Naugy routs St. Paul
A) If one player scores four touchdowns, you’ve got a good shot at winning the game. B) If two players score four touchdowns, you’ve got a really good shot at winning the game. C) If three players account for at least four touchdowns, you’re probably going to score 70 points.
The Greyhounds chose option C last Saturday night against St. Paul at Veterans Field, and wouldn’t you know it? Naugy won 70-33.
Sophomore quarterback Jason Bradley threw for 234 yards and five touchdowns, and senior running back Mick Pernell accounted for 261 yards and four touchdowns, but they might not even have been the most impressive players of the night.
Nope, that distinction went to senior Mike D’Agnone, who blew open the win in the second quarter with a pair of interception-return touchdowns and added two more scoring receptions as Naugy (2-1) scored 42 points in the second period (third-most in state history) and 63 points in the first half (fourth-most).
“Mike’s a hard-nosed player,” Naugatuck head coach Shawn Kuczenski said. “He comes to play. He knows he’s not the fastest guy or the strongest guy on the team but he brings everything he has. He’s a fun guy to have on the team.”
D’Agnone had plenty of fun in the second quarter of a game that was dominated early by both teams’ passing games.
Bradley hooked up on scores with Brandon Kuczenski and Pernell while St. Paul slinger Logan Marchi connected twice with Reid Morin, all within the first 13 minutes of a competitive game.
Both of Morin’s touchdowns came against D’Agnone. But after the second score, which pulled the Falcons to within 21-14 early in the second quarter, Naugy adjusted its defense.
“St. Paul picked up our first defense and we couldn’t get to the quarterback, so we switched it up,” Shawn Kuczenski said. “We had a safety come over the top and the linebackers dropped into their zones. I think it confused them and it worked.”
D’Agnone made a change, too, and saw it pay off in a big way.
After Pernell scored his second rushing touchdown of the night to give the Greyhounds a 28-14 lead with 9:30 left in the second, Marchi took over at his own 35-yard line. He decided to attack D’Agnone again, but the 5-foot-10 senior was ready. D’Agnone jumped Morin’s route and cruised 37 yards into the end zone.
“Early in the game I was a step or two behind. They were targeting me,” D’Agnone said. “I started getting good reads on balls.”
Seven minutes later Pernell scored again, this time from 26 yards out on a crossing route from Bradley, to make it a 42-14 game. But when Marchi decided to attack D’Agnone one more time on the ensuing drive, the Greyhound struck again with a 47-yard pick-six.
D’Agnone added two touchdown catches from Bradley inside the last two minutes, including a 30-yarder on the last play of the half, to give the ‘Hounds a 63-14 lead at the half.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” D’Agnone said of his four-score performance. “Mick played his butt off tonight as always but it felt good for me to step up.”
Pernell, as is becoming normal, had another fantastic showing while Bradley enjoyed his breakout game, rebounding from a subpar game at Derby.
“It was unbelievable,” Bradley said. “When I threw my first touchdown I figured it was going to be a good game. Then I threw a 7-yard pass to Mick and he takes it all the way [for a 60-yard touchdown in the first]. My line was great. The only time I got touched was when I ran.”
The Greyhounds were set to visit Municipal Stadium on Thursday to face Sacred Heart.