Football: Warde pulls way from Danbury
DANBURY—After spending most of the first three quarters exclusively relying on the pass game with mixed results, Fairfield Warde goal Duncan DellaVolpe flipped the script and began pounding the football on the ground.
It sure worked.
Chris Idieu rushed for a late touchdown and Joe Gulbin threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third, helping the Mustangs rally past Danbury 26-10 Friday night. Both teams sit at 3-2 after the result.
Warde scored 19 unanswered points after trailing 10-6 at the break, largely due to the running back tandem of Joe Gjinaj and Idieu.
“We throw the ball a lot and teams try to take that away,” DellaVolpe said. “So we felt we could run it if we do it the right way. Joe Gjinaj gave us a little extra spark running the ball and spurred the other backs on.”
The Hatters held the ball late in the first half up 10-6 with a chance to add to their lead, but time ran out as they crossed midfield. Getting the ball to start the second half, Danbury reached midfield before punting, and failed to convert a fourth down near the 50 on the ensuing drive.
Warde turned that opportunity into points as Gulbin hit Will Stearns for a 27-yard pass near the goal line, which was followed by a short touchdown run by Gulbin.
“That was an unbelievable catch by Stearns,” Gulbin said. “He has one against Stamford and had one here. He’s my go-to guy; we worked all summer and it’s paying off.”
The Mustangs defense did the rest, forcing Danbury into a series of punts or failed fourth down conversions down the stretch.
The Hatters played the second half without starting quarterback Malachi Hopkins, who was nursing an ankle injury. DJ Donovan had a short touchdown run and Lucas Amaral booted a field goal to give the Hatters the lead heading into the break.
“Credit to Warde, they did a tremendous job game-planning for us,” Hatters coach Augustine Tieri said. “They really set out to stop the things we do offensively; they made those adjustments and we couldn’t execute the plays we needed to overcome it.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Joe Gulbin, Warde: Shook off a first half interception to make several key completions to seal the win.
Both teams — along with the rest of the FCIAC — enter the bye week in different moods, but will have tough challenges on the other side. Warde will host Darien while Danbury visits Trumbull.
“Going into our bye week with a win and with Darien in two weeks is huge,” Gulbin said. “We have all the energy in the world to compete.”
“I’m very proud of the team defense to get us through some rough patches in the first half,” DellaVolpe said. “And then finally we figured it out what we needed to do up front on offense. It just came down to man versus man.”
WARDE 26, DANBURY 10
WARDE6 0 6 14 — 26
DANBURY0 10 0 0 — 10
W—Connor Burt 15 pass Joe Gulbin (pass failed)
D—DJ Donovan 2 run (Lucas Amaral kick)
D—Amaral 32 field goal
W—Gulbin 2 run (pass failed)
W—Chris Idieu 11 run (Braulio Palma kick)
W—Jeff Seganos 6 pass Gulbin (Palma kick)
Records: Warde 3-2, Danbury 3-2.