's win over Greenwich in the regular-season finale.
Staples could learn a lesson from Glastonbury's only loss. On Sept. 24, Southington defeated the Tomahawks, 33-14, and rushed for 201 yards. Southington rushed for more than 200 yards and added more than 100 passing. The Indians also forced four interceptions in rallying from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit.
Running back Malcolm Crossen (731 yards) and quarterback Cory Santor will challenge the Wreckers' defense. In a 41-0 win over New Britain, Santor completed 12 passes for 159 yards and ran for 49 more.
Rob Gau (101 tackles) leads a Staples' defense that yielded the fewest points in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. Pat Murray has 11 sacks and is among the state leaders in that category. Greg Lewis, Matt Yeager and Jacobs (seven interceptions) are also among Staples' defensive leaders.
The winner of Tuesday's game advances to Saturday's semifinal against the winner of top-seeded Xavier and No. 8 West Haven. That game is also Tuesday in Middletown.
Do you think Staples can top Glastonbury and move on to the Class LL semifinals? Does the team have what it takes to win the championship?
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