The stakes were fairly straightforward ahead of Friday night's SCC clash between Shelton and Fairfield Prep. With both teams sitting at 2-1, the loser would face an uphill battle trying to qualify for the Class LL playoffs.
After 24 minutes of dominating first-half football, Fairfield Prep certainly looked like a state playoff team -- and then some -- on its way to a 42-3 victory at Alumni Stadium.
"It feels good to get a win under our belt and show the state that Prep is back," Jesuits senior quarterback Strecker Backe said. "We know in Connecticut you have to go 9-1, 8-2 to be talked about in the playoffs. We lost our one to Xavier, so we know every game is a step."
If there was a hangover effect for Prep's following last Saturday's 35-14 loss at No. 1 ranked Xavier, it wasn't on display Friday night.
On the Jesuits' first drive they quickly marched 59 yards, capped by an 8-yard run up the middle by Chris Golger -- his first of two touchdown runs on the night.
Early in the second Prep went up 14-0 when Backe dropped back, pump faked, and found a wide-open John Dellisanti streaking behind the Shelton defensive backfield for a 76-yard score.
Shelton (2-2) almost got back into it on the ensuing kickoff when Michael Pingree appeared on track for a touchdown. He ran out of steam at the Prep 4-yard line and three plays later the Gaels had to settle for a short field goal by Ed Groth.
"Our defense did a great job there," Prep coach Tom Shea said.
The win took on some added importance for Prep since it had only defeated Shelton once previously and that came back in 2006.
"We can't become a good team until we can beat an elite team," Shea said. "Shelton is an elite team, so to beat them is a good thing."
Shelton sophomore quarterback Mark Piccirillo threw for 97 yards but wasn't helped by a couple crucial drops down the field by his receivers.
Backe threw for 105 yards and ran for 44 before being pulled early in the third quarter.
"All week coach was preaching we've only beaten Shelton once in our history and this would be a turning point in our season, and you know, we wanted to come out and smack them pretty good and I think we did that pretty well," Backe said.
SHELTON 0 3 0 0--3
FAIRFIELD PREP 7 28 7 0--42
FP--Chris Golger 8 run (Liam Coyle kick)
FP--John Dellisanti 76 pass Strecker Backe (Coyle kick)
S--Ed Groth 24 field goal
FP--Chris Golger 20 run (Coyle kick)
FP--Dillon Ryan 5 run (Coyle kick)
FP--John Moten 6 run (Coyle kick)
FP--Ryan 4 run (Coyle kick)
Records: Shelton 2-2; Fairfield Prep 3-1