By MICHAEL LETENDRE
BRISTOL – Over the first quarter of its Naugatuck Valley League contest against Naugatuck, the St. Paul football team was keeping up with the Greyhounds, neck and neck.
But in the end, Naugatuck’s veteran defensive line made all the stops in the second and third frames as the Greyhounds zipped out a 59-31 win from St. PaulCatholicHigh School in Bristol.
Naugatuck moved to 6-1 in the winning effort while the home team fell to 4-3 on the campaign.
It took the Falcons only 17 seconds to put points on the board as Reid Morin took the opening kickoff for an 81 yards touchdown to go ahead in the frame 6-0.
“I felt like we could play with them,” said St. Paul coach Jude Kelly off the promising first quarter start. “And that was one of our objectives. We know that Naugatuck is a good team and I certainly feel that we’re improved from where we’ve been. I wanted to see improvement. I want to take one play at a time and see how many plays we would play with them.”
“And we did but they just had too many skilled (players) and made too many plays.”
Quarterback Logan Marchi led the charge for St. Paul off a 26-of-51 passing performance for 390 yards and three touchdowns on a tough day of work.
On the receiving front, Reid Morin (8 catches, 92 yards), Austin Morin (6-133), Daija Fitzpatrick (6-96), and Brendan Carroll (3-64) all made big gains for the Falcons.
The squads followed up St. Paul’s touchdown off the kickoff return by alternating scores over the first 12 minutes of play.
Naugy’s Nate Franklin took in a six-yard pass from QB Jason Bradley (18-of-34, 323 yards, six touchdowns) while Austin Morin scored off a 20-yard pass by Marchi.
Later in the frame, Greyhounds’ receiver Bryan Coney took in a 48-yard pass from Bradley while St. Paul’s Brendan Carroll was the receiver of a 26 yard TD pass by Marchi.
Finally, Bradley found Franklin for a 59-yard touchdown completion as Naugatuck racked up a 22-18 push after one period of play.
But over the next two frames, the Greyhounds went on a 31-0 run. Off three touchdown passes by Bradley and a touchdown rush by Kevin Robinson (four yards), it propelled the visitors to a 53-18 push.
“When our offense was clicking, we had trouble stopping them on defense,” said Kelly. “When the defense got it together a little bit better, then the offense wasn’t able to execute. Good teams obviously have both things going for it and I think that was a classic example of us just kind of see-sawing back and forth.”
St. Paul rusher Eli Parks went down with an injury midway through the game. Without his rushing attack, the Falcons became very one-dimensional. Marchi was forced to throw early and often in several pressure filled situations.
“The running game is tough enough,” said Kelly. “We have a young offensive line and (Naugatuck) is a big defense. With Eli going down, again, we don’t have numbers of depth. But the guys who stepped up did what they were able to do.”
The Greyhounds increased its edge to 59-18 before the Falcons put two scores on the board to end the contest on a high note.
Midway through the fourth, Fitzpatrick took in a 13-yard pass for a touchdown. Nearly five minutes later, Aaron Kowalski made a five-yard jaunt into the end zone. With 2:39 left in the game, the Falcons trailed 59-31 and that was as close as the home team would get.
Though St. Paul was soundly defeated, the Falcons made a strong finish and certainly had chances in the game to score points, which is all a step in the right direction.
“I think there were good efforts by a lot of people,” said Kelly. “I hope the kids learned that they can play with good teams. We just have to be able to do it for a longer stretch of time.”
NAUGATUCK 59, ST. PAUL 31
from St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol
Naugatuck (6-1) 22 16 15 6 – 59
St. Paul (4-3) 18 0 0 13 – 31
SP – Reid Morin 81 kick return (pass failed), 11:43
N – Nate Franklin 7 pass from Jason Bradley (Franklin run), 9:09
SP – Austin Morin 21 pass from Logan Marchi (pass failed), 5:42
N – Bryan Coney 48 pass from Bradley (run failed), 5:01
SP – Brendan Carroll 27 pass from Marchi (pass failed), 1:13
N – Franklin 58 pass from Bradley (Kevin Robinson run), :58
N – Coney 8 pass from Bradley (Bradley run), 5:09
N – Ryne Griesenhauer 14 pass from Bradley (Tom Douty run), 1:42
N – Robinson 4 run (Rick Plasky pass from Bradley), 4:05
N – Douty 4 pass from Bradley (James Brewer kick), 3:07
N – Douty 10 run (kick failed), 11:51
SP – Daija Fitzpatrick 13 pass from Marchi (pass failed), 7:30
SP – Aaron Kowalski 5 run (Connor Crean kick), 2:39
RUSHING: St. Paul – Eli Parks 2-10, Logan Marchi 15-(minus-14), Aaron Kowalski 1-5.
PASSING:Naugatuck – Jason Bradley 18-for-34, 323 yards; St. Paul – Logan Marchi 26-for-51, 390 yards.
RECEIVING:St. Paul – Reid Morin 8-92, Austin Morin 6-133, Daija Fitzpatrick 6-96, Brendan Carroll 3-64, Parks 2-2, Aaron Kowalski 1-5.