Fairfield Prep defeats ND-West Haven
Published 10:16 pm, Friday, September 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD -- On this night, Fairfield Prep's defense didn't rest.
Much maligned over the first two weeks of the season, and rightly so, after allowing 88 points and almost 900 yards of total offense to Stamford and St. Joseph, Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea spent the entire week working to get his defense back on the right track.
So far, so good.
Prep cornerback Brett Stevenson had a key interception, linebacker Logan Clair had two sacks and a huge tackle for loss on a fourth-down play and quarterback Colton Smith ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more as the Jesuits rolled to a 35-18 win over Notre Dame-West Haven Friday night at Ludlowe's Taft Field.
"They got better this week. We worked on a few things and they got better this week," Shea said of his defense. "It's not going to happen overnight but we always emphasize the process. We had a better week of preparation. We have a lot of young guys on that side of the ball that are starting to understand what varsity football is about, the level of competition we play. They got better this week and I'm pleased with that."
Prep (2-1) held the Green Knights to 81 yards rushing -- just 15 in the second half -- as Notre Dame went to a passing attack to try and get back in the game. It did result in one big play, an 80-yard touchdown pass at the start of the fourth quarter, but Prep never let the game slip away.
"All this week we had a focus that we had to improve our defense," said Clair, who tackled ND-WH tailback Prince Brooks for a loss on a fourth-and-1 from the Prep 11 in the third quarter to keep the Green Knights from possibly making it a one-possession game. "We continued to make plays all game, we executed and we got better. We really had a focus this week in practice because those first two weeks, we weren't happy at all. We got it done."
And while Prep's defense got it done, the offense did too. Surprisingly, they did it rushing, instead of passing. Led by Smith, who ran for 175 yards on 11 carries, the Jesuits posted 322 yards on the ground with Joe Ganim gaining 109 yards on 17 carries.
"I wouldn't say it was by design but as we got going, we felt we could run to control the ball, take some time off the clock and keep the ball out of their hands," Shea said. "We've been struggling in defense but when we have the ball, we feel safe and our offensive line did a good job tonight, so we went with the hot hand."
Make that feet.
On Prep's third play, Smith bolted 80 yards for a touchdown with Hank Healey kicking the first of his five extra points, and after Brooks scored to cut the Jesuits' lead to 7-6, Ganim scored from a yard out to make it 14-6 and then Smith connected with Brendan Beiser on a 33-yard TD pass to make it 21-6. For the game, Smith was just 5 of 12 passing for 113 yards.
A 13-yard touchdown run from Smith in the third upped the Prep lead to 28-6 before it got a little helter-skelter with ND quarterback Christian Lupoli running and passing for touchdowns and Smith finding John Dellisanti for a 71-yard TD pass.
"The offensive line was blocking well and we were struggling with the passing game," Smith said. "Once we realized that we could run on them, we just kept running. We ran them out of the stadium."
NOTRE DAME-WH 0 6 6 6--18
FAIRFIELD PREP 7 14 14 0--35
FP -- Colton Smith, 80 run (Hank Healey kick)
ND --Prince Brooks, 1 run (kick failed)
FP -- Joe Ganim, 1 run (Healey kick)
FP -- Brendan Beiser, 33 pass Colton Smith (Healey kick)
FP -- Smith, 13 run (Healey kick)
ND -- Christian Lupoli, 4 run (run failed)
FP -- John Dellisanti, 71 pass Smith (Healey kick)
ND -- Nico Ragaini, 80 pass Lupoli (pass failed)
Records: Fairfield Prep 2-1, Notre Dame-West Haven 1-2