Tuesday, July 16, 2024

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Wreckers to Meet Shelton in State Football Final Saturday, Hughes Doubtful

After squeaking by Windsor Tuesday night 17-14, the top-seeded Staples Wreckers (13-0) are looking forward to Saturdays state championship game against third-seeded Shelton with senior running back Jimmy Hughes a doubtful starter.

The game will take place at 2 p.m. at West Haven High School, it was announced today.

Hughes, one of the stateҒs top players, was injured in the final play of the first half Tuesday night in the CIAC Class L semifinals at Norwalks McMahon Field.

He collided with teammate Matt Samela while blocking a Windsor field goal in a game played in sub-freezing temperatures.

Samela, the Wreckers’ leading receiver, and Hughes lay sprawled out on the turf after the collision. Samela soon got up but Hughes remained on the ground for five minutes before being helped off the field.

ғI knew Jimmy was hurt, Coach Marce Petroccio told reporters after the game. ԓI could see him grab his knee and knew we were going to have a problem. We were in the locker room and the kids were ready to cry. It was so sad.

Hughes watched from the sidelines on crutches as the Wreckers managed to pull it out on Andrew Kempler’s 26-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

Kempler’s game-winning kick was set up by the strong running of Kempton Coady, who carried the ball 18 times for 135 yards for Staples.

“We owed him this,” said Petroccio referring to Hughes.

Asked today how the team will do without Hughes, the coach replied: “If we don’t have Jimmy, we’ll do what we have to do; if we do have Jimmy, we’ll do what we have to do.” He added, “We’re going to stay the course.”

Staples athletic officials said Hughes was seen by a doctor who found he had a bruised knee and a strained MCL muscle. They said while it was not a lasting injury, his status remained uncertain for Saturday’s game.

Also hurt in the game was Drew Grasso, a team captain, who suffered a hand injury, according to the Staples football Web site.

Shelton (11-1) defeated East Cathlolic/Cheney Tech, 35-14, in TuesdayԒs other semifinal.

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