FAIRFIELD -- During an eight-game losing streak that stretched back to last season, Fairfield Warde football coach Duncan Della Volpe said he was beginning to wonder if his team would ever return to the win column.
It was not easy, but the Mustangs finally put a check in the left hand column, defeating Trinity Catholic 13-7 at Tetreau-Davis Field Friday night.
"There are points where you wonder if you are ever going to win again," Della Volpe said. "The kids don't give up. I can't fault their effort, ever, when they play, so, I am really happy that they finished it and they didn't give up the big play."
Warde held the lead when it gave the ball back to Trinity with 2:34 to play, and the tension on the Warde sideline was palpable before a Trinity pass on 4th-and-8 with 30 seconds left came up a yard short. The Mustangs could finally exhale. And celebrate.
Trinity was without starting quarterback Connor Amann on the final drive after the signal caller injured his shoulder earlier in the fourth quarter.
"I am proud of the way they played," Trinity Coach Donny Panapada said. "Our quarterback goes down, our defense played well and I think (Warde) is a good football team, I really do. They have some big kids, they have some skill guys. We made some mistakes, but I saw less today. They fought right don to the end."
Mustangs running back T.J. Gallagher was a workhorse, grinding out 121 yards on the ground running behind fullback Colin Ventura.
Gallagher piled up the yards but it was Ventura who busted the game's big play, running for a 47-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Mustangs on top for good.
"T.J. played great and I am really happy with Colin Ventura," Della Volpe said. "Ventura made some great blocks and had some great runs and I am really happy T.J. got more touches. It was a very basic game plan, we were just tossing the ball back to him and running."
It looked like the game may be a shootout as both teams completed long pass plays in the first four minutes of the game.
The Crusaders struck first when Amann hit Luis Gonzalez for a 30-yard strike before connecting with Thomas Costigan on a 7-yard touchdown pass to put Trinity up 7-0.
The Mustangs answered right back when Brandon Bisack connected with Ryan Brown for a 28-yard touchdown with 7:01 remaining in the first to knot the score 7-7.
The defenses then took over, aside from Ventura's long run.
The Mustangs nearly increased the lead at the end of the half but Neno Merritt intercepted Bisack in the end zone with 33 seconds to play in the half.
WARDE 13, TRINITY 7
TRINITY CATHOLIC 7 0 0 0--7
WARDE 7 6 0 0--13
Records: T 0-3 (0-2 FCIAC); W 1-2 (1-1 FCIAC)
TC--Thomas Costigan 7 pass Connor Amann (Kyle Przypek kick)
W--Ryan Brown 28 pass Brandon Bisack (Manny Rivas-Colon kick)
W--Colin Ventura 47 run (kick failed)