STAMFORD — The Trinity Catholic football team has always ranked near the top of the FCIAC in the intangible element of player toughness. Few are the instances when the Crusaders have had an underachieving season or stopped playing hard in games.
What has often separated the Crusaders from the programs that perennially finish ahead of them in the standings is roster size, especially when those larger schools combine quality with quantity.
Such was the case today at Gaglio Field. Greenwich had nearly twice the number of players on the sideline, and as evidenced through the first two weeks, they are pretty good. The result was a resounding 49-7 win by the Cardinals that carries them into an early-season bye week with a 2-0 mark.
“We look good,” said running back Tysen Comizio, who rushed for 130 yards and three scores. “A lot of thanks to our O-line. Everything is clicking for us. We are working hard and it is paying off.”
Quarterback Gavin Muir was sharp for the second straight week, completing 14 of 20 passes for 162 yards and three touchdowns. Two went to Jael Negron, who had four catches for 92 yards and is standing out among a deep receiving group.
“Two weeks in a row where we started sluggish offensively. It seems like it takes them a while to get in a groove, but once they pick it up, they play,” Greenwich coach John Marinelli said. “Whatever happens in a game, they don’t let it affect them on the sidelines. When we get into a football game it will be interesting to see how we respond and who our leaders are on the sidelines.”
The Cardinals have quality depth, but after winning by a combined margin of 119-23, including last week’s game against Trumbull, they have yet to be pressed. That is a testament to effort and execution.
“It’s always a concern, but it’s a credit to what they’re doing,” Marinelli said of not being tested. “I think that’s a good football team, I think Trumbull’s a pretty good football team, too. And look at the competition and we are doing some pretty good things against some pretty well-coached teams.”
Overshadowed by the numbers the Cardinals are putting up are the ones the defense has denied. Trinity was held to 170 yards.
“We give a lot of credit to the defense,” Comizio said. “Everyone has been taking care of their responsibility.”
Greenwich scored on six of its final seven possessions in the first half, and the one stop came after an exchange of interceptions on consecutive plays. The Cardinals used a blocked punt to set up one touchdown and, for the second straight week, a recovered onside kick for another. Comizio also had a 90-yard scoring run down the right sideline.
The Crusaders scored on a 60-yard pass from Sam Aldof to Anthony Anderson with 51 seconds left in the first half, but the Cardinals were able to drive and get a touchdown 40 seconds later.
Still, it was evident that the Crusaders (1-1) have some playmakers, and coach Donny Panapada remains confident heading into next week’s game against Stamford.
“They’re a very good football team,” Panapada said. “I still believe that we have a pretty decent football team too. It’s unfortunate but we have to play who’s on the schedule and they’re on the schedule, and they’re not the only team like that. We have to figure some things out, we have to be better. A warm day doesn’t help, but we still have to be able to execute. Some parts of it we were overmatched, but I told the kids we are going to turn the page on this, and the great thing about this week is we get an opportunity next Saturday, and that’s going to tell the tale of what we are. We’ll lick our wounds, we will take it from there and we will get better.”
A bye would seem like an unwanted delay to the early momentum, but Marinelli said he was unbothered.
“It all depends on what you do during the bye week,” he said. “We’re going to use it as a chance to get healthy and work on fundamentals. Tackling wise, I thought we did a better job than last week. It’s a good time to go back to fundamentals and work on situations. And really self-scout. Two weeks in what are other teams looking at when they view us? We’re going to get a chance to look as a staff and see what are our tendencies as well.”