September 14th, 2015 by wwcpresident

Wakefield, MA – For the Varsity, the defense gave up four big plays all of which led to touchdowns and the offense had difficulty finding room to run against a strong Beverly defense.  The Junior Varsity, on the other hand, started fast but could not hold off a Panther comeback.  While the effort was there for both clubs, mistakes and inconsistency outnumbered the positives.  The teams take on Abington next in another non-league tilt.  The Varsity plays at the Green Wave Friday September 18 at 7pm.  The JVs are at home Saturday morning at 10am.

First Quarter

Wakefield won the opening toss and elected to receive.  The warriors started their first drive on their own 23 yard line after an 18 yard kickoff return by senior Tighe Beck. The first offensive play of the 2015 season was an 8 yard keeper around left end by senior quarterback Ned Buckley.   The first pass reception of the season went to Beck who gained 13 yards.  Those plays bookended two runs for a total of 12 yards by senior running back Paul McGunigle.  The Warriors crossed midfield but the drive fizzled there as runs by McGunigle and senior fullback Zach Kane yielded a net zero yards and the Buckley – Beck combination just missed on 3rd down.  On 4th down, junior Pat Leary got off a great punt, Wakefield special teams covered well, and the ball was downed at the Beverly 5 yard line.  The Panthers took over for their first offensive possession of their season.  It did not last long.

Five straight running plays gained 10, 5, 7, 5, and 6 yards respectively, providing an early glimpse of the strength of the Beverly offensive line and the skill of their running backs.  On 1st and 10 at the Wakefield 38 yard line, senior running back Matt Madden took a shuttle pass and went around right end where the Beverly blockers outnumbered the Wakefield defenders.  Madden followed his blockers well, turned on the jets in the open field and sprinted 52 yards for the score.  Madden kicked the extra point and Beverly took the early lead 7 – 0.

Wakefield struggled initially on their next possession, taking false start and delay of game penalties to set up a 3rd and 17 at their own 26 yard line.  But Buckley found Beck on a sideline pattern for 36 yards which brought the crowd alive.  But two sacks on the next series by the Panther defense ended any further Warrior momentum.    On the first play of the second quarter, Wakefield punted.

Second Quarter

Beverly stayed with the running game which has been the program’s calling card for seemingly forever.  However, the Warrior defense stopped this drive’s first two runs to set up a 3rd and long for the Panthers but Madden, who played a very strong game, converted a run for a first down.  On the very next play, however, senior defensive lineman Logan Dunn chased down the ball carrier from behind to make the tackle and when the pile of bodies were untangled, the Warriors had forced a fumble and took possession on the 45 yard line of Beverly.  But mistakes hurt Wakefield again as a false start penalty started the drive and a fumbled exchange on a handoff two plays later ended the drive.

That turnover was not costly as the Wakefield defense forced a three and out blunting any momentum. The third down play was especially impressive as the defensive backfield blanketed the Panther receivers while the defensive line contained a scrambling quarterback Kevin Morency.  After the punt, though, the Beverly defense returned the favor, forcing the Warriors into its own three and out.

On the ensuing possession, the Panthers eked out one first down before another big play shook up the game.  Sitting on their own 40 yard line after a holding penalty negated a big run play, Beverly executed a double reverse halfback pass that moved the ball 45 yards to the Warrior 15 yard line as the receiver got behind the Warrior secondary to make the catch.  Three plays later senior running back Christian Miller walked in untouched for the second Beverly touchdown.  The PAT kick by Madden was good and the lead was extended to 14 – 0.

Wakefield took possession with 3:30 left in the half and for a moment looked like they might answer before the half.  Ned Buckley and Tighe Beck executed a textbook deep route that covered 33 yards, with the offensive line holding the pocket in place.  But two plays later, Hugh Calice, a Panther linebacker, dropped into coverage and intercepted Buckley at the Beverly 25 yard line.  Calice, who also plays tight end, showed his offensive abilities by returning the pick 75 yards up the sideline for Beverly’s third touchdown.  The PAT two point conversion failed but the Panthers were pitching a 20 – 0 shutout at the half.

Third Quarter

Beverly got the ball to start the second half and promptly moved to put the game away, using the big play once again to do so.  Six running plays after the kickoff moved the ball steadily to the Warrior 41 yard line.  Beverly junior back Sam Abate got the call next and knifed his way 41 yards to score the fourth Panther touchdown.  Jordan Rawding converted the PAT two point conversion on a run and Beverly had built a 28 – 0 lead.

The Warriors got the ball for the first time in the second half with 9:22 showing on the clock.  Wakefield then put together a 13 play drive for its only score.  The drive started with a 30 yard kickoff return by Beck which put the ball on the Warrior 40 yard line.  McGunigle ran for 4 yards, Buckley hit Beck on a seam pattern for 12 yards, and McGunigle kept finding small holes making 5 yards here and 3 yards there.  Then senior tight end Mike Moran made the key play of the drive, catching a 16 yard pass from Buckley on 4th and 7.  Moran went up between two defenders over the middle and maintained possession as he crashed to the turf.  Three plays later Wakefield had its first touchdown of the 2015 campaign.  Buckley got drilled attempting to pass but not before launching a 13 yard raindrop pass to Beck who made a nice grab, keeping both feet in bounds along the end zone sideline.    The two point conversion failed and the score now read 28 – 6.

Fourth Quarter

Beverly’s final touchdown was their only touchdown that came on a sustained drive.  The drive lasted a dozen plays with all but one a run.  The Panthers never faced a third down in this series.  Senior running back Peter Mulumba got most of the carries and scored from 3 yards out.  A muffed snap on the PAT kick resulted in an incomplete pass but Beverly had the game in hand at 34 – 6.

Varsity Notes: The postgame theme for Coach Cummings was the need for better discipline (e.g., penalties) and execution…..another factor may have been that many varsity players were getting their first meaningful minutes of their careers Friday night….the Warriors showed promise in spurts throughout the game before mistakes reared their head……Wakefield quarterbacks were sacked six times…..despite some mishandled catches, the Warriors showed promise in the return game….There was a good crowd at Landrigan Field on a beautiful night for football.  While Beverly travels well, the Wakefield student section was filled bottom to top…..

Varsity vs Beverly Game Photos are available here >>>


Wakefield JV starts fast but cannot hold off Beverly

The Wakefield JV football team opened its 2015 campaign in Beverly and got off to an exciting start opening up a two touchdown lead, but in the end the JV Warriors could not make the lead stand up as they ended up falling 22-21.

Wakefield received the opening kickoff, but quickly went 3 and out and were forced to punt.  A nice punt by Pat Leary pinned the Panthers inside their own 20 yard line.  After a short gain by Beverly, Ryan Fitzpatrick made the first big play of the game with an interception at the Panther 30 setting up Wakefield in scoring position for the first time and Wakefield did not waste the opportunity.  Will Shea ran for 13 yards on 3 carries and Pat Leary caught a pass from junior QB Kobey Nadeau for 5 yards moving the ball down to the Panther 12, where the Warriors faced a 3rd and 7 after an incomplete pass.  A nice bubble screen to Will Shea gained 10 yards and a first down setting Wakefield up on the Beverly 2 where Fitzpatrick took a jet sweep in for the first TD of the game.  The Warriors were unable to convert the 2 point conversion, a miss that would come back to haunt them later in the game and the score stood at 6-0.

Beverly tried to answer the Wakefield score with a long drive of its own as time winded down in the first quarter.   They took the ball from their 25 yard line deep into Wakefield territory, but the Warrior defense stiffened, as Dan Cataldo and PJ Iannuzzi made 3 excellent plays from their linebacker positions and stopped Beverly on 3 straight plays to force the ball back to the Warrior offense at the Warrior’s 15.

The Warriors then went on an 85 yard march highlighted by a nice pass from Nadeau to Leary for 30 plus yards and some tough running from Joe Marinaccio, who capped off the drive with a 28 yard TD scamper off the right side of the line.  On the conversion attempt, Nadeau kept the ball on a read-option and found the end zone giving Wakefield a 14-0 lead.

The Wakefield two touchdown lead was short lived however as it only took Beverly 2 plays to cover 52 yards and score its first touchdown cutting the Wakefield lead to 14-6, which was the score as the teams headed into halftime.

Beverly got the ball to start the 2nd half, but their possession only last three plays as Cole Gregson, who was around the football all day on defense, made a nice play and forced a Beverly punt setting up Wakefield in nice field position at its own 40.  The Warriors then went on a 60 yard march with contributions from a number of offensive players.  Marinaccio ran for 10.  Iannuzzi rushed for 10 on 2 tough runs.  Pat Leary continued his strong day with a nice 14 yard gain on a pass from Nadeau.  After a holding call put Wakefield in a 3rd and 20, Nadeau made the 3rd big play of the day finding Jack Shannon, who looks very comfortable as a pass catching TE in this offense, for 28 yards.  Alex Joly broke a few tackles on a 7 yard run down to the 2 yard line where Nadeau once again kept on a read-option for a TD.   Joly kicked the Warriors first extra point of the year for a 21-6 lead mid-way through the 3rd quarter.

Beverly, however, was not ready to concede the game to Wakefield as they took the next kickoff and ripped off four big runs in a row for their 2nd touchdown of the game.  The Panthers converted the 2 point conversion making the score 21-14.  Wakefield was unable to move the ball on their next possession and punted the ball back to Beverly setting up Beverly on its 20.  Beverly once again drove the ball down the field getting to the Warrior 15 yard line.  Despite back to back tackles for a loss by CJ Wixon and PJ Iannuzzi, Beverly managed to covert a 3rd and 15 to set up first and goal from the 2, where Beverly punched in for a TD and the 2 point conversion making the score 22-21 Beverly.

Wakefield had 2 more opportunities with the ball, but an interception and a fumble stopped the last 2 drives, ending the Warriors chances at a comeback.  Despite the setback, the JV squad should be encouraged by its ability to move the ball on the ground and through the air.  The Warriors get back at it next week against Abington at Landrigan Field at 10 am on Saturday.


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