Wakefield Varsity Wins 3rd Straight, Heads to MIAA Playoffs; JV Keeps Up the Beat

October 26th, 2014 by wwcpresident

Wakefield, MA – The senior class offensive skill position players played well in their last league game of the “MIAA short season”, while the Wakefield defense continued to realize their potential as the Warriors beat the Red Devils of Burlington 35-14 Friday night.  Chris Calnan, Brian Dickey, Luke Martin, and Anthony Cecere all played key roles on the offensive side of the ball while Brian Conroy took his turn leading a resurgent Wakefield defense.  For the Junior Varsity, Quarterback Ned Buckley passed for one touchdown and ran for another and the defense allowed only three first downs as the JVs beat Burlington 14-0.     

VARSITY

First Quarter

The game got off to a sluggish start as neither team could establish anything offensively in the early going.  The first four drives of the game ended in punts without a first down to be had by either team.  In fact, Wakefield’s most impressive offensive play over the first six minutes of the game came on special teams, as senior Dylan Brady returned the opening kickoff 14 yards.   Meanwhile, the Warrior defense was tough from the get go, holding Burlington to zero net total yards on their first two drives.

Wakefield’s punt return team provided the game’s first spark of excitement with about four and a half minutes left in the first quarter.  After senior Jake Cataldo, senior Brian Dickey, and junior Logan Dunn took turns frustrating the Red Devils on successive plays during Burlington’s second series, the punt return unit electrified the home crowd with a well-designed play that gave Wakefield a first down and goal-to-go on the Red Devil 9 yard line.

The play started with senior punt returner Chris Calnan fielding the punt at his 45 yard line, at the hash mark closest to the Stoneham sideline.  Calnan then immediately sprinted east-west across the field towards the Wakefield sideline.  There he joined up with a wall of blockers that had formed an alley between the Wakefield sideline and the Red Raider defense allowing Calnan to sprint 36 yards north-south before being pushed out of bounds.  That wall of blockers included Will Bergendahl, Ryan Burns, Jake Cataldo, Evan Gourville, Zach Kane, Luke Martin, Alex McKenna, Mike Moran, Chris Riley, and Andrew Wallace.

Senior co-captain Luke Martin then started and finished a one play drive by scooting 9 yards off the left side to the end zone pylon.  The PAT kick by junior Paul McGunigle was good and the Warriors led 7-0.

Burlington, however, was quick to answer going 67 yards in 10 plays on their next possession to tie the score.  The drive took about five minutes covering the end of the first quarter and the very beginning of the second quarter.

Second Quarter

Key plays for the Red Devils included pass completions of 15 yards (on third-and-four) and 12 yards (on second-and-eight) from sophomore quarterback Dylan Bonfilio to junior wide receiver Jonathan Orchanian and junior wide receiver George Balian respectively.  Then Bonfilio found junior halfback Chenet Guerrier on a short swing pass coming out of the backfield and Guerrier shed a couple of Warrior tacklers on his way to a 20 yard touchdown that knotted the score at 7-7.

Wakefield then did Burlington one better taking six and a half minutes and thirteen plays to retake the lead.  Starting at their own 23 yard line, Wakefield was initially stymied, facing a third-and-eight call on the first set of downs.  Here senior quarterback Anthony Cecere was given all night in the pocket by his offensive line to find a receiver coming open.  And that is what senior tight end Dylan Brady was able to do, snagging a 10 yard pass across the middle for the initial first down.  On the next play, senior running back Luke Martin found some daylight in the middle and picked up 11 yards.  After another tough one yard gain by Martin, Cecere sent everyone left while he bootlegged and rolled right firing a pass to an uncovered junior fullback Zach Kane who rambled 16 yards into Burlington territory before being stopped at the Red Raider 37 yard line.

Here the drive temporarily stalled.  A pause-and-go route to the end zone where receiver Chris Calnan had blown past the coverage just missed connecting and two runs turned up just two yards.  On fourth-and-eight, Cecere dropped back to pass, found no one open and scrambled 14 yards to keep the drive alive.  Calnan then ran the jet sweep coming across the formation from his receiver position, taking the handoff from Cecere 14 yards to the Burlington 7 yard line.  Then on third-and-goal from the 6 yard line senior receiver Brian Dickey made a great touchdown catch of a bullet thrown slightly behind him as he ran a crossing route along the back of the end zone.  His catch and a second PAT by McGunigle made the score 14-7.

Burlington made one big play on its next drive, a 16 yard run to get the ball to near midfield, before the Warrior defense rose up and shut the drive down.  Good defensive plays by senior lineman Eric Schilling and junior defensive back Tighe Beck were key.

Chris Calnan returned the ensuing punt 17 yards to set up Wakefield on its on 37 yard line with 1:39 left in the first half.  The Warriors then converted two big plays to find the end zone.  The first was a 19 yard pass completion from Anthony Cecere to Brian Dickey, working the middle of the field.  The second was another well designed, well-executed play that resulted in a 35 yard touchdown reception by Luke Martin.  Lined up “Trips Left” with three receivers to the left of the quarterback, Martin ran a quiet wheel route out of the backfield to the right where Cecere threw a perfect ball on the move and Martin did the rest, finding the end zone for his second score of the game.  A fake kick try for the two point conversion failed but Wakefield went to the locker room at halftime ahead 20-7.

Third Quarter

Burlington received the second half kickoff needing a score to get back in the game.  Instead they struggled.  A bad snap on the first play of the half resulted in a loss of 10 yards.  Two runs, a 14 yard keeper by quarterback Bonfilio and a 7 yard run by halfback Guerrier (stopped by junior linebacker Mike Moran on a nice tackle), overcame that miscue but a second bad snap, a penalty, and a hard tackle by senior lineman Alex Kane forced the Red Devils to surrender the ball.  And that proved decisive.

Starting at their own 38 yard line, the Wakefield offense went to work.  Junior Receiver Tighe Beck made an all-hands reception in traffic to gain 20 yards, Martin then gained 7 yards on a run, Calnan ran another jet sweep for 16 yards, and then Anthony Cecere closed out the four (big) play drive by faking handoffs to players crossing the formation, then tucking the ball under his arm and running the final 19 yards himself.  The conversion pass from Cecere to Martin was good and the Warriors had a 28-7 lead with four-and-a-half minutes to play in the third quarter.

On the next Burlington series, a penalty and a sack by senior lineman Brian Conroy put the Red Devils into a passing situation.  On third-and-fourteen Bonfilio was intercepted by Luke Martin who then returned the ball 57 yards for an apparent touchdown.  However, Wakefield was called for holding on the return nullifying the touchdown but the Warriors took possession at the Burlington 24 yard line looking for more.

Fourth Quarter

With such good field position it did not take long for Wakefield to ice the game.  The offensive force on this series was senior Pat Casaletto who executed two jet sweeps to gain 19 yards combined before Cecere and Martin again connected, this time on a short screen, for Wakefield’s fifth and final touchdown.  Chris Saponaro’s kick was good and the Warriors had an insurmountable 35-7 lead with ten minutes left to play.

Burlington did close the gap to 35-14 with 7:44 left on a 30 yard play where the Burlington back broke several tackles early in his run before finding the end zone.  The second team offense and defense saw minutes the rest of the way as the clock wound down on Wakefield’s third consecutive win.

Notes: Senior lineman Brian Conroy had a strong game for the Warriors, making several tackles, recording a sack, and making two key plays on the game’s final series to keep Burlington out of the end zone when they had goal-to-go in the final minute…Anthony Cecere’s legs are now complementing his arm as he seems to be showing increased confidence in his running abilities on both scrambles and designed plays….Good to see junior Paul McGunigle on the field again, even if in a limited role, after missing games with an injury….The passing game effectively exploited the middle of the Burlington defense several times….Though credit must go to the Red Raider interior defensive line which played Wakefield back Luke Martin well….With the game time temperature the chilliest of the year, the home crowd appeared to be the smallest of the year…Though the student section seemed to be the most rambunctious of the year….The chain gang is only as strong as its weakest link so it was good to see they were able to overcome the absence of Bo Martin and Marty Kane, two stalwart veterans.  Substitutes Tom Floandahl and Matt Yardumian were able to work out the kinks successfully.

Varsity vs Burlington Game Photos are available here >>>

 

JUNIOR VARSITY

JVs Beat Burlington 14-0; Fifth Straight Win Raises Record to 5-2

In a game that was not as close as the score might indicate, the Wakefield JVs beat their counterparts from Burlington on a beautiful morning for football.  The win did not appear to satisfy the team as there remain areas to improve upon as the season continues.

First Quarter

Burlington could generate nothing on their first offensive possession as they lost 18 yards on three plays.  Sophomore Alex McKenna and junior Evan Gourville led the strong defensive effort.

Wakefield took possession at midfield and came out in the wildcat formation.  Wide receiver Alex McKenna lined up at quarterback and Quarterback Ned Buckley lined up in the slot as a receiver.  McKenna took the snap and handed off to wide receiver Kevin Russo running the jet sweep right to left.  Russo then tossed the ball to Buckley who was running a jet sweep left to right.  Buckley then set himself and launched a bomb to wide receiver Eric Smith who was wide open downfield.  The play covered 50 yards and put the Warriors on the board on their very first touch.  The two point conversion was good as the offensive line gave Buckley plenty of time to search out wide receiver Nick Elcewicz running free across the middle of the end zone.  Wakefield was up 8-0.

Burlington’s next possession was nothing if not entertaining.  Lineman Joe Connell stuffed the run on first down and on second down sophomore PJ Iannuzzi defended the pass well resulting in a near interception.  On the very next play Wakefield did intercept the ball, sophomore Pat Leary doing the honors.  Unfortunately, the ball was fumbled after Wakefield secured possession and Burlington retained the ball on the Wakefield 33 yard line.  Burlington could do nothing however as sophomore Joe Marinaccio and junior Nick Elcewicz led the defense on this stand.

On Wakefield’s next possession, the run game could not get untracked as sophomore Will Shea was bottled up on consecutive runs.  Wakefield, showing great confidence in its defense, chose to go for it on fourth-and-seven from its own 36 yard line.  A run play failed and Burlington took over on downs, in great field position.

Wakefield’s defense, however, showed why the coaching staff made its unusual decision.  A Red Raider running play yielded just 2 yards; on second down, the Warriors put all 11 defenders in the box allowing junior safety Ned Buckley to burst through the outmanned Burlington offensive line to drop Red Raider QB Tim Kelly for a sack.  On the next play, Kelly was flushed out of the pocket by the defensive line rush and lost a yard.  The quarter and the Burlington drive ended with an unsuccessful halfback option pass.

Second Quarter

Wakefield’s drive began on its own 41 yard line where the Buckley to Moran bubble screen yielded nothing, seemingly for the first time all year.  Then Buckley and Russo just missed connecting on a deep sideline ball out of an empty set backfield.  Then Buckley found Alex McKenna (or was it Kevin Russo) on a 33 yard pass completion down the middle.  Both receivers were in the area, both receivers seemed to touch the ball in flight, but it was McKenna who ended up making the catch that counted.  However, a fumble on the quarterback/running back exchange ended the drive one play later.

The Warrior defense did not allow a first down on the next Burlington possession and the offense took over on its own 38 yard line.  Ned Buckley then feathered a pass over the linebacker into the waiting hands of Nick Elcewicz coming across the middle who then loped his way down the field to the Burlington 17 yard line for a 45 yard completion.  Buckley ran a keeper for 6 yards on the next play, Kevin Russo ran a jet sweep for 10 yards to give Wakefield first-and-goal from the 1 yard line.  Buckley then did the Tom Brady quarterback sneak behind a strong push from his offensive line and the Warriors had their second touchdown.  The PAT run failed when the referee ruled Buckley out of bounds before he hit the far pylon.

The half ended with the Warrior defense once again shutting down the Red Raider offense.  Burlington had the ball five times in the first half and the Warrior defense did not surrender a first down.  The only Red Raider first down occurred after the interception/fumble play in the first quarter.

Third Quarter

Wakefield wasted a good kickoff return by Alex McKenna who took the kick at his own 30 yard line, ran up the Wakefield sideline, patiently waited for his opportunity to cut across the field and might have gone all the way except for an excellent backside tackle by a Burlington defender.  Set up at the Burlington 30 yard line, the offense was unable to move the ball and surrendered it on downs.

Burlington got its first first down on the game on the next series but nothing else.  But the Wakefield could not move the ball either on its possession as the quarter ended.

Fourth Quarter

Burlington chose to run the ball on its first possession of this quarter.  It got a first down but nothing more yet again as linebacker Evan Gourville continued his game long habit of creating havoc for the Red Raider offense.  Wakefield did score on its next possession (a Nadeau to Pat Leary connection) but the play was wiped out by dual penalties against the Warriors.  The game ended with Burlington struggling to cross midfield.

JV vs Burlington Game Photos are available here >>>

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