Varsity Comeback Falls Short at Melrose; JV Earns First Win With Solid Effort

September 27th, 2014 by wwcpresident

Melrose, MA – The Wakefield Warrior offense struggled for much of its game with traditional rival Melrose Friday night. But as the clock ticked down in the fourth quarter, the team rode another weapon in its arsenal, the long pass, to mount a comeback that fell two points short, dropping a 17-15 decision at Melrose. Meanwhile Saturday morning the Junior Varsity gained its first win of the year, using a strong second half effort to secure a 22-12 decision.

First Quarter
Both teams struggled to find their legs initially as each team went three-and-out on their initial possessions. The Warriors second drive gained some traction between runs of 8 and 13 yards by senior co-captain Luke Martin (wearing #29 instead of his usual #28) and a 15 yard facemask penalty against Melrose. But the drive stalled at the Melrose 20 yard line when Wakefield came up short on a fourth-and-two and Melrose took over on downs.

Melrose then hit the first big play of the night, scoring on a 78 yard catch and run pass play. Facing third-and-eight from their own 22 yard line, quarterback Jake Karelas threaded tight spiral into a small window and found a well-covered Mike Pedrini at the Melrose 45 yard line. Pedrini made a tough catch with the Wakefield defender draped all over him, shook the tackle, and raced 55 more yards for the score. Michael Cusolito kicked the extra point and the Red Raiders had a 7-0 lead with two minutes to play in the first quarter. Wakefield’s next possession ended in a punt.

Second Quarter
There were only three possessions in the second quarter and the first two ended with punts by Melrose and Wakefield respectively.

Melrose used their last drive of the first half to extend their lead to ten points though it could have been worse. The Red Raiders found some holes in the Warrior defense on this drive, surrendering four plays of 9 or more yards as Melrose moved to the Wakefield 6 yard line with less than a minute left in the half. An apparent Melrose touchdown (a 5 yard run by Pedrini wide right) was nullified by a holding penalty. Melrose had to settle for 10 yard field goal instead.

On the ensuing kickoff — which was the last play of the first half — Luke Martin took the ball at his own 15 yard line, broke through contain as he approached midfield, and almost outraced the remaining Melrose defenders before being tackled at the Melrose 20 yard line as time expired. Wakefield went to the locker room scoreless for the first time this season, trailing 10-0. The Wakefield offense mustered approximately 75 yards over the first 22 minutes. For Warrior fans this was a far cry from games against Lexington and Lynn English where Wakefield moved the ball consistently well relying almost exclusively on an effective running game.

Third Quarter
The Wakefield defense held Melrose on their first two drives of the second half while the Warrior offense opened up its passing playbook during the quarter. On the Warrior’s first drive, senior quarterback Anthony Cecere dropped back to pass more times than he did the entire Lynn English game. Those five dropbacks resulted in one completion, two scrambles for positive yardage, and two deep balls (to junior receiver Tighe Beck and senior receiver Brian Dickey) that could not be converted.

Wakefield’s second drive of the half did not end well as the Red Raiders intercepted Cecere at the Wakefield 40 yard line. A six yard run coupled with a facemask penalty on the same play advanced the ball to the Wakefield 22. On third-and-six from the 18 yard line, Red Raiders receiver Colby Andrews ran a Julian Edelman-like sideline out route to gain 7 yards and a Melrose first down. One play later quarterback Karelas scored on a 9 yard keeper, reading his blockers well as he cut from the left edge to the middle of the field to go in untouched. The PAT kick was good and Melrose led 17-0.

Fourth Quarter
Wakefield’s offense came to life inside the six minute mark of the fourth quarter. Anthony Cecere completed three consecutive passes covering 74 yards to gain Wakefield its first score. First it was Brian Dickey snagging a 12 yard pass on third-and-ten from Wakefield’s own 26 yard line. Then it was senior tight end Dylan Brady taking a pass and turning it into a monstrous 37 yard completion. Finally, Cecere found senior end Chris Calnan down the sideline for a 25 yard scoring play. After catching the ball, inside the 10 yard line, Calnan deked the Melrose defender to gain the end zone. Cecere and Calnan combined for a successful 2 point conversion, a nice touch pass over the Red Raider defender to the back corner of the end zone and the score was Melrose 17 Wakefield 8 with 4:28 to play.

Melrose was able to gain a first down on its next drive but then Wakefield’s defense stiffened. A great run blitz on second down and a strong quarterback pressure on third down forced a punt with the Warriors taking possession at the two minute mark.

Needing a big play in a big hurry, Wakefield got two of them. QB Cecere uncorked a 48 yard bomb to Martin who made an outstanding catch moving the ball from the Wakefield 20 yard line to the Melrose 32. Then facing fourth-and-four, Cecere found Martin again for 25 yards bringing the ball to the 1 yard line. Senior fullback Joe DiFazio punched it in and senior Chris Sapanaro converted the kick and it was 17-15 Melrose with 45.9 seconds left. The onside kick attempt was unsuccessful and Melrose used the victory formation to run out the clock.

Notes: A good sized crowd turned out for the game taking advantage of the good weather and warm game time temperatures….Junior running back/linebacker Paul McGunigle suffered broken, not bruised, ribs last week and is out indefinitely…Chris Calnan hauled in a 34 yard completion that was mostly YAC (yards after catch) dashing east-west before turning north-south… Anthony Cecere completed five passes of 25 yards or greater….Sophomore Carmen Sorrentino had a nifty 20 yard kick return for the Warriors…Defensive players who had their name called for making the tackle on multiple occasions included seniors Jack Brown and Jake Cataldo, and juniors Tighe Beck and Mike Moran… however Wakefield was assessed three personal foul penalties…for the first time this season Wakefield gained more yards through the air than on the ground….Melrose running back #5 Mike Pedrini is a sophomore…a moment of silence was observed for Winchester senior football player Patrick Gill who was killed in that tragic one car accident last week.

Varsity vs Melrose Game Photos are available here >>>

 

JUNIOR VARSITY

Wakefield JV entered today’s contest against arch-rival Melrose looking for its first victory of the year after dropping two close contests to Lexington and Lynn English. After a tight hard fought first half, Wakefield JV went to the locker room with an 8-6 lead, but it was the second half where Wakefield finally found some rhythm on offense and forced timely turnovers on defense to leave no doubt who was the better team and finish with a well earned 22-12 victory.

The first quarter did not start well for the Warriors. After taking the initial kickoff and getting two quick first downs thanks to two nice passes and a run by QB Ned Buckley, the Warriors offense went backwards due to 2 penalties and a sack, and ultimately turned the ball over to Melrose on interception. Melrose then took the ball and drove to the Wakefield 32 yard line before the Wakefield defense stiffened. Inside LB’s PJ Iannuzzi and Evan Gourville made good stops on run plays and on 4th and 10 Ned Buckley blitzed and sacked the Melrose QB forcing a fumble and setting up Wakefield at its 35 yard line. From there, Wakefield would march 65 yard on a time consuming 15 play drive highlighted by the running of Alex Jancy who punched it for the games first TD from the Melrose one yard line. Buckley then found Eric Smith in the corner of the End Zone with a beautiful pass on the 2 point conversion try to make it 8-0 midway through the second quarter.

Melrose answered Wakefield on its next drive with a 5 play 60 yard drive capped with a 34 yard TD pass making the score 8-6. Evan Gourville stepped up on the 2 point conversion and made strong tackle to keep the score at 8-6, which was the score as both teams headed into the locker room.

The second half started with Melrose receiving the kickoff, but their possession lasted only 3 plays as DB Kevin Russo made a spectacular one handed interception and returned the ball to the Melrose 40 yard line. After a nice 10 yard run by RB Carmen Sorrentino, Wakefield resorted to some trickery, as QB Kobey Nadeau lined up at running back behind Buckley and took a pitch on what appeared to be a sweep. Nadeau however pulled-up after a couple of steps and threw a perfect strike to WR Alex McKenna for a 30 yard TD and a 14-6 lead. Wakefield extended it to 16-6 as a patient Buckley found WR Matt Smith for the a successful 2 point conversion.

The ensuing kickoff to Melrose turned out perfectly for the Warriors as Melrose coughed up the ball and Pat Leary jumped on it, setting up Wakefield at the Melrose 42 yard line. From there RB Zack Kane proceeded to go 38 yards on the next 3 carries, including a highlight reel run of 32 yards where Kane broke 6 tackles on his way to the Melrose 10. The drive stalled however and Wakefield could not punch it in from the Melrose 5. Melrose took over at its own 5 yard line and quickly went three and out with defense forcing a punt. Alex McKenna fielded the punt and out ran the Melrose coverage for a nice 30 yard return to the Melrose 10. RB Will Shea got the ball to the Melrose 2 yard line on back to back 4 yard runs, and after a personal foul penalty on Melrose, Kane plunged in from the 1 yard line making the score 22-6. Wakefield was unable to covert on the 2 point conversion, but at the end of the 3rd held a comfortable 22-6 lead.

The fourth quarter started the way the third quarter had with an interception of a Melrose pass. Pat Leary picked off the errant throw by the Melrose QB stopping a Melrose drive at the Wakefield 20. Wakefield picked up a first down on a couple of runs by Zach Conlon and a nice pass from Kobey Nadeau to Joe Marinaccio. The drive stalled after that and Melrose took over at the Wakefield 36. Melrose took the ball and quickly scored a TD on 2 pass plays, but Wakefield’s defense swarmed to the ball on the 2 point conversion attempt and stopped it for no gain. That left the score 22-12 and with time winding down in the forth quarter. Melrose last hope was an onside kick attempt but Eric Smith fielded the kick cleanly and Wakefield took over at the 50. Wakefield was able to run out the clock from there picking up 2 first downs on catches by McKenna and Eric Smith.

Overall, it was an excellent effort by the entire Wakefield JV team. Both the offense and defensive lines controlled the line of scrimmage and the the skill position players made big plays when needed. A solid win against their arch-rival should give the JV good momentum heading into the rest of the season.

JV vs Melrose Game Photos available here >>>

 

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