Kelly's three TDs propels Wreckers to 45-0 victory win over Brien McMahon
Senior tailback Matt Kelly had a memorable day for the Staples football team (5-0) Saturday, scoring three second half touchdowns in the Wreckers' 45-0 home victory over Brien McMahon (2-3). After seeing his team enter the locker room at halftime with only a 10-0 lead, Kelly took matters into his own hands after intermission.
Kelly (seven carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns) began the second half by breaking off two long punt returns in a row. The first was taken back 60 yards where Kelly nearly tiptoed his way into the end zone. The next play Kelly scampered in for a 3-yard touchdown, giving the Wreckers a 17-0 lead.
After forcing McMahon to go three and out on the ensuing possession, Kelly found some room to run once again, as a block from junior Matt Yeager (two interceptions) sprung Kelly free down the sideline where he took it all the way to the house for a 72 yard punt return touchdown increasing the lead to 24-0.
"I knew I needed to do something to get us going in the second half," Kelly said. "I wanted to get the team fired up because I knew we couldn't play that way for four quarters and expect to win." After Kelly's two touchdowns, the Wreckers cruised as they scored on all five possessions they had in the second half.
While the Wreckers were able to return to form in the second half, they hardly played like one of the top teams in the state in the first half. Strong Senator defense and sloppy Staples offense put the Wreckers in uncharted waters, as it was the first time they had failed to score in the first quarter all season. In fact, McMahon held Staples to just 136 of total offense in the first half.
However, it was not all bad for the Wreckers in the first half. Junior Ryan Burke was able to walk in from 29 yards out for his third touchdown of the season and senior Santiago Cuartas nailed a 31 yard field goal, giving Staples its 10-0 halftime lead.
"We were very sluggish," Kelly said. "We just weren't doing what we needed to do. We made a couple mistakes that killed us. We came out mentally slow and physically slow."
Despite holding the Wreckers to just 10 points in the first half, McMahon was overmatched as Staples' defense was way too much to handle. The Wreckers continued to play like the best defense in the FCIAC as they blanked the Senators,holding them to just 108 yards of total offense.
Through the first five games, the Wreckers have allowed just 19 points and the first team defense has given up just one touchdown. To the defense's success, junior Rob Gau credits the preparation from defensive coordinator Lewis Socci.
"Coach Socci puts us in perfect positions so that we can execute," Gau said.
The execution proved to be flawless as the Wreckers defense made life for McMahon's sophomore quarterback Damien Vega miserable. The Wrecker defense was all over the first year starter as junior Chris Coyne (two catches for 42 yards) and senior Jack Ambrose each had a sack, junior Tyler Jacobs forced and recovered a fumble and Yeager intercepted him. Vega finished the game just 3-for-10 for 38 yards.
For Gau it always big to get the shutout, especially against a tough team like McMahon.
"It meant to us to us because there is nothing better then shutting out an opponent. It was a great game and everybody had a lot of fun," Gau said
With the Wreckers opening up a huge lead in the second half, the second string offense and defense once again got a chance to play a lot and took advantage of its opportunity. Senior quarterback Keith Gelman (1-for02, 22 yards, two carries for 9 yards and a touchdown) wasted no time once he replaced senior captain starting quarterback Brandon Pacillio (4-11, 107 yards, seven carries for 32 yards) as he led the Wreckers right into the end zone on his first possession. After hooking up with senior Jacob Levi for a 22-yard gain, Gelman capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run which gave Staples a 38-0 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Wreckers were not done scoring yet as just a few minutes later sophomore running back Jon Heil (two carries for 18 yards) ran into the end zone for the second time this season, pushing the Wrecker lead to 45-0. With the starters out of the game, the replacements helped to keep the shutout in tact, as senior Dusty Dobbs halted a late McMahon drive with an interception sealing the deal for the Wreckers.
Staples plays at Harding on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.