By Dave Ruden
STAMFORD — Jack Massie’s career can be condensed into consecutive plays that occurred late in the third quarter Friday night at Boyle Stadium.
On the first, the Staples quarterback rolled to his right, finding no open receivers and a number of Stamford defenders in pursuit. Massie reversed course, scrambled to the left sideline and was hit out of bounds.
It was a third-and-10 play. Massie gained 10 1/2 yards.
Moments later, Massie found Will Johnson open over the middle and hit him in stride for a 35-yard touchdown in what would end up a 41-14 Wreckers victory.
“I do what I have to do to win the game,” said Massie, neatly summing up his 3 1/2 years as a starter for Staples. “Every year we have good linemen, good running backs and good receivers. When I run, when I throw, I know I have good people who can catch the ball or block for me.”
Massie just adapts to the situation, using his strengths to fit a need. Against Stamford, the game plan called for running the ball. Led by Patrick Lesch’s 260-yard, 3-touchdown performance, the Wreckers (3-1) overcame four turnovers and an injury-riddled but pesky Stamford team.
Massie finished with 41 yards rushing. His passing numbers: 9 of 17, 172 yards, 2 touchdowns, were pedestrian by Massie’s high standards.
There have been many Friday nights and Saturday afternoons when the Wreckers have needed to ride Massie’s arm. He has always delivered.
“The kids is a student of the game,” Petroccio said. “Nothing bothers him. He’s unflappable.”
That was apparent Massie’s freshman year. Chet Pajolek, the Wreckers’ starter, sustained a torn ACL in the seventh game, against Fairfield Ludlowe. The team was 6-0 at the time.
“I remember that game the most,” Massie recalled. “Chet went down. We were all devastated and I had to step in there. It was a rough game for me.”
Of course, the Wreckers came away with a 35-10 win.
All because of a calculated gamble that Petroccio made with Massie.
“We were out of quarterbacks,” Petroccio said. “All we had was this freshman. We said instead of having him play freshmen ball, let’s bring him up and teach him, and the next thing you know he’s in a 7-7 game on homecoming.”
There were no postseason titles that year, but the Wreckers won FCIAC championships the past two seasons and reached the state final in 2011.
If you go to the Staples record book, under the category “most career touchdown passes,” you will now find Massie’s name. He broke the record last week against Westhill and now has thrown 56.
More than Drew Schuett, Skip Lane, Lance Lonergan, current Staples assistant Mac DeVito, and all the other great quarterbacks in Staples history.
“Whatever I have to do, I’m ready to do it,” Massie said of his relatively quiet night in Stamford. “All that matters is we win. This week we went with the run. I’m happy with that.”
The Wreckers will need more from Massie down the line if they are going to make a run at a third straight league title. His teammates are young. Massie is battle-tested.
“There’s a lot less experience than there was the last two years,” Massie said. “The last two years I haven’t had to be the one to get on people and tell them what to do. This year I have learned how to be that vocal leader.”
The Staples offense is dangerous. Lesch can help carry it in a different way. Teddy Coogan turned an ever-so-slightly overthrown pass by Massie into a spectacular one-handed catch and 61-yard score.”
Staples is not the team being hunted this fall. That has not dimmed the expectations.
As he indirectly explained, there are more Jack Massies surrounding the real thing.
“This is just like sophomore year,” Massie said. “People felt it was a rebuilding year, the same as this year. There are a lot of no-names on this team that I will think will be names by the end of the year.”