The Following Was Written By Jim Southmayd and Published In The Wakefield Daily Item
WAKEFIELD — If anyone watching the Wakefield High football team this season had a feeling of deja vu, there is probably a good reason for it.
The 2010 season mirrored much of what the Warriors experienced in 2009 as the team got off to a slow start but finished the year strong.
In ’10, Wakefield started off with a 1-4 record then rung off five straight victories to close the year with a 6-4 overall. Again, the Warriors won the Middlesex League Small School championship with a 4-0 record.
There were a couple of differences, however, in the ’09 and ’10 season. In 2009, Wakefield suffered a rash of injuries and was 1-5 when it won five straight to finish 6-5. In ’10, Wakefield had a bye the first week and went 1-4 as it was relatively healthy but struggled on the offensive side of the football. It took time for the Warrior offense to come together.
Headed into the Stoneham game both years, Wakefield found the winless Spartans to be the panacea it needed as it rolled to one-sided wins both years. This year it was a 34-0 shutout which ignited Wakefield’s late season surge once again.
Wakefield then beat Belmont, 26-6, before taking down Burlington in a close 37-29 contest which earned head coach Mike Boyages his 100th career victory. The Warriors then closed out the season with a one-sided win over Watertown and a 15-7 triumph over archrival Melrose on Thanksgiving Day.
“This year was very similar to last year,” said Boyages. “We were struggling early in the season. I think if we played like we did later in the season the games against Lexington and Woburn are games we could’ve won. We had a tough opener playing Lynn Classical in our first game.”
The Warriors were also no match for M.L. Large School and overall champion Reading as they lost, 42-0. Of course, no other M.L. team was a match against the Rockets.
Wakefield’s lone win in the first half was against Winchester as the Warriors prevailed, 10-3, in a turnover-filled affair.
“In the second half, we played much better,” said Boyages. “Like last year, I have to give the kids credit for not giving up because we were struggling at the midseason. The coaching staff and the kids kept working hard.”
The Warriors earned a pair of road victories over Stoneham and Belmont as they got their offense untracked. But it was the Burlington victory which Boyages feels was Wakefield’s biggest. Not only did it earn the coach a personal milestone in wins but it put Wakefield in the driver’s set in the hunt for its second straight M.L. Small School crown.
What helped Wakefield turn around its season was the play of its offense in the second half of the season.
Senior running back Vinny DeSciscio had a good second half running the football. DeSciscio gained 966 yards on 164 carries and scored 13 touchdowns on the season.
Josh Puccio, a junior running back, also had a strong season. But he sacrificed much of the glory to DeSciscio as he moved to fullback and helped block for the senior more. Still, Puccio gained 720 yards on 99 carries and scored six touchdowns. He also scored three two point conversions.
Naturally both backs were helped greatly by the offensive line led by All-Scholastic tight end Anthony Fabiano and linemen Brandon Johnson and Charnjit Singh.
What probably helped Wakefield’s offense the most was the stability at quarterback provided by junior signal caller Jamie Bourque. Bourque earned his first start in the Woburn game, Wakefield’s fifth game of the year. Bourque remained the starter the rest of the year as he completed 15 of 45 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
Up until that point, Boyages kept rotating quarterbacks until he settled on Bourque. While Wakefield was primarily a running team, Bourque did help give Wakefield the threat of a passing game which it didn’t really have early in the season.
“We started different quarterbacks and really didn’t settle on one until Jamie Bourque took over,” said Boyages. “He did some nice things out there and did a nice job for us. I do have to give Connor O’Brien credit for being the quarterback when we ran our double-tight end formation. We usually did that to gain momentum.”
When O’Brien wasn’t lining up under center, he played wide receiver and caught two touchdown passes. He also played at defensive back and had 19 tackles. O’Brien also handled all the kicking duties as well.
Kendall Hamilton, a sophomore, also played a little bit at QB early in the season. He made his mark primarily on defense and made a shoestring, game-saving tackle in Wakefield’s win over Winchester.
“Kendall did a hell of a job in the Winchester game,” said Boyages. “A loss in that one would’ve been tough to swallow.”
When the play of the Warrior offense picked up is when Wakefield started winning ballgames. But the defense was pretty good throughout the year and really thrived once it had some support from the offense. Leading the way in tackles was senior Greg Hampton-Boyd who had 41 stops.
“Bourque played well at quarterback and was able to throw the ball effectively,” said Boyages. “Josh Puccio is an underclass player who sacrificed some carries to block for Vinny. Vinny also came on in the second half and the line did a great job. The defense was certainly better when it wasn’t on the field so much.”
The Warriors lose DeSciscio to graduation but Puccio will be back along with Bourque on the offense which is a good start. Wakefield does lose the big men up front and there will be some big losses on the defensive side of the ball. But the JV team had a terrific season and the freshman team went undefeated.
“The JV and freshman teams had great seasons, that helps,” said Boyages. “The future is bright.”