FAIRFIELD -- Coaches always stress to their players the need to get off to a quick start to send the opposition into catch-up mode.
Fairfield Prep carried out those plans to the highest degree possible Friday night by rolling to a pair touchdowns in the first 188 seconds of its football game at Fairfield University's Alumni Field.
Before the SCC interdivisional game was eight minutes old, the Jesuits and built a three-touchdown lead over winless Branford. By early in the second quarter, Prep coach Tom Shea had begun to use his reserve players in rapid succession. He did not let up from that substitution pattern for the rest of the night.
In the end, the Jesuits had posted a 32-6 win to improve to 3-1 overall with their second straight victory. The Hornets, who scored the second-half's lone touchdown, dropped to 0-4 overall.
"We have a long way to go," said Branford coach John Limone, before uttering those exact words once more. Branford has been outscored cumulatively this fall by 159-32. "We knew it was an uphill battle for us."
Neither Limone nor Shea could deny that the Jesuits entered with considerable advantages in size, roster depth and more able players at the skill positions. Prep used four quarterbacks in the game.
"We overwhelmed them a little bit early," Shea said. "Things went well for us early."
A fumble recovery by Prep on the game's third play provided outstanding field position at the Hornets' 27 yard line. After Andrew Vegliante's 5-yard run to the Branford 22, Prep starting quarterback Colton Smith, a junior, bolted to the right on the next play, hurdling over a defender at the 8 en route to slipping into the end zone. Sean Morrison's kick made it 7-0 a mere 1 minute and 35 seconds into the game. On the next series for the Hornets, Stephen Walsh had a Pick-6, intercepting a Luke DiStasio pass on the right sidelines before darting for a 44-yard return and the game's second score.
Prep engineered a seven-play, 59-yard scoring drive, which wound nearly two-and-a-half minutes off the clock, for a 20-0 lead with 4:24 left to play in the first quarter. The tone had been set.
"Our guys are expected to compete," Limone said. "We have to compete when we come out on Friday nights. That was not the case. Their scheme is tough. Up front, they really have big and tough guys."
Shea said he believed at some point he might be able to give younger players a chance to shine, but he admitted he didn't plan on that happening with close to three quarters to play. "I tell the players that all 70 of us have to make contributions," Shea said. "Some of the (younger) guys didn't do that. We had the opportunity to play some younger guys. It was a chance for them to step up, and they didn't. They're younger, so that's part of learning.
"It's going to be back to the drawing board for some of them."
After Smith was taken out of action, senior Anthony Johnson came in at quarterback for Prep. Rather quickly and with plenty of composure, he connected with receiver Tim Falvey for a 72-yard scoring play. That made it 32-0. But that was it for him. Following Johnson were junior John Carroll then sophomore Henry Purdy at the helm.
Fairfield Prep 32, Branford 6
BRANFORD 0 0 6 0-- 6
FAIRFIELD PREP 20 12 0 0--32
FP--Colton Smith 22 run (Sean Morrison kick)
FP--Stephen Walsh 46 interception return (Morrison kick)
FP--John Delisanti 6 run (kick failed)
FP--Delisanti 6 pass Smith (kick failed)
FP--Tim Falvey 72 pass Anthony Johnson (kick failed)
B--Carl Williams 3 run (run failed)
Records: Branford 0-4; Fairfield Prep 3-1