St. Joseph pulls away from Ledyard in second half 84-49
Trumbull - Jordan Kowalski barreled into the end zone with less than two minutes left in Tuesday's CIAC Class M quarterfinal, giving Ledyard High School its seventh touchdown of the game.
It wasn't enough points. Not even close.
St. Joseph's offense piled 806 yards of offense on the Colonels in one of the most outrageous games ever in Connecticut high school football. The Cadets downed Ledyard 84-49 at Trumbull High in the highest scoring game in state history.
"Offensively, I thought we did all the things we wanted to do early and often," Ledyard coach Jim Buonocore said, "but at some point in time, you're not going to keep going blow-for-blow."
The 133 points shattered the state record for the most combined points scored in a game, according to the Connecticut High School Record Book. The previous record was 130, all of which were scored by Norwich Free Academy in a 130-0 mauling of Bulkeley of New London in 1902.
The teams combined for five touchdowns in the game's first six minutes.
The Colonels led briefly, 35-34, with over five minutes left in the first half.
The Cadets scored twice to take a 47-35 lead at the half. They pulled away with four third-quarter touchdowns.
"We went toe-to-toe in the first half," Buonocore said. "We were really looking for that one stop that we couldn't get. I think as the game wore on, it's just like a boxing match. The bigger guy is eventually going to wear on you. We could only go blow-for-blow for so long.
"I would say we didn't get knocked out, but they certainly won the 15-round decision pretty unanimously. But, man, what a great effort. Our kids hung in there."
St. Joseph's 806 yards were second all-time in a game. Its 84 points were the 15th-most points scored by one team in a game.
The second-seeded Cadets (11-2), ranked fifth in The Day of New London Top 10 state coaches' poll, will play third-seeded Barlow in Saturday's semifinal at Bunnell (2 p.m.)
Seventh-seeded Ledyard finished 9-3.
"Just a really positive season," Buonocore said. "To get nine wins, I don't think many people thought we were going to be a nine-win team. To get here was quite an accomplishment (for a young team)."
Mufasha Abdul Basir ran 22 times for 332 yards and five touchdowns for St. Joseph.
Basir was enabled by an offensive line that, dressed in USC's garb, looked as physically imposing as the Trojans. Right guard Peter Mestre is 6-foot-6, 295 pounds. Right tackle Steve Hashemi is 6-6, 265.
Shane Miller ran five times for 180 yards and two touchdowns for the Cadets and caught two passes for 46 yards and two more TDs. Jordan Vazzano completed 8 of 12 passes for 177 yards and three scores.
"We didn't really have a lot of answers," Buonocore said. "We had to keep moving guys, and it's high risk in terms of things we had to do. When you miss a tackle, you miss an assignment in the secondary, it's a home run. And they had quite a few home runs tonight."
Sophomore Ty Ebdon completed 21 of 36 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns for Ledyard and ran for a score.
Kowalski, a senior, scored on runs of 3 and 20 yards and caught four passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
Junior River Thomas had eight receptions for 132 yards and two scores.
Senior Joe Carter also scored on a 90-yard kickoff return.
"That's a good football team," Buonocore said of St. Joseph. "Unfortunately, it's a 48-minute game. It wasn't a 24-minute game. A 24-minute game, we hung around; 48, they just wore on us in the second half."
Buonocore paused and smiled, "Seven-on-seven, I think we would've been 84-even with them. Unfortunately, it's 11-on-11, and we don't have the guys they do up front."
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