Shelton defeats Fairfield Prep, 38-35

The Shelton High football team took a 14-0 lead in its game with Fairfield Prep, and made the Jesuits chase the rest of the way as the Gaels improved to 5-0 on the season with a 38-35 victory at Tetreau-Davis Field in Fairfeld on Friday.

“Getting the early lead, knowing they were going to make a run at you, was big,” said Shelton head coach Jeff Roy, who was presented the game ball and a Gatorade shower after collecting his 75th career win at the school. “We made them play from behind. I’m proud of my kids.”

Peter Hoff scored on a 15-yard run in the first quarter and Mark Piccirillo ran the ball in from 7 yards out in the second.

Joe Zoppi, who was good on all five conversion kicks, booted a 36-yard field goal to give the Gaels a 17-7 halftime lead, after Prep had drawn with 14-7 on Allen Gibson’s 6-yard run.

Prep (3-2) scored on its first possession of the third quarter, on a 2-yard run by Joe Ganim, but Piccirillo got the touchdown right back with an 11-yard run.

“It was nerve wracking, like I thought it would be,” said Piccirillo, who scored three touchdowns and accounted for key yardage down the stretch. “We kept fighting and finished the game.”

The biggest play of the game came after the Shelton defense got the ball back.

Pressured from the pocket, Piccirillo eluded two defenders in front of the Shelton bench. He spotted Sam Kirk free all alone on the opposite side of the field and connected with him near the Prep 25. Kirk went the rest of the way to complete the 62-yard touchdown play.

Following the conversion, Shelton led 31-14 with 3:14  remaining in the third quarter.

Colton Smith led the Jesuits back and Ganim scored from 25 yards out with 2:20 still on the clock in the third.

Piccirillo marshaled another Shelton drive, as the Gaels marched 80 yards in 16 plays before Chris Kanios punched the ball in on a 4th-and-goal play from the one-yard line.

The series took 6:38 off the clock, but Prep wasn’t finished.

Smith scored on a 3-yard run at 3:56 of the final frame, and after Cam Harris recovered the squibbed kickoff, Smith rambled in from 15 yards away with 2:24 still to play.

Shelton’s Kirk Alexander recovered the next squib kick. Piccirillo had five straight carries — around three Prep timeouts — to garner first downs to run out the clock.