WESTPORT, Conn. – Staples High found out the hard way why Xavier High School is the top-ranked football team in Connecticut in Saturday evening’s Class LL state championship. Xavier of Middletown rolled over the Wreckers to the tune of 505 yards of total offense as it won its second straight state title over the Wreckers, 42-7.
Everything Staples did well all season flew off the tracks early in Saturday's game, and Xavier took advantage. Falcons running back Mike Mastroiani tore through the Staples defense for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“The roof just caved in. We fought hard, but we just could not move the football,” Staples head coach Marce Petroccio said. “We haven’t been stopped like that all year. Xavier’s a really great football team, and they deserve to be No. 1.”
The action in the first quarter was a sign of things to come, as Xavier jumped out to a 14-0 lead. Staples did not get into Xavier territory until the second quarter.
Sophomore quarterback Jack Massie put Staples on the board early in the second for what turned out to be the Wreckers’ only score. He hit Nick Kelly from 28 yards out to cut Xavier’s lead in half. Massie finished 11-for-26 in passing for 144 yards.
Xavier needed less than a minute to dash Staples’ hopes of a comeback. Ryan Murphy returned the Staples kickoff 48 yards into Wrecker territory. Two plays later, Xavier quarterback Pat D’Amato found a wide-open Mastroiani down the middle of the field.
Staples made a huge goal line stand to end the first half, keeping the game within striking distance. Every time Staples gained momentum, however, it was sapped almost immediately.
The Wreckers thought they had made a stop on Xavier’s opening possession of the second half but were called for a facemask penalty. DeAngelo Berry scampered 48 yards on the next play and the blowout was on.
“It just was not our night. We would get close and they would just come back,” Petroccio said. “Xavier is big, physical and don’t quit on any play. Just for a myriad of reasons we could not move the football.”
Staples running game never got going, running into Xavier’s huge defensive line over and over. The Wreckers’ three-back tandem of Joey Zelkowitz, Jon Heil and Nick Kelly combined for a paltry 16 yards.
Although their star runners were taken out of the equation, Staples still had chances to score. But the Wreckers came up empty in two trips to the Xavier red zone.
“I think we gave the town of Westport a heck of ride this year,” Petroccio said. “I give a lot of credit to my seniors, and hopefully we’ll be back next year.”
Game Notes: Xavier surprisingly did not dominate time of possession, leading in that category by less than three minutes. The Falcons had 62 offensive plays, while Staples got off 54. ... Xavier was tagged for 90 yards on nine penalties, but Staples could not take advantage. ... Xavier was nine-for-13 on third-down conversions, adding to Staples' frustrations. ... Saturday's attendance at Rentschler Field in East Hartford was 9,052.