WARRIOR VARSITY FALLS AGAIN; JVs LOSE IN Overtime

October 8th, 2015 by wwcpresident

Wilmington, MA – It was déjà vu all over again for the Wakefield Warriors at Wilmington High School last Friday night.  A turnover on their first drive, a slow first half, a halftime deficit, a stronger second half, but overall too much inconsistency and too many mistakes.  Wakefield dropped its second straight Middlesex League tilt and fourth of the season by a score of 13-6.  One difference in this game was an unfortunate call by the officiating crew late in the 4th quarter that did not cost Wakefield the game but certainly ended any comeback chance.  Meanwhile the Junior Varsity went down in overtime 20-14.

Next game is at Stoneham October 9.  Please note the 6:30pm start time. 

First Quarter

Wilmington won the coin toss and elected to receive the second half kickoff.  Wakefield’s first possession was short-lived as the Warriors fumbled away the center-quarterback exchange on its first play from scrimmage, with Wilmington’s Tyler Roberts recovering for the Wildcats at the Wakefield 37 yard line only seconds into the game.

But turnabout is fair play and the Warriors quickly returned the favor.  Less than a minute later, on 4th-and-8, senior safety Ben Yandell plucked a tipped pass out of the air for an interception and Wakefield had dodged a bullet.  Wilmington, a run first team, had surprisingly come out throwing on its first two plays which fell incomplete.  A 5 yard penalty for an illegal shift coupled with a stretch play that gained 7 yards on third down put the Wildcats into a throwing down which the Warriors defensed well.

With order restored, Wakefield started its second drive on its own 33 yard line.  Two runs by junior PJ Iannuzzi and another senior Zack Kane put the Warriors in a 4th-and-1 on the 42 yard line.  Junior quarterback Kobey Nadeau, subbing for Ned Buckley who was felled by the flu, then got the Wildcats to jump offside giving Wakefield a first down.

Two more runs by Kane only gained 3 yards but senior Alex Jancsy executed a nifty run up the middle for another first down.  Wilmington was called for a late hit after the play was whistled dead and the additional penalty yardage put the ball at the Wilmington 28 yard line.  The Wakefield drive stalled here, however, as three more runs and a 4th down pass could not advance the ball past the 25 yard line.

Wilmington took over on downs and proceeded to put together a 5 minute thirteen play drive for their first score.  The Wildcats returned to form, keeping the ball on the ground exclusively gaining six first downs.   Two consecutive Wildcat runs netted 12 and 11 yards respectively before tackles by seniors Mike Moran, Mike Hagioglu, and Ben Yandell put Wilmington in a 4th-and-3 on the Wakefield 45.  The defense stopped Sam Jennings on the next play but not before the Wildcat back was able to gain a first down.  Wilmington continued to mix up stretch plays to the left and right with the occasional handoff up the middle to get the ball down to the Warrior 16 yard line as the first quarter closed.

Second Quarter

On first down at the 16 yard line, Wakefield’s defense snuffed out a sweep right for a 6 yard loss.  But Wilmington came right back on the next play with a well-blocked run right where every Warrior was engaged and had difficulty shedding the block in time.  Charles Minghella took it all the way down to the 4 yard line before Matthew Woods took it up the gut for a 4 yard touchdown run.  The PAT kick by freshman Adam Bishop was good and Wilmington had a 7-0 lead.

A short kick put Wakefield at its own 41 yard line as it sought to answer the call.  Two runs by Jancsy got 7 yards before Nadeau was stopped for no gain setting up a 4th-and-3 at Wakefield’s own 48.  The coaching staff, trying to make something happen, went for it but Wakefield was overwhelmed at the point of attack and Zack Kane could only grind out a single yard.

Sitting at midfield Wilmington methodically ground out eight plays before scoring their second and last touchdown.  The drive required only one third down conversion and the TD was scored by Graham Smith, a diminutive but quick back, who found a crease and scampered 12 yards.  THE PAT kick went wide left and the Warriors trailed 13-0.

Senior Kevin Russo took the ensuing kickoff 18 yards to the 36 yard line but again the offense struggled to find its footing.  Facing a three-and-out, punter Pat Leary could not find the handle on the snap and covered it at the Wakefield 25 yard line.  Wilmington pushed it down to the 14 yard line and a first down before Moran and Russo combined to stop a run after a 3 yard gain.  On the next play, with the clock moving inside 2 minutes remaining in the half, Moran blew up an attempted halfback option for a loss of 6 yards.  Senior Evan Gourville then filled his gap to drop Woods after only a 3 yard gain.  A fourth down pass landed harmlessly out of the end zone and the Warriors had made a key stop.

The teams still had time to trade possessions with 1:30 left in the half but nothing came of either drive.

Third Quarter

Wilmington could do nothing with its first possession of the second half as three runs got them just 6 yards.  Wakefield got the ball back at its 36 yard line but immediately lost 5 yards to an offside penalty.  Fortunately, Wilmington gave that right back and more with a personal foul penalty on the next play.  Kevin Russo then got 10 yards with a reception along the sideline before Zack Kane bulled his way to 5 more yards.  When Kane did not go down easily, the Wildcats got called for a facemask penalty which advanced the ball to the Wilmington 24 yard line.  But as was the case in the first half with another penetration into enemy territory, the drive sputtered and Wilmington took over on downs.

Wakefield forced its own break on the next Wildcat drive.  After taking the ball from its own 20 yard line to about midfield, again relying exclusively on the running game, several Warriors stacked up the next running play in a sea of humanity.  When the pile untangled, junior Joe Connell had recovered a Wildcat fumble bringing life to the Warrior sideline.

Kobey Nadeau wasted little time trying to generate additional momentum, hitting senior Eric Smith for 15 yards down the right sideline.  One play later, yet another Wilmington personal foul penalty moved the ball to the 19 yard line as the third quarter ended.

Fourth Quarter

Nadeau found Zack Kane nicely out in the flat for 9 yards before a run for no gain and an incomplete pass placed Wakefield in a 3rd-and-goal from the 9 yard line.   Wilmington blitzed up the middle, Nadeau hung in the pocket, and then fired a touchdown strike to senior receiver Nick Elcewicz who was wide open in the spot vacated by the blitzing linebacker.  The PAT kick failed but Wakefield was within striking distance with 8:40 to go in the game.

Wakefield chose to squib kick the kickoff but Wilmington recovered at its 45 yard line.  From there the Wildcats converted on two consecutive third down plays to get to the Wakefield 30 yard line.  The Warrior defense then held the line, aided by a Wilmington penalty for a block in the back, forcing a 4th-and-9 at Wakefield’s 29 yard line which Wilmington did not convert.  But what they did do was use up 5 minutes of valuable clock.

Wakefield turned almost exclusively to its passing game at this point, with 3:30 to go, to try to forge at least a tie.  Passes to Russo (15 yards) and junior receiver Alex McKenna (12 yards), sandwiched around an intentional grounding penalty against the Warriors, moved the ball to midfield.  Facing 4th-and-4 Nadeau made a heads-up play by scrambling to his left when no receivers came open, picking up 14 yards and a first down.  But on the next play Tyler DeJesus picked off a Nadeau pass up the seam and the drive came to a screeching halt.

Wilmington took over at their own 33 yard line with just over two minutes showing on the clock, determined to run out the clock.  Facing 3rd-and-3 a bungled play in the Wildcat backfield resulted in a fumble that was recovered by junior Joe Marinaccio at the Wilmington 40 yard line.  However, after a lengthy conference by the officials, that drew Head Coach Steve Cummings well onto the field of play, the play was ruled a “no play” because of an inadvertent referee’s whistle.  Third down was repeated, the Wildcats gained 2+ yards, and then Wilmington converted a 4th-and-inches to gain the first down that allowed them to run out the clock.

Notes: The Warriors made adjustments at halftime on defense that effectively stunted Wilmington’s ability to run the stretch play in the second half….. Mike Moran had a monster game on defense making multiple tackles and playing with his trademark intensity….Alex Jancsy and Evan Gourville shored up the second level of defense…..Wilmington was assessed over 100 yards in penalties…..Kobey Nadeau deserves a lot of credit hanging in the pocket on the Nick Elcewicz touchdown and taking a hit after delivering the ball….. Tighe Beck joined Ned Buckley on the sidelines with an injury and did not play

Wakefield JV’s gritty effort falls short in OT against Wilmington

 With a limited number of juniors available to play for the JV this week, the young Wakefield JV squad put in a hard fought full game effort last Saturday at Landrigan Field, but ultimately fell in overtime 20-14 to Wilmington High’s JV squad.

The game started out about as well it could for the Wakefield JV squad as Will Shea, returning from an injury suffered in the season’s first game, took the opening kickoff 25 yards to the Wakefield 45 yard line.  On the first play from scrimmage, Joe Marinaccio exploded off the right side of the line and scampered 55 yards for a Wakefield touchdown.  Bobby Keegan then put the Warriors up 8-0 with a beautiful play action fake and pass to Dan Cataldo coming out of the backfield.

Wilmington started their first possession at their own 38, but managed only one first down thanks to some tough defense provided by Evan McMaster, Bobby Young and Dan CataldoMcMaster stuffed a 4th and 1 attempt at the Wakefield 22 to give the ball back to the Warriors.  McMaster would lead the defense in tackles on the day and continues to have a stellar sophomore campaign.

 After a nice 5 yard gain to start the drive by Cataldo, the Warriors could not put together anything, and they were forced to punt the ball back to Wilmington who took over at the Wakefield 42 yard line.  The first quarter expired on the next play when Jack Shannon penetrated from his defensive end position and tackled the Wilmington back for a 2 yard loss.

The second quarter started with a pass interference call against Wakefield and Wilmington was in business at the Wakefield 30 yard line.  Wilmington managed another first down despite nice plays by McMaster, Shannon and Alex Jolly.  On the next play, Wilmington tried to test Henry Stikeman at corner, but Stikeman was up to the task and perfectly defended the pass.  After another incompletion, Bobby Young created a negative play with a 4 yard sack and Wilmington would turn the ball over on downs following a 4th and 14 incomplete pass.

Wakefield’s offense quickly went 3 and out again and punted the ball back to Wilmington setting Wilmington up at their own 45 yard line.  At this point the defense decided to take matters into its own hands and, after nice back to back tackles by Alex Jolly and Brendan Coughlin set up a 3rd and 9 for Wilmington, Bobby Young forced a fumble with a hard tackle and Henry Stikeman scooped up the fumble and showed his speed by racing 50 yards for the Warriors second touchdown of the day.  After Wakefield failed to convert the 2 point conversion, the score was 14-0 heading into halftime.

The second half started with Wilmington putting together its first sustained drive of the game.  Starting at their own 44, Wilmington marched 56 yards in 9 plays capping off their drive with a 5 yard run for a touchdown.  They converted their 2 point conversion and the score stood at 14-8.

Wakefield’s first drive of the second half started with excellent field position after a poor kickoff left the ball at the Wakefield 48.  Marinaccio quickly gained 16 yards on 2 carries, and Stikeman added 7 more, but the drive would stall and a Wakefield failed 4th and 2 on the Wilmington 30 gave the ball back to the Wildcats.  Wilmington would quickly move to the Wakefield 18 on a long 40 yard run that looked destined for the end zone, but Will Shea chased down the Wilmington back and tackled him at the Wakefield 18.  Unfortunately, for the Warriors, Wilmington later converted a 3rd and 11 and a 3rd and goal to punch in the tying touchdown finishing off the 70 yard drive.  Wakefield’s defense held on the 2 point conversion and score stood at 14-14.

The Warriors again took over in good field position at its own 44, but a holding call and a subsequent interception quickly gave the ball to the Wildcats at the Wakefield 50.  After a run and personal foul call against Wakefield, Wilmington was set up 1st and 10 at the Wakefield 30, but Will Shea stopped the drive in its tracks when he came up from his safety spot and leveled the Wilmington runner forcing a fumble, which he recovered.  Wakefield was able to move the ball to the 50 on runs by Shea and Marinaccio, but time expired and the teams headed to overtime.

Overtime was not kind to the Warriors, as Wilmington scored on its first play from scrimmage.  Despite missing the 2 point conversion, the score stood at 20-14 Wilmington.  Wakefield moved the ball to the 2 yard line on three runs, but a 4th down pass fell incomplete and the Warriors JV squad suffered their second loss of the season.  Overall, it was a gritty effort by the young squad and showcased some excellent play by many of the Wakefield sophomores who are positioning themselves to be major contributors on varsity next year.

 

 

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