Greenwich High football a win away from battling for title

The Greenwich High School football team returned to the gridiron for the first time since Hurricane Sandy and the nor’easter that postponed games all around the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference on Saturday.

With limited practice over two weeks, the Cardinals looked like a well-oiled machine, sprinting to a 49-14 win against the Brien McMahon Senators.

 

The victory kept the Cardinals (7-0, 7-0 FCIAC) in line for a Thanksgiving Day showdown against Staples. They only needed Trinity Catholic to lose to Darien, and fans at McMahon’s Jack Casagrande Field were scoreboard watching.

As for Big Red, they needed to win against the Senators (4-4, 4-4 FCIAC), and they got off to a good start when sophomore cornerback Austin Longi picked off quarterback Matt Downey. Longi has shown incredible skills for being a show-stopping runner, and the interception return was quite a performance.

“When I caught the ball, I was looking upfield,” said Longi. “I had to cut back because there was no lane. I thought I had it but number four (Trevon Forney), he caught me. He had the angle on me.”

Liam O’Neil and the potent Cardinals offense made the Senators pay just seven seconds later, when Alex McMurray scored from four yards out. O’Neil threw a touchdown to Joe Kelly a few minutes later, as the Cardinals would end the first quarter up 14-0.

They would add to that lead in the second quarter when Kelly caught the second of his three touchdowns, this time from seven yards out. Mark Bernstein got on the ledger with a three-yard run, and Alex McMurray added another score as Greenwich went to the intermission up 35-0.

O’Neil looked outstanding once again, showing not only his throwing prowess, but his ability to run with the ball, a skill he’s not normally known for. He finished 13-of-16 for 208 yards and four touchdowns. He also scampered for 15 yards on the ground.

The Cardinals added more in the second half, as Kelly grabbed a tipped pass to score again, and Taylor Olmstead hauled in a 13-yard pass from Jose Melo.

Defensively, the Cardinals shut down the Senators’ running game of Forney and Kyle Jordan, putting the pressure on Downey to throw the ball. Besides the first-quarter interception, the McMahon quarterback also fumbled once, which was recovered by junior defensive end Jack Harrington. McMahon got on the scoreboard when Kentrell Snider caught a 37-yard pass from Downey in the third quarter. Danny O’Brien closed out the scoring with a one-yard run with just under a minute to go. The Cardinals have given up just under 14 points per game.

After the final whistle, the Cardinals got the news that they wanted, when it was confirmed that Darien High School had beaten Trinity Catholic. The Cardinals can cement their FCIAC championship game status when they play Danbury High School Thursday night at Cardinal Stadium. Game time is slated for 7.

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