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Staples bounces back with win over Ludlowe

FAIRFIELD -- After an uncharacteristically poor performance by its defense last week, the Staples' football team restored some order Friday night at Taft Field.

Quarterback Trevor Shearer accounted for three touchdowns in the first half, Paul Tricarico kicked two field goals and Ryan Fitton dropped two punts inside the 5-yard line as the Wreckers rolled to a 34-7 win over Fairfield Ludlowe.

"We had to overcome penalties again and mistakes, but we did not put the ball on the ground and for us, that's huge," Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. "We needed a win -- bad."

Shearer passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another score, helping the Wreckers (3-2) rebounded from a 37-34 loss to Stamford in which Black Knights' quarterback Jelen Brown passed for more than 400 yards.

"(The offensive line) was blocking great," Shearer said. "I had no pressure on me at all today, zero sacks. The backs had big holes to run through."

Ludlowe (3-2) also was involved in a high-scoring game last week, outlasting Harding 47-40, so some observers were expecting another shootout Friday.

But Staples recorded six sacks and its defense set the tone on the opening possession as Colin Hoy blocked a punt by Ludlowe's Markus Schuermann, giving the Wreckers possession at the Falcons' 28.

Staples needed seven plays and just over three minutes to punch the ball into the end zone on Shearer's 8-yard keeper up the middle with 5:36 left in the opening quarter.

The Wreckers allowed just 10 yards on Ludlowe's three first-quarter possessions and forced a third punt when Jack Marsilio sacked Bryan Pacewicz for a nine-yard loss at Ludlowe's 33.

Staples struck quickly, putting together a three-play, 56-yard drive to increase its lead.

After Jack Griffin ripped off gains of 11 and 27 yards on the ground, a holding penalty left the Wreckers with a 2nd-and-20 at the Falcons' 28.

But on the next snap, Shearer found Jack Melnick open in the back of the end zone for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 11:31 left in the half.

Before last week, the Wreckers had strung together consecutive shutouts against Wilton and Westhill.

"They (the defense) gave up 37 last week, but they came back and gave up one touchdown, so back to where we were," Shearer said.

After Staple' second score, the Falcons finally got their offense untracked.

Pacewicz completed three passes on the ensuing 10-play, 80-yard drive, including a 10-yard TD strike to Chris Howell on 4th-and-4 with 5:03 left in the second quarter.

However, a 64-yard punt by Fitton changed the complexion of the game as it pinned the Falcons back at their 3-yard line.

"The kicking game was phenomenal," Petroccio said. "We pinned them deep in their own territory."

The Wreckers forced the Falcons' fourth punt and Ethan Burger returned it to Ludlowe's 30.

Engineering the hurry-up offense, Shearer got the Wreckers into the end zone again when he hit tight end Evan Gilland over the middle for an 8-yard score with 24 seconds remaining and a 21-7 halftime lead.

Fitton also had a 56-yard boot to start the third quarter and Staples forced a fifth punt after allowing one first down.

"We played in a hole all night," Ludlowe coach Vinnie Camera said. "We started three series inside the 5-yard line. You get 40 yards of offense and you're not even at midfield. You can't win football games that way."

During one Ludlowe possession in the second half, the Wreckers recorded sacks on all three plays in the series.

"We were still feeling the effects of last week," said Petroccio, who indicated the Wreckers did not have a good practice on Wednesday.

"So Thursday, we told the kids we need some some emotion and we need some passion here, so forget out last week, let's go, and they did."

In the second half, Tricarico booted field goals of 23 and 27 yards before Burger's 14-yard TD run capped the scoring with 1:18 remaining.

Staples is back on the road next Saturday at Danbury.

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