WILTON, Conn. — Despite an impressive running game throughout, the Wilton Warriors fell to the Trinity Catholic High Crusaders on Thanksgiving Day, 42-32, in their final game of the season.
The Warriors, who ended the season 4-6 and out of the playoffs, moved the ball well on the ground, trading touchdowns early with the Crusaders. But Wilton never had an answer for Trinity Catholic’s Shawn Brown, quarterback Danny O’Leary and running back Shaquan Howsie.
Brown ended the game with three touchdowns, including a 76-yard touchdown pass from O’Leary, and more than 130 yards on the ground. Howsie had more than 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
“I can’t say enough about the way we fought out there,” Warriors coach Bruce Cunningham said after the game, fighting back tears.
Cunningham said he was proud of the way the team ran, but he acknowledged that the defense could not keep up with the Crusaders.
“We made some mistakes,” he said. “But I’m not going to take credit away from Trinity Catholic. It was a chess match out there, and they made all the right adjustments.”
As dominant as the Crusaders looked on offense, they, too, struggled on defense. They allowed Warriors running back Mike Burns and quarterback Brett Phillips to chew up significant chunks of yardage. Each finished with more than 140 yards on the ground, and Burns chipped in an impressive four touchdowns.
Despite the difficulties Trinity Catholic had stopping the Warriors offense, an emotional Crusaders coach Pete Stokes said he was proud of the 8-2 team for achieving its goal of making the playoffs.
“The turkey’s going to taste awfully good today,” Stokes said after the game, which was played at Wilton’s Fujitani Field.
Crusaders tight end and co-captain Cody Zaro agreed. “We faced a lot of adversity out there, but I’m proud of how we ended up playing.”