Faced with another rally, Wilson and No. 5 Greenwich put breaks on No. 6 St. Joseph
GREENWICH — That a 16-point lead was whittled down to just three with plenty of time remaining might have been unnerving for any team. Having gone through it already — and lost — the team formerly known as No. 1 Greenwich was determined not to let it happen again.
Or, as senior quarterback Jack Wilson put it: "Losing was not an option, I'll just say that."
Wilson completed 17-of-23 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for three more scores — none more important than his last — as the Greenwich offense exorcised some ghosts by beating back St. Joseph 36-26 in a rare Friday night game for both teams at Cardinal Stadium. The win was the Cardinals' first over the Hogs in three meetings since 2009 — including last year's 24-21 setback.
Greenwich was the preseason No. 1 team before relinquishing their ranking, not to mention a 21-point, first quarter lead, in a 29-28 home loss to Southington on Sept. 24. The Cardinals were outscored 29-7 in the final three quarters.
"In that Southington game we as an offense fizzled out," Wilson said. "We knew in the past our offense had a hard time closing games. So to be able to come out here and be able to leave no doubt in the last couple of minutes was big for us."
Greenwich was up 29-13 heading into the fourth. But the Hogs, who have defied expectations all season, came alive and scored twice in the fourth quarter to pull within 29-26 with 4 minutes, 59 seconds left. That put intense pressure squarely on the Greenwich offense's shoulder to at least devour some clock before handing it back to the defense.
The Cards got more than that when Jack Konigsberg followed a block by George Vomvolakis, bulled through a tackle and galloped 50 yards into scoring position.
"Every time they needed a big play they'd get it and that was a big one there," St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia said. "We had all the momentum and they'd break it."
Facing fourth and 4 from the 8 with just under two minutes left, Greenwich coach Anthony Morello again went to Konigsberg, who just got enough for the first down. On the next play, Wilson scored on the 4-yard run to make it a much more comfortable 10-point lead.
"Our defense was on the ropes," Morello said. "I didn't want to give the ball back to St. Joe's with 2 minutes left. I just didn't feel comfortable with that.
"It was a three-point game, very, very reminiscent (of Southington). So it was really, really nice to see our guys finish off that drive. Really nice."
Della Vecchia lamented missed chances in the first half, when several long drives resulted in just a pair of field goals, and a number of other mistakes by his team or elsewhere — like a missed touchback call on a long kickoff return that ultimately led to a Greenwich score in the third quarter.
"We didn't make enough plays on both sides of the ball," he said. "We should have scored 35 points but we didn't finish drives in the first half, I think that's what killed us in the end."
Konigsberg finished with 108 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Greenwich receiver Charlie Dixon had seven catches for 115 yards. Will Singewald was 18-for-37 passing for 249 yards and three touchdowns for St. Joseph.