With its shot at a league championship denied, Staples' football team will look to reach the Class LL playoffs when it meets Greenwich on Thursday in the annual Thanksgiving Day game. Kickoff is at 10 a.m. at Cardinal Stadium.
Greenwich (5-4) is eliminated from the state playoffs. The Cardinals would like nothing more than to oust the Wreckers (8-1), who are seeded seventh in the Class LL rankings. Staples (8-1) lost to Trumbull, 15-13, in its last game. The defeat cost the Wreckers a chance to play for the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference title.
A victory over Greenwich would ease the sting of that disappointment and put Staples in the Class LL playoffs.
Staples' main weapon is running back Tyler Jacobs, who has rushed for 915 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has seen some time at quarterback since Chet Pajolek was lost for the season with a knee injury during a 35-10 win over Fairfield Ludlowe on Oct. 30. Freshman Jack Massie has taken the majority of snaps since Pajolek went out.
Senior linebacker Rob Gau leads a strong defensive unit for the Wreckers, whose 101 points allowed is second in the league behind conference champion Darien. Gau has 101 tackles to lead the team. Patrick Murray has 11 sacks and 88 tackles. Jacobs (seven interceptions) and Greg Strauss (six) have also been defensive standouts.
Greenwich leads the series, 16-6. Staples won last year's contest, 30-28, en route to a berth in the Class LL championship game. Staples lost that contest to Cheshire, 28-21, in overtime. The Wreckers will need to beat Greenwich on Thursday to have a shot at returning to the state tournament.
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