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Staples Stomps Newtown, Punches Ticket to Finals

WESTPORT, Conn. – Every week a new hero seems to emerge for the Staples High School football team. This time it was someone who, somehow, has flown under the radar in Staples’ recent big wins: sophomore quarterback Jack Massie.

Staples faced a 14-0 deficit against sixth-seeded Newtown in the first quarter of Saturday’s Class LL state semifinal , but Massie showed the poise of a seasoned veteran. The Wreckers outscored Newtown 44-6 in the final 42 minutes and Massie was part of almost every scoring play. He finished 13 for 19 and 222 yards, with three passing touchdowns and a pair of rushing touchdowns en route to a 44-20 victory, punching a ticket to the Class LL state championship against Xavier.

“It’s a great feeling and a great day. Before I look at any film of Xavier, I’m really going to enjoy this one,” said head coach Marce Petroccio. “Jack has had so much experience already that he’s not your typical sophomore quarterback. He’s a seasoned kid and what’s scary is he’s got two more years here.”

Staples struggled at first to contain Newtown running back Louis Fennarolli. The 210-pound back rushed for a pair of touchdowns on the Nighthawks’ first two possessions.

Staples tested its running game early, hoping to duplicate Tuesday’s nearly 400-yard showing against Ridgefield. When the Wreckers were stopped cold, they quickly changed gears and took to the air.

Massie launched a beautiful 53-yard touchdown pass to James Frusciante to put Staples on the board. After a Robby Wolf field goal cut the Newtown lead to 14-10, the Wreckers stopped Newtown on a fourth down attempt deep in Staples territory.

Massie put Staples up for good with a 21-yard strike to Frusciante on the team’s next possession. He capped off the furious first-half comeback with a 10-yard pass to Nick Kelly. Staples went into the break with a 24-14 lead.

With Newtown focusing on defending the passing game, Staples went back to its bread-and-butter running game. Joey Zelkowitz saw his first serious playing time since injuring his shoulder in Week 8. The junior back racked up 119 second-half yards and a touchdown.

Staples’ defense sacked Newtown quarterback Andrew Tarantino five times. The Wreckers also forced four turnovers, including a pair of interceptions by senior co-captain Peter Bonenfant.

“Falling behind happened fast, but it’s happened before and we just never quit,” Frusciante said. “We have a lot of weapons and our coaches know how to use us.”

Staples will take on the top-ranked team in the state, Xavier, at Rentschler Field in Hartford for the Class LL championship. That game will take place either next Friday or Saturday at a time to be determined.

Follow Eric Gendron on Twitter for the latest Main Street Connect coverage of Fairfield County sports. Like The Daily Westport on Facebook .

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