That strong gust of wind at about 9 p.m. Friday was the collective sigh of relief let out by Greenwich High School football fans, players and coaches at Cardinal Stadium. Cornerback Joel Arroyo picked off Stamford quarterback Bryan Broderick with just two minutes to play, stopping a Stamford drive and holding on for a 7-0 win. It wasn't perfect, but after losing last week to Norwalk for the first time in 30 years, anything less than victory would have meant big trouble for the Cardinals.
"It feels good to win, and hopefully we'll stay on this winning track," Arroyo said. "We have a lot of talent on this team. We just need some of our underclassmen guys to break out."
Greenwich ate up the clock with a relentless three-pronged running attack from Mark Kelley, Mike Daly and Shane Nastahowski. Kelley scored the game's only touchdown on a three-yard run in the second quarter, busting through the middle of the Stamford defense. Neither offense could get much going after that. Greenwich got to the red zone just once in the second half, and the Cardinal defense did not allow Stamford past their 40-yard line.
Things got a little tense when Stamford had one last shot, with time winding down. Greenwich was called for a potentially backbreaking pass interference penalty, putting Stamford in excellent field position. Two plays later, however, Arroyo was there to snag a tipped ball out of the air and ice the game for the Cardinals. Kelley said a weight was lifted off the players' shoulders after the win.
"It wasn't pretty, but we're breathing a sigh of relief," Kelley said. "We switched our offense this week to focus on running and it worked well. We can definitely get back on a winning track."
If Greenwich needed a good omen, the moon was tinged Cardinal red as it rose just after Kelley scored his touchdown.
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