No. 2 St. Joseph delivers tour de force against No. 9 New Canaan
NEW CANAAN — On St. Joseph’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Jack Wallace fired a deep pass downfield to receiver Will Diamantis, who turned the play into a 58-yard touchdown.
It turned out to be just the first of many explosive moments for the No. 2 Cadets, who made New Canaan’s Dunning Field their personal playground during a 58-14 rout of the No. 9 Rams on Friday night.
Even St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia admitted, teams don’t usually have their way with New Canaan.
“I thought we could score and move the ball,” DellaVecchia said. “If we ran our routes, if Jack had a good game, I thought we could definitely makes some big plays. You don’t do that to New Canaan, but our kids were ready to go.”
he victory was the Cadets’ third straight over New Canaan and pushed their overall winning streak to 14 dating back to a Week 3 loss to Darien last year. St. Joseph is now 4-0 heading into the bye week, while New Canaan dropped to .500 at 2-2.
“They’re a helluva football team,” New Canaan coach Lou Marinelli said. “It happens and we have to go back to work and make sure it doesn’t happen again. But they’re a great team, they’re well-coached and they caught us flat-footed. We got beaten every way you could possibly get beat, so that’s a credit to those guys.”
Wallace, the defensive back turned quarterback, delivered a tour de force in the first half, completing 10-of-13 passes for 236 yards and five touchdown passes. He also rushed three times for 22 yards, including an 11-yard score.
Diamantis made four catches for 135 yards, scoring on receptions of 58, 20, and 48 yards, while Owen DaSilva had four catches for 74 yards and one TD. Running back Jaden Shirden rushed 15 times for 117 yards and scored the Cadets’ final points on a 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
New Canaan’s offensive, meanwhile, was unable to get much started, as quarterback Drew Pyne was 14-for-27 for 125 yards with two interceptions — one on a pick six for the Cadets’ Alex Pagliarini. Back-up QB Reid Brown came in during the second half and was 4-of-6 for 105 yards, including a 75-yard TD strike to Zach LaPolice.
New Canaan was shut out until late in the first half, and rushed for just 25 yards against a great defensive effort by St. Joseph.
“They move around, they’re big, and they’re fast,” Marinelli said. “We’re relatively young up front so we had difficulty trying to pick up what they were doing.”
The Cadets set the tone with Wallace’s first pass to Diamantis, as they found a match-up they could exploit.
“There was some match-ups we wanted to get ourselves into and we got them early, so we took shots at it and it worked out in our favor,” DellaVecchia said.
“First play, we just took a big shot,” Wallace said. “It fired us up right out of the gate. We had a game plan and, as every game, we expected to win.”
Wallace and Diamantis hooked up again for the second TD on a 20-yard pass, as the Cadets went up 14-0 just 3:15 into the game. Wallace then connected with Austin Jose for a 14-yard TD, and Diamantis again for a 48-yard TD to close out the first quarter up 28-0.
The Cadets had 244 yards of offense in that first frame.
“We always want to score first,” DellaVecchia said. “We always want to let the other team chase us for points. If you score first, it puts a lot of pressure on the other team, and we were fortunate that we’ve been able to do that lately. When you go up two scores it makes it even harder, and then when we got that third one, it takes a lot of their game plan away.”
In the second quarter, the Cadets added 23 points for a 51-7 halftime lead. The defense got into the act, blocking a punt out of the end zone for a safety and then getting a score from Pagliarini, who took an interception 27 yards to the house.
For the Cadets, it was the most impressive win during a strong start this season.
“We just came out with a lot of energy,” Diamantis said. “We had a great week of practice and we were confident coming into this game.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jack Wallace, St. Joseph. The quarterback fired off five touchdown passes, including two on deep balls to Will Diamantis, to lead the Cadets’ offense. He also ran for an 11-yard TD in the second quarter.
“Our kids are ready to play every week. They can’t wait to play. They’re a hungry group. A lot of them are three-year starters but they want to make their own mark. They enjoy playing football, they enjoy being with each other and they have so much fun playing.” — St. Joseph coach Joe DellaVecchia
ST. JOSEPH 58
NEW CANAAN 14
ST. JOSEPH 28 23 7 0 — 58
NEW CANAAN 0 7 0 7 — 14
SJ — Will Diamantis, 58-yard pass from Jack Wallace (Austin Jose kick), 11:43
SJ — Diamantis, 20-yard pass from Wallace (Jose kick), 8:45
SJ — Jose, 14-yard pass from Wallace (Jose kick), 2:40
SJ — Diamantis, 48-yard pass from Wallace (Jose kick), 0:25
SJ — Wallace, 11-yard run (Jose kick), 10:19
SJ — Safety, blocked punt out of end zone, 6:40
SJ — Owen DaSilva, 33-yard pass from Wallace (Jose kick), 5:00
SJ — Alex Pagliarini, 27-yard interception return (Jose kick), 4:19
NC — Drew Pyne, 1-yard run (Nicholas Radman kick), 4:19
SJ — Jaden Shirden, 17-yard run (Jose kick), 2:06
NC — Zach LaPolice, 75-yard pass from Reid Brown (Radman kick), 10:08
Records: St. Joseph (4-0); New Canaan (2-2)