Prep football team thwarted by Cadets

Fairfield Prep’s Allen Gibson (36) pulls out of the grasp of St. Joseph High’s Cameron Ryan (11) on his way to a 9-yard touchdown run when the non-conference rivals met in Trumbull. (Photo by David G. Whitham)

Fairfield Prep’s Allen Gibson (36) pulls out of the grasp of St. Joseph High’s Cameron Ryan (11) on his way to a 9-yard touchdown run when the non-conference rivals met in Trumbull.
(Photo by David G. Whitham)

Nothing was going right for the Fairfield Prep football team, when coach Tom Shea’s Jesuits, ranked second in the state’s media poll, traveled to play No. 8 St. Joseph High before an overflow crowd at the Dalling Sports Complex in Trumbull on Sept. 20.
St. Joseph took leads of 12-0 and then 26-7, before Prep put together consecutive scoring drives to make it a 33-27 game on the first play of the fourth quarter.
That’s when St. Joseph drove 73 yards 11 plays and turned a fourth-and 11 play from the Prep 23-yard line into a touchdown with seven minutes remaining in this non-conference game.
That score forced the Jesuits to go for it on a fourth down play from their 35-yard line, the Cadets held, and added another touchdown.
Prep quarterback Colton Smith threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Beiser to complete the scoring.
Mufasha Abdul Basir ran for 272 yards and two touchdowns, and had a key 38-yard reception, to lead St. Joseph (2-0).
“He’s a terrific back,” Shea said of Abdul Basir. “I’ll give credit where credit is due, but we did a very poor job tackling. We had good hits in good places. But we didn’t wrap him up and that’s why he’s so good.
“Today, our biggest lapse was poor tackling. We didn’t do the job against him.”
Trailing 12-0, Prep made it 12-7 midway through the second quarter on Joe Ganim’s 1-yard run and the first of three conversion kicks from Hank Healey.
Beiser had catches good for 11 and 10 yards to keep the 72-yard drive going. Bobby Haskins tacked on grabs of 9 and 10 yards.
Smith’s tackle-breaking 12-yard run, with a facemask penalty tossed in, led to Ganim’s plunge into the end zone.
St. Joseph’s Pedersen threw a 22-yard pass to Seamus Keating and then Kevin Trefz found Keating by the pylon for a 10-yard score with 17 seconds remaining in the first half to make it 26-7.
Prep received the second half kickoff and crisply marched 65 yards in seven plays behind the blocking of Nate Vereen, Anthony Palazzolo, Aiden Ayer, A.J. Mansolillo and Connor Roche.
Haskins made a great over-the-shoulder catch for 22 yards on an adjusted route with the harried Smith throwing on target up the sideline.
Smith completed the drive with a dazzling 21-yard run on a fourth-and-2 play.
“We had to do everything we could do to contain him,” St. Joseph’s Lars Pedersen said of Smith. “It was a great group effort. They had us on our heels, but we are going to keep plugging away at it because that is who we are.”
Nick Frankchuk recovered a fumble four plays into the next St. Joseph series, and nine plays later Allen Gibson ran nine yards for a touchdown and it was 26-21.
Only two plays later, however, Abdul Basir ran 68 yards for a score off an inside counter to reestablish the two-touchdown lead.
Ganim scored on an 8-yard run on the first play of the fourth period. The two-point conversion pass fell incomplete, and St. Joseph led 33-27.
The Cadets moved the chains four times to garner a first down at the Jesuits’ 22-yard line, when the next three snaps resulted in a one-yard loss. On fourth down, Trefz rolled to his left and waited for Pedersen to complete his route. Pedersen put his body between the defender and the ball and latched onto the 23-yard touchdown pass in the end zone.
Fairfield Prep (1-1) will play host to SCC rival Notre Dame of West Haven (1-1) on Friday night in a 7 p.m. kickoff at Fairfield Ludlowe.

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