Warriors Drop Opener vs Lexington in Overtime; JV Also Goes Down

September 14th, 2014 by wwcpresident

Wakefield, MA – (The following summary account is from real time recorded notes taken along the sideline and in the stands during the varsity game Friday night and the JV game Saturday morning, respectively.  The correspondent apologizes in advance for any errors or omissions.  Please be sure to read the Daily Item Monday for a more comprehensive story about the varsity game.)

It started out as a perfect night for football Friday evening as the 2014 edition of the Wakefield Memorial High School football team took to Landrigan Field for its season opener to play the Lexington Minutemen.  The ending was less than perfect, however, as the Warriors lost an exciting offensive game 35-27 in overtime.

Though the game ended in a defeat, there were several highlights.  Offensively, they included an excellent first half running attack powered by a rotating offensive line comprised of seniors Pat Boyson, Jake Cataldo, Brian Conroy, Joe DiFazio, Ben Joly, Alex Kane, Eric Shilling, and juniors Logan Dunn, Mike Hakioglu, and Matt Mercurio; hard running, a lot of which was between the tackles, by Jack Brown, DiFazio, Luke Martin, and Paul McGunigle; efficient run game management by quarterback Anthony Cecere; and a couple of key receptions by tight end Dylan Brady.

Defensively, many Warriors on the field were taking their first significant snaps of their varsity career at their positions.  Couple that with an opposition offense that last year hung more than 40 points on state champion Central Catholic and an outstanding talent in junior QB Jeff Costello, who may be the best quarterback the defense faces this season.  Nevertheless, senior defensive back Brian Dickey and linebacker Dylan Brady played well for the Red and White.

But perhaps the biggest highlight of the night was a fourth quarter drive that tested the physical and mental fortitude of the team.

First Quarter

The first quarter of the first game of the season had something for just about everyone – a hard-nosed smash mouth running attack, a trick play, and a mini-controversy.  Lexington executed a successful onside kick to start the game; however, it did not travel the required ten yards to make it a free ball.  But the Minutemen coaching staff argued the ball touched a Wakefield player and the officiating crew had to huddle for a couple of minutes to sort things out.  The referee awarded the ball to Wakefield about mid-field to start the game and their season.

What ensued over the next 11 minutes was old-time football featuring the Warrior offensive line.  Senior Co-Captain Luke Martin gained 25 yards on a series of runs and junior Paul McGunigle finished the drive by taking a hand-off, going left initially and then cutting back right into open space and going 25 yards untouched for a touchdown.  The kick was good and Wakefield led 7-0 with 8:41 to play in the first quarter.

But almost before Warrior fans had stopped cheering, the Minutemen tied the game.  On their first play from their own 31 yard line, QB Costello pitched the ball to his running back who then threw it back to Costello. With the defense sucked in for an apparent running play, Costello showed a strong arm, finding a wide open receiver downfield for a 69 yard touchdown pass.  With a successful kick the game was tied 7-7.

Wakefield was unfazed.  On the next series, following a 20 yard kickoff return by junior Alex Janscy, the Warrior running game picked up where it left off.  The backfield of Martin, McGunigle, and senior Jack Brown, spelled occasionally by senior Co-Captain Joe DiFazio, reeled off about 10 straight running plays going from the Wakefield 47 down to the Lexington 6 yard line where Martin bulled in for the second Wakefield touchdown.  The extra point was good and with just less than 3 minutes left in the first quarter the Warriors led 14-7.

Wakefield held Lexington on their ensuing possession with the key play a tackle by linebacker Dylan Brady for a loss of three yards on a second down and two at the Wakefield 45.  Two incomplete passes later the Warriors took over on downs.

Second Quarter

Wakefield’s third possession ended with Wakefield’s third touchdown of the game.  On a drive that spanned the 1st and 2nd quarters, QB Anthony Cecere continued his flawless management of the game directing nine straight running plays covering 55 yards.  The key play was a brilliant run by Co-Captain Luke Martin, who showed both speed and power by taking the ball from the 32 to inside the 5 yard line on a 3rd and 12 play.  Martin scored the eventual touchdown with McGunigle converting his 3rd straight PAT.  With 6:30 to go in the first half, the Warriors led 21-7.

Three minutes later, however, Lexington was in the end zone as well.  Taking the ball around midfield the Minutemen utilized both the run game and the passing game to score their second touchdown on a 1 yard pass making it 21-14 with under 4 minutes to play in the half.  Wakefield threatened once more before halftime when Anthony Cecere connected with Alex Janscy on a deep route along the Wakefield sideline for a 20+ yard gain.  However, Wakefield was called for a penalty and the drive ended with the Warriors taking a 21-14 to the locker room.

Halftime

It was also opening night for the Wakefield Marching Band which played tunes from the Disney movie Frozen at halftime much to the delight of Warrior Club supporters including Fred Brown and John Gourville.  It was also opening night for the Concession Stand.  For the next home game, Head Concession Coach Brenda Boyden will be installing a new “spread offense” to eliminate the “I” formation or long line that formed at halftime.  Tables shaped in a “U” pattern will be set up in front of the concession window to allow better and faster service of our patrons.  However, freshmen and sophomore parent volunteers are needed to run this play.  The next home game is October 10.  Contact this web page to volunteer.  If not you, who?

Third Quarter

The second half proved more difficult for Wakefield.  Lexington took the opening kickoff and went 50 yards in 1:40 to score.  The drive featured three plays of more than 10 yards each, the last one a 14 yard pitch to the Lexington sideline where the running back went in for the score untouched.  The PAT was pulled right however and Wakefield still led 21-20.

Wakefield’s next drive stalled and Lexington came back looking for a knockout punch.  On the second play of the possession, with the ball at the Wakefield 45 yard line, Costello threw a bomb downfield.  Defensive back Brian Dickey, tracking both the receiver and the ball in textbook style, intercepted the pass at the Wakefield 8 yard line, ending the threat.

Now operating deep in their own territory, the Wakefield offense stalled again and the ensuing punt gave Lexington possession at the Wakefield 42.  Three plays and a penalty later, the Minutemen found the end zone.  The PAT kick was good and at about the 2:00 minute mark of the third quarter Lexington took the lead for the first time at 27-21.

Fourth Quarter/Overtime

It is at this moment that the Warriors made a statement that could be telling in the weeks to come.  Down six points, the momentum clearly shifted to the other team, coming off two straight unsuccessful possessions, and the end zone 70 yards away, the Warrior offense took the field with 1:45 left in the 3rd quarter, snapped on their chinstraps, and put together a 14 play drive, taking almost 7 minutes off the clock, to tie the game at 27-27.

The drive had several key plays.  Jack Brown made a great juggling catch for a 14 yard gain on the drive’s first play.  Brown caught the ball after the Lexington defender had tipped it.  Anthony Cecere made another big pass connecting with Dylan Brady for eight yards on a 3rd and 7 play to gain a first down.  Wakefield then converted a 4th and 2 for another first down on the ground.  Sitting now at the Lexington 30 yard line, the Warriors returned to their first half run magic with the offensive line opening up holes to support gains large and small on six consecutive run plays.  The tying touchdown came on a run by Paul McGunigle who took a handoff at the 2 yard line, bounced off his blockers on the left side, took the ball to the outside, and didn’t stop running until he hit the chain link fence at the end of the playing surface.  Lexington blocked the PAT.

Lexington now had the ball with six minutes to go in the game.  Their drive started at the Lexington 32 but died out at the Wakefield 30.  A Lexington penalty and stiff defense on the last three plays of the drive turned the ball over to Wakefield.  The Warriors then faced a similar stout defensive effort and were forced to punt with 1:16 left in the game.  Lexington gained one first down before the Wakefield defense again rose up in the clutch intercepting a pass to end the last Minutemen threat in regulation.

In overtime each team takes equal turns from the 10 yard line with four downs to score a touchdown or field goal until there is a winner.  Lexington got the ball first in overtime and used three running plays to score.  The two-point conversion was also good.  Wakefield’s turn was next.  A penalty, a short run and a sack left Wakefield with a 3rd and 24 at the 24 yard line.  Once again the Cecere to Brady came into play with a middle screen gaining 18 yards.  On this day, however, the other guy made the last play of the day as Wakefield’s 4th down pass was intercepted at the goal line.

Lexington Game Photos available here >>>

 

JUNIOR VARSITY

The Junior Varsity travelled to Lexington Saturday morning and lost a 6-0 contest.  Lexington’s only score of the game came in the first half.  The Lexington QB threaded the needle on a 20 yard pass play splitting the two Wakefield defenders in coverage.  The two point conversion was unsuccessful.

Wakefield tried to answer after taking possession late in the first half.  Mixing the run and pass the Warriors got down inside the Minutemen 5 with less than a minute to play but with no timeouts left.  Time ran out in the half before Wakefield could execute a 4th and goal from the 1 yard line.

In the second half, the Warriors could not break through offensively.  But the defense stymied a couple of Lexington scoring attempts to keep it a one score game throughout.  First Lexington had a goal to go situation in which the line held its ground on several plays.  Finally on 4th down and goal from the 1 yard line the line held again allowing junior safety Ned Buckley to tackle the Lexington ball carrier short of the end zone.  On a subsequent possession, Buckley intercepted the Lexington QB throwing into coverage at about the Wakefield 20 yard line.

While Wakefield could not put points on the board, sophomore QB Kobey Nadeau completed several fine passes, several to sophomore wide receiver Alex McKenna.  Will Shea and Alex Janscy led the running attack which was able to move the ball at times against the Lexington defense.

JV vs Lexington Game Photos available here >>>

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