Week 1 vs Danbury
St. Joseph rolls over Danbury in opener
TRUMBULL — In a chaotic and unpredictable week one of high school football, there is comfort to be found in the consistency of St. Joseph.
Ranked No. 2 in the GameTimeCT pre-season poll, St. Joseph opened its season with a decisive 49-0 win over FCIAC opponent Danbury.
The three-time defending state champion ended its 2019 run with defensive lineman Mike Morrissey being the team’s headliner, as he went on to be named the New Haven Register player of the year.
Two years later with his two younger twin brothers debuting for the Hogs, it was junior quarterback Mark Morrissey who turned heads.
“I had a lot of pressure, but I was excited for this game,” Morrissey said. “First game in almost two years, nerves were really high at the beginning of the game but quickly went away.”
It did not take long for Morrissey to find his stride as he passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another in the first quarter alone.
“It felt great, and we didn’t know what to expect coming into this game,” Morrissey said. “After we got a few scores, our defense did great. We were locked in and having fun out there.”
Both of his first quarter touchdown completions found the hands of Maxwell Warren, the first of which went for 36-yards and the second for 39.
In total, Morrissey completed seven of eleven pass attempts for 103 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 46 yards and a touchdown on four attempts.
“It was a test, they had some plays back there but (Mark Morrissey) did a great job for us,” St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. “He was composed, despite being nervous before we started. He had a great day and we are happy for him.”
Warren finished the game with three receptions for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
The resounding victory is an encouraging sign for a St. Joseph team that had 21 players without varsity experience competing.
“We had 21 kids out there that were new and had never played varsity before,” DellaVecchia said. “We talked about nerves all week, making sure any mistake you make is physical and not mental. I think the kids responded really well and got off on the right foot today.”
Any nerves that existed quickly subsided, as the Hogs ended the first quarter with a 28-0 lead.
“It is tough because we didn’t really have much on them, so we relied on some old stuff,” DellaVecchia said. “Our kids were ready for the challenge and they take it to heart when we study film and in our preparation.”
Morrissey connected for a five-yard touchdown pass with Brendan Arroyo in the second quarter to extend St. Joseph’s lead to 35-0 before halftime.
“The line blocked perfect today and receivers ran their routes and caught the ball,” Morrissey said. “I couldn’t have done anything without them.”
Morrissey’s fourth touchdown pass was a 23-yard completion to Brandon Hutchinson with 7:20 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“This is what we wanted, we haven’t set our standards any lower this year,” Morrissey said. “We want to make the playoffs and we want to win states.”
For Danbury, the most difficult opponent on the schedule is behind it, but the work is just beginning.
“I have to look at the film, I genuinely at this moment don’t know what I can take away from this game,” Danbury coach Augustine Tieri said. “I am obviously disappointed with our effort and level of execution. You have to tip your cap to St. Joseph, there is a reason they are a three time state champion.”
Resiliency has been a trademark characteristic for Danbury in recent seasons, including in 2019 when it lost in week one 49-3 at the hands of Greenwich and proceeded to rattle of wins in its next four games.
If history is any indication, it would not be overly surprising to see Danbury get back on track in week two against Stamford next Saturday.
“We have to go back to the drawing board and evaluate the film,” Tieri said. “We will make some adjustments and adaptations and get back on track next week. One thing we have been able to do in our history is take some bad losses and bounce back quickly, showing resilience. I still feel confident that we will be able to do that.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Mark Morrissey, St. Joseph: The junior quarterback completed seven of eleven passing attempts for 103 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 46 yards on four attempts with a touchdown.
ST. JOSEPH 49, DANBURY 0
DANBURY 0 0 0 0 - 0
ST. JOSEPH 28 7 14 0 -49
S—Mark Morrissey 36 pass to Maxwell Warren (Kick good)
S— Mark Morrissey 39 pass to Maxwell Warren (Kick good)
S—Joey Sanson fumble recovery (Kick good)
S— Mark Morrissey 5 run (Kick good)
S— Mark Morrissey 5 pass to Brendan Arroyo (Kick good)
S— Mark Morrissey 23 pass to Brandon Hutchinson (Kick good)
S- Lito Valle fumble recovery (Kick good)