As the Staples offense struggled to find its footing against the stout defense of Fairfield Warde, the Wreckers’ special teams stepped up and provided the fireworks in a 24-14 win on Friday night.
“Special teams played great,” Staples coach Marce Petroccio said. “We put a premium on it here. It’s important to us, we work on it every day and tonight it won us the game.”
The Wreckers’ special teams blocked three punts and provided excellent field position on the Warde side of the field throughout the night to help an offense that gained just over 150 yards.
Staples was able to use the gift of good field position to its advantage with a pair of 1-yard rushing touchdowns from senior running back Brandon Adrian.
“My players did an amazing job with blocking,” Adrian said. “I’m very happy with how we played on offense.”
Although Staples was able to find the end zone, the Warde defense was able to keep the clamps on the Staples running game as senior backs Harris Levi and Adrian combined for only 43 yards on 19 carries.
Staples led Warde 10-6 midway through the third quarter as the Mustangs set up to punt.
The punt pinned the Wreckers inside their own 15-yard line, but a holding penalty forced a re-kick.
On the re-kick, the snap sailed over the Warde punter’s head and Staples took over inside the 5-yard line, setting up the second run from Adrian.
The following Mustangs punt on the next series was then blocked — one play later quarterback Daniel Thompson found Griffin Lundquist from 19 yards out to extend the lead to 24-6.
“It was unfortunate,” Warde coach Duncan DellaVolpe said. “That kind of set everything off from there. We don’t try to do that, just unfortunate that the punt game let us down today.”
A strong performance from the defense fell by the wayside with the several key mishaps from the special teams unit, he said.
Staples’ defense was able to make things difficult for Warde quarterback Matt Cerminao, who finished 20 of 31 for 283 yards for one touchdown and a rushing score. He was sacked six times.
But for Petroccio and company, the special teams play helped to bail out the offense that did not have its best day.
“Tonight for us it was just ugly,” he said. “The offensive line struggled and they’ve got a good defensive line. They beat us to the punch a little bit. But we’re going to get things straightened out before we play next week, that’s for sure.”
Several Staples players and cheerleaders took part in senior night festivities before the game, escorting parents and loved ones to midfield.
FIX IT QUICK
Staples goes on the road next week to face FCIAC powerhouse St. Joseph.
“I think we’re on just a great high and ready to go. If we can win out, the league has to look out for us.” — Staples senior running back Brandon Adrian on knocking off Warde on Senior Night.
STAPLES 24, WARDE 14
S — Ben van der Mwere 27 yard field goal
W — Matt Cerminaro 3 run (kick blocked)
S — Brandon Adrian 1 run (van der Mwere kick)
S — Adrian 1 run (van der Mwere kick)
S — Danny Thompson 19 Griffin Lundquist (van der Mwere kick)
W — Cerminaro 49 Qasim Danazumi pass (Cerminaro run)
Staples 5-2, Fairfield Warde 3-4