CHESHIRE—Seven years to the day his brother carved up the St. Joseph defense in the Class S final — albeit in a losing effort — Markell Dobbs drew Cadets coach Joe Della Vecchia and Co. crazy again with one highlight-reel run after another. Unfortunately for the Chargers, both games must feel all too similar.
Second-seeded St. Joseph overcame a 21-point deficit in the third quarter to stun top-seeded Ansonia 42-36 in the Class S final Monday evening.
“We all just knew we really needed to turn it on,” said St. Joseph wide receiver Phil Pasmeg, who helped spur the comeback with a 71-yard touchdown catch late in the third quarter, pulling the Cadets within 28-21. “We had to do just everything we could to get back in that game.”
It was the first title for St. Joseph since 2014 and 13th overall. Only Ansonia has more CIAC titles with 20.
Dobbs did everything he could to prevent that from happening, rushing 38 times for 243 yards and three touchdowns. It was Dobbs’ final touchdown run of a wild fourth quarter — a 75-yard run on which he zig-zagged from nearly one sideline to another — that gave Ansonia a 36-35 lead with 6:16 to play.
“Markell was tremendous,” Ansonia coach Tom Brockett said. “Markell is probably the best football player in the state of Connecticut. He’s a warrior, an absolute pleasure to coach. He left everything out on the field — all of the kids did.”
One play after falling behind, the Cadets grabbed the lead back for good on a 56-yard pass from David Summers to Jared Mallozzi with 5:53 left. The touchdown — Summers’ fifth of the night through the air — capped a 21-point fourth quarter for the Cadets.
“I’ve seen a Dobbs before,” said Della Vecchia, alluding to the 52-carry, 303-yard performance from Markell’s older brother, Montrell, in the 2010 S final, won by St. Joseph 49-28. “I saw [Markell] live [earlier this season]. The two games I saw him play in, I didn’t see anybody tackle him. That kind of scared me a little bit.
“We don’t have anybody at practice to kind of emulate his speed.”
Touchdown runs of 7 and 3 yards by Dobbs helped send Ansonia (12-1) into halftime up 22-7. The Chargers’ lead grew to 28-7 when quarterback Justin Lopez scored on a 13-yard run early in the third quarter. St. Joseph answered the next series with a 10-yard pass from Summers to William Diamantis to trim the lead to 28-14.
“I just wanted to make sure we had the ball last because I thought that we were going to keep scoring,” Della Vecchia said.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
David Summers, St. Joseph, QB: Summers threw five touchdown passes, including four in the second half.
DO YOU REMEMBER?
The 21-point deficit was only the second-largest comeback of the season for St. Joseph. The Cadets rallied from 25 points down in the fourth quarter earlier this season to beat Ridgefield 38-35. Many of the players used that game as motivation at halftime following a sluggish start against Ansonia.
“We knew if we had the energy coming out in the second half, there was no way they could stop us,” Summers said.
“We shot ourselves an awful lot. We had 12 penalties at half, a lot of big ones. We had some drives going. I think we were a little bit high strung.” — St. Joseph coach Joe Della Vecchia