Warde 2-0 after win over Trumbull

Fairfield Warde football coach Duncan Dellavolpe has been running the spread offense for what seems like a lifetime, going back to his days as an assistant at New Canaan. He is well-versed in its nuances. He knows it like a favorite song.
He just hasn’t seen it work the way he envisioned it. The Mustangs’ mentor never had the type of personnel to make it click.
Until now.
With towering senior quarterback Brandon Bisack running the show, the Mustangs have quietly developed into one of the most dangerous spread offenses in the FCIAC.
Trumbull can certainly attest to that as Bisack shredded the Eagles for 296 yards and three touchdowns to lead the undefeated Mustangs to a 23-7 road victory on Sept. 19, at McDougall Field.
Trumbull jumped out to a 7-0 lead after starting quarterback Stephen Nagy scored on a 1-yard run on the opening drive of the game.
But Warde’s defense turned the game around with two first-quarter fumble recoveries then blanked the Eagles the rest of the night.
Bisack did the rest, completing 27-of-41 passes, while throwing touchdown strikes of 13 yards to junior Jack Polenza, 28 yards to Nick Nardone and a 19-yard clincher early in the fourth quarter to fellow senior captain Ryan Brown, who finished off a huge night with 10 catches for 127 yards.
With a host of talented receivers and a dual-threat running back in senior T.J. Gallagher, who rushed for 26 yards on nine carries while catching three passes for 28 yards, Dellavolpe feels like he’s finally in his element with the spread.
“I feel like now I can coach the kids with more schemes than we used to do because they get it more,” Dellavolpe said.
“We’re not running the ball fourth-and-one. It’s no secret. We’re still going to throw the ball. With our defense playing the way it’s playing, we have the capability of doing that.”
Warde is now 2-0 having posted a 24-21 victory over Foran in the season-opener. It’s the first 2-0 start for the program since 2009, the last time it finished with a .500 record or better.
It was also the first victory against Trumbull since 1971 when current Trumbull head coach Bob Maffei was a junior at Andrew Warde and the late, great Jerry McDougall had the Eagles at the top of the FCIAC every season.
“Knowing the history of the FCIAC, this is very special to beat Trumbull at their place,” Dellavolpe said. “With Coach McDougall and Coach Maffei, they have a great tradition here.
“It’s a special place to win, for me. And for our school, Coach Maffei did tell me they did beat Trumbull two years he was there, so it’s been 40 years. So it’s a great night for our program.”
Bisack has a chance to make the entire season special. His chemistry with Brown is undeniable, and it should be. They live across the street from each other and have been forming a partnership since the time they first learned to walk.
Whenever Bisack and the Mustangs found themselves in a tough situation, Brown was there to make a big catch. That included a dazzling tip-toe grab on the sideline for a big first down in the first half and a sharp corner route that produced a wide-open touchdown to put the Mustangs up 23-7 with 11:17 left in the fourth.
“All they want to do is throw to each other. Most of the time it works out,” Dellavolpe said. “To get Brandon to spread the ball around sometimes is difficult. But you can’t complain because Ryan goes and makes the catches. So it’s great what they have.”
Bisack did spread the ball around well, hitting Polenza six times for 72 yards, senior Aubrey Raha three times for 23 yards, Nardone three times for 46 yards and senior Andrew Girard two times for 24 yards.
With more results like this, the FCIAC is going to have to take notice.
“We were called FCIAC sleepers, but we know we can compete with the best of the best,” Bisack said. “They can keep it that way. We like the underdog role. We came out with the mentality that we were going to fire out from the first play.”
Warde reached the goal line on its first drive, but came away with nothing as Trumbull defensive back Lance Bragg broke up a fourth-down pass intended for Brown.
But Warde got the ball right back on the first of two fumble recoveries by junior Connor Gallagher and Bisack hit Polenza for a 13-yard touchdown two plays later to tie it 7-7 with 2:07 left in the first quarter.
Warde’s defense held Trumbull in check the rest of the night, getting sacks from Hassan Miller and David Abrahams and an interception by Brian Russell in the final minute.
“It was an enormous effort by the defense,” Dellavolpe said. “Being down 7-0 then getting those two turnovers was huge. That might have won the game for us.”
The game stayed tied going into the second quarter when Warde drove to the goal line and stalled once again.
This time, Dellavolpe opted for a field goal attempt and Chris Jones nailed it from 22 yards out for a 10-7 lead.
Bisack threw an interception on the first possession of the second half, but the defense forced a three-and-out.
Warde scored on its next drive. Bisack hit Nardone crossing over the middle out of the backfield and the speedy senior cut it up the field for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 17-7 with 6:49 left in the third.
Warde wrapped it up on Brown’s touchdown reception in the fourth.

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