No. 7 St. Joseph holds off fourth-quarter rally, defeats Masuk
TRUMBULL — Three weekends ago, the St. Joseph football team began the season in an unfamiliar spot: Outside the state’s Top 10 with many predicting a downturn in fortunes.
Now, the Hogs stand with a 3-0 record, and their latest victory came by inches.
St. Joseph survived a fourth-quarter comeback bid by Masuk when a field goal attempt fell short by inches in the closing seconds, ending a dramatic 24-21 win by the Hogs Saturday in Trumbull.
Senior wide receiver Brandon Hutchinson summed the postgame feeling with one word: “Relieved.”
“We were up 24-7 at one point and people started breathing a little bit,” Hutchinson said. “But you know Masuk, they always come back at the end, they’re a great team, they always fight. I just feel relieved.”
“A lot happened to us coming into the season and right up until the last scrimmage,” St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia said. “We stayed together with what we have and its a credit to them. They’re playing with all heart. It hasn’t been easy, but these kids have been gutting it out."
The Panthers (1-2) were seemingly fading in the second half.
St. Joe’s led 10-7 at halftime, but scored twice in the third quarter to boost the advantage to 17 points.
Riley Jordan scored first on a 5-yard run and Singewald then hit Sean Curley for 20 yards on the second TD.
Masuk dug deep, however, getting a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns from Gavin Walker, the second of which came as Masuk and QB Dylan Jackson covered 93 yards on just three plays.
“That’s who we are. I’m so proud of them,” Masuk coach Steve Christy said. “This is a team that I love and we love each other. Two top 10 teams that we played the last three weeks and we were toe-to-toe with both of them. One we gave away (against Trumbull) and this one we couldn’t quite get, but the resiliency is amazing.”
After a defensive stop, the Panthers drove to the St. Joe’s 24-yard line, with freshman Jackson Zylick attempting a 41-yard field goal with 3.7 seconds left. The kick was on target, but glanced off the cross bar incomplete.
“He’s got the leg,” Christy said of Zylick. “Do I wish we got it a little bit tighter? Yeah. (But) Zylick will hit 41. We trust this kid’s leg. That kid (will be) an All-State player.”
Hutchinson and Jordan set the tone for the Hogs’ offense, with Hutchinson catching four passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. He had two of the game’s biggest plays, one on a 35-yard touchdown catch and the other covering 64 yards to set up Jordan’s TD.
Jordan amassed 168 yards from scrimmage and also scored once.
“He’s a beast,” Hutchinson said of Jordan. “He showed what he could do and he broke out.”
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Riley Jordan, St. Joseph: While Brandon Hutchinson had several big catches, Jordan was the engine of the offense, rushing for 158 yards and a touchdown.
“These are the games you live for. It’s exciting and fun for the kids. It was two teams that just played their hearts out. It was a fun day and the kids went at it every play.” - St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia
Masuk 0 7 0 14 - 21
St. Joseph 7 3 14 0 - 24
· SJ - Brandon Hutchinson 35 pass Will Singewald (Logan Spoelstra kick), 4:47
· M - Jason Champagne 1 run (Jackson Zylick kick), 6:08
· SJ - Spoelstra 25-yard field goal, 2:28
· SJ - Riley Jordan 5 run (Spoelstra kick), 10:10
· SJ - Sean Curley 20 pass Singewald (Spoelstra kick), 2:18
· M - Gavin Walker 13 run (Zylick kick), 8:03
· M - Walker 5 run (Zylick kick), 3:55
Records: Masuk 1-2, St. Joseph 3-0