NEW CANAAN, Conn. – In less than 24 hours, St. Luke’s football rode a wave of emotions that dipped to a season low before rising to the high point of the players' young careers. Now, the New Canaan school gets a chance to atone for its one slip this season.
The Storm lost to King on Saturday, 18-12, for the first time this season, ending a 10-game winning streak. The loss appeared to have eliminated St. Luke’s from the New England Prep School Athletic Conference playoffs.
On Sunday, however, the Storm learned it had been selected to play the Hyde School of Connecticut this coming Saturday in the Dan Rorke Bowl. Both teams bring 7-1 records to the face-off at Kingswood-Oxford in Hartford.
“To be honest, it has been a roller-coaster these past two days,’’ coach Noel Thomas Sr. said. “The boys were happy to play another game. Hopefully, it will end on a better note.”
Saturday’s loss was a bitterly disappointing conclusion to the regular season for St. Luke’s, which had won two straight against its archrival from Stamford. St. Luke’s, which came into the game averaging more than 40 points a game, struggled to find its offensive rhythm all day.
The Storm was held to a season-low 76 yards rushing. Noel Thomas Jr. caught eight passes for 102 yards, but was surrounded every time he touched the ball.
Quarterback Charlie Nelson completed 13-of-24 passes for 219 yards but was under duress the entire game.
“We didn’t score enough points,’’ Thomas Sr. said. “They played good defense. We had our opportunities and couldn’t convert them.”
St. Luke’s led 12-11 in the fourth quarter and had the ball on its own 23-yard line with eight minutes remaining. Nelson was sacked on consecutive plays, however, and King took over on the St. Luke’s 18 with 6:04 remaining. Four plays later, King’s Joey Santoro scored the go-ahead touchdown.
St. Luke’s mounted a final drive that reached the King 35 before it ended with an interception by Zach Mulhern.
“It has been a real swing of emotions,’’ Thomas Sr. said. “We have the same record as King, our strength of schedule is very good. We feel we deserve to be there. We’d love to be going there undefeated. But we’ll go and represent our school and New Canaan as well as we possibly can.”