St. Joseph quarterback David Summers has Cadets on winning track
Published 7:40 pm, Wednesday, November 8, 2017
TRUMBULL — St. Joseph High football coach Joe Della Vecchia went into last offseason figuring he had two options to replace his starting quarterback: Jared Mallozzi and Mike Dilorio.
Both were superb athletes and possessed the intangibles necessary to replace Cory Babineau, a three-year starter who threw for over 5,000 yards and twice led St. Joseph to the state finals, but moving one would weaken the team at another position. Mallozzi, a speedy 5-foot-11 wide receiver, was coming off a breakout season in which he caught 100 passes for a state-leading 1,514 yards and 20 touchdowns. Dilorio, a 172-pound outside linebacker/safety, was a key playmaker on defense.
“Quite honestly,” Della Vecchia said Tuesday, “both of them would’ve seen time at quarterback because obviously you want Jared with the ball as much as you can, and Mike’s got a really good arm. (Mike’s) a pretty good quarterback himself. He understands our whole offense. He was our backup last year and in practice he played a lot.”
Those plans changed, though, when David Summers transferred from Warde to St. Joseph last February. Summers had played 10 games as a sophomore for the Mustangs, throwing for 1,709 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, and was tabbed the Cadets’ starter from essentially the moment he stepped on campus.
“St Joe’s was an option that I was always looking at, since eighth grade,” Summers said. “Even after my freshman year, I was still thinking about it. I felt like St. Joe’s would be a better fit for me.”
Summers enjoyed his time at Warde, but St. Joseph offered him more exposure and a better chance of making the state playoffs. After all, the Cadets were returning the bulk of a team that won 10 games and finished as the runner-up in Class M a year ago.
“It was all my decision,” Summers said. “I kind of wanted to figure everything out on my own. I kind of left my parents out of it. … I knew what was best for me.”
What was best for Summers was also best for St. Joseph — a view that’s only been reinforced by a 7-1 start that has the Cadets ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT/Register Top 10 poll. Summers has thrown for 2,013 yards, and his 26 touchdown passes are second to only Ridgefield’s Greg Gatto (28). He’s also tossed just two interceptions.
“I think he’s a great player. He’s done a lot of great things for us,” Della Vecchia said. “I haven’t seen anybody on the same level as him this year. I just think that he’s been head and shoulders above everybody with the things he’s been able to do.
“He’s worked hard at it. He’s a fierce competitor.”
Summers displayed his competitive spirit for the first time in a St. Joseph uniform at the 7-on-7 Grip It and Rip It Tournament last July and carried it over to the regular season. He threw four touchdown passes in a 38-35 upset of then-No. 1 ranked New Canaan in Week 1 and brought his team back from 25 points down in a 38-35 victory over Ridgefield in Week 6. So far, the only stain on the Cadets’ resume is a 42-10 loss to top-ranked Darien.
“He’s a very confident kid,” Mallozzi said. “If our drive ends on a fourth down and we punt the ball, he’ll come to the sideline and … tell me, ‘We’ll get them next time. The game’s not over.’ Especially that Ridgefield game, he never put his head down. As a junior quarterback he never gave up.”
Neither did St. Joseph.
“Getting him and watching the things he can do and working to his strengths,” Della Vecchia said, “I think certainly has put us over the top.”