Connecticut Post (Sunday)
Rising to the challenge
DaSilva’s sack on final play preserves Cadets’ victory
TRUMBULL — With eight seconds on the clock and the football in the hands of No.4 Greenwich at midfield, St. Joseph’s win streak was in jeopardy for a final play.
St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia called timeout twice to speak with his defense, stretching eight seconds into minutes of anticipation with his team trying to protect a 24-20 lead.
When the ball was finally snapped, junior linebacker Tyler DaSilva made the biggest play of his football career.
“We were really just in prevent with eight seconds left, we didn’t know what was going to happen,” DaSilva said. “I wanted to blitz and I saw him scrambling, made the sack and it felt great.”
The buzzer sounded as DaSilva brought Greenwich quarterback Jack Wilson to the ground, giving
No. 2 St. Joseph its 28th straight win while improving to 5-0 on the season.
“Every turnover is big, and we had called a few timeouts to make sure everybody knew what they were doing,” DellaVecchia said. “It was nice to finish it off like that.”
The Hogs have not lost a game since Sept. 23, 2017, when they fell to Darien in Week 3, 22-7. Saturday’s win over Greenwich was the only time St. Joseph’s streak had been threatened this year.
Until Saturday, St. Joseph had won every game this season by at least two touchdowns and had not trailed at any point.
That all changed against Greenwich, which stuck first on a 10yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Chason Barber for a 7-0 lead.
St. Joseph did not score in the first quarter, the first time that has happened all season. Entering the game, the Hogs had scored 45% of its total points in the opening quarter.
DaSilva evened the score with
9:55 left in the second quarter with a 1-yard rushing touchdown.
Four minutes later the Hogs tacked on three more on a 33-yard field goal by Logan Spoelstra to take a 10-7 lead into halftime.
“We started off a little slow in the first half but picked it up in the second,” St. Joseph quarterback Matthew Morrissey said. “The defense played great throughout.”
Morrissey opened the second-half scoring with a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter for a 17-7 St. Joseph lead.
Logan Galletta received the ensuimg kickoff and took it to the end zone for a 94-yard touchdown to cut Greenwich’s deficit to four.
Greenwich recovered a perfectly executed onside kick on the following play and took the lead as Wilson connected with Barber for a second time, this one for 29-yards and a 20-17 lead with 7:02 left in the third quarter.
On the following drive, Morrissey hit Brandon Hutchinson for an 18-yard scoring strike to reclaim the lead for St. Joseph, 24-20.
The Cardinals marched into the red zone with a little more than 1 minute remaining in the game, but St. Joseph’s Dhallas Morgan came away with an interception at the 10.
After a quick three-andout, St. Joseph punted to the 50 with eight seconds left on the clock.
“We knew we couldn’t let it up,” DaSilva said. “We fought all game and it all came down to that.”
DaSilva’s tackle sent the sidelines and the home crowd into hysteria, concluding the nearly fourhour contest.
“We knew it was going to be that type of game,” DellaVecchia said. “They are much bigger than us and we had a lot of guys out. But these guys played hard and it was a great high school football game.”
The schedule does not get easier for St. Joseph in coming weeks, but now the No. 2 team in the state can say it has been truly tested and prevailed.
“Ridgefield and Darien coming up next on the schedule,” DellaVecchia said. “We got them coming after us, so this was certainly a big one. We needed this. It is hard to beat Greenwich.”
“This was very big for momentum,” DaSilva said. “We came in knowing we were facing a great team, and now we have Ridgefield next.”
With the loss, Greenwich falls to 3-2, with its first loss coming against Shelton in Week 3.
“We are a great football team and so are they,” Greenwich coach Anthony Morello said. “Unfortunately, it came down to a couple plays and we didn’t make the plays we needed to at the end. There are a lot of things for us to keep our heads up about, and these young men, they battled for four quarters and they never quit.”