Warriors Fall to Woburn Tanners in 2nd, Div. 3 NW Consolation Game

November 17th, 2015 by wwcpresident

Published Tuesday, November 17, 2015 edition of the Reading Times Chronicle.

 By KEN KOTELLY

Some times it has been gut-wrenching losses but more recently the Tanners found a way to overcome an early punch in the stomach.

Trailing 9-0 early, the Tanners scored three touchdowns with an effective running game in the middle two quarters that allowed them to pull away to a 20-9 victory over Wakefield on Friday at Woburn High.

The Tanners (4-6) took control of the action by the second quarter by establishing an effective running game, with Brandon Moscat leading the ground attack with 144 rushing yards on 22 carries and a score. Kyle Massey-Chorlton added 96 rushing yards on 14 carries. Freshman quarterback Ryan Qualey, in his first varsity start, completed five of six passes for 60 passing yards and two touchdowns.

Once the Tanners scored three times in the middle two quarters to take an 11-point lead Woburn’s defense took over, limiting Wakefield’s running game to just 51 total rushing yards on 23 carries, while the Tanners pass defense stepped up by coming up with three interceptions to effectively shut down Wakefield’s pass attack.

“We’re a resilient group that’s overcome adversity all season, and tonight we had to overcome adversity again,” said Woburn head coach Rocky Nelson. “After a rough start we settled down, came back, and played a 44-minute game.

“We did a great job offensively, while defensively we made plays with a sack and three interceptions, and we didn’t allow them to score after taking an early 9-0 lead,” said the coach.

The lone bright spot for the Warriors was a good passing game from quarterback Ned Buckley, who completed 15 of 24 passes for 140 yards, including a long pass that set up Wakefield’s lone touchdown. But the Warriors couldn’t get any running game going against Woburn’s defense, as Wakefield’s leading rusher Joe Marinaccio was held to just 24 rushing yards.

“We tried to make passing plays, but the wind was playing havoc with our passing games, while Woburn stopped our run,” said Wakefield head coach Steve Cummings. “We started pretty well but we weren’t able to sustain our momentum.”

After the Warriors forced Woburn to punt from their own 39 yard line on their first possession, Nick Dangora’s punt was blocked and the ball bounced and rolled all the way back and through the end zone and across the end line for a safety, which gave Wakefield a quick 2-0 lead and the ball right off a free Woburn kick.

Then after a good run back off the free kick by Marinoccio to the Woburn 40, on the very next play Buckley completed a 35-yard pass to Tighe Beck to the Woburn five yard line. Then three plays later on fourth-and-goal, Marinaccio ran off left tackle and fell just over the goal line for the score, and Paul McGunigle’s extra point kick extended Wakefield’s lead to 9-0 just five minutes into the game.

But after an exchange of possessions carried play into the second quarter, the Tanners began to turn the momentum of the game towards their favor when the Warriors tried to run an option play to Matt Mercurio, but his pass was picked off by Moscat who returned it to the Woburn 29.

Then Moscat made something big happen offensively on the very next play, when he took the next carry off left tackle 46 yards downfield to the Wakefield 25-yard line. Then after three short runs and a pass moved the ball to the Wakefield four, Moscat took the next handoff right up the middle and into the end zone for the score, and Dangora’s extra-point kick cut Woburn’s deficit to 9-7 with four minutes left in the first half.

“After our first punt was blocked for a safety and then they scored again to make it 9-0, we settled down and did a great job offensively,” said Nelson. “Dan Moscat has been doing what he did tonight all year for us and he’s a heck of a football player and a great athlete, and he does everything for us, running back, quarterback, receiver, cornerback, and on special teams. That first scoring drive was big, and then we scored again before halftime.”

Then Woburn’s defense took over and forced another Wakefield punt from its own 38, and after taking over on their own 30 yard line it only took the Tanners three plays to go 70 yards for a go-ahead score. This time it was Kyle Massey-Chorlton who took the next carry 40 yards from one 30 yard line to the other. Then two plays later from the Wakefield 25, Qualey found Joe Panetta with a pass near the right sideline, and he took it to the end zone for the score with just 47 seconds left in the first half. Dangora’s extra-point kick gave Woburn a 14-9 lead which it held through halftime.

“They ran a nice counter play on that drive, and Woburn just stayed the course after that,” said Cummings. “We had some chances in the second half but we dropped some balls, and Woburn dominated little parts of the game and we didn’t take advantage of good field position, while our defensive couldn’t get off the field often enough.”

After Woburn’s defense forced a three-and-out on Wakefield’s first second-half possession, the Tanners started their next possession on their own 40 yard line and launched a 12-play, 60-yard scoring drive. A 16-yard run by Massey-Chorlton and a pass from Qualey to Nick Patti helped move the ball to the Wakefield 10. Then on the next play Qualey found Panetta with a pass again, this time in the end zone for the score, and although the extra-point kick was blocked, the Tanners had extended their lead to 20-9.

“Ryan Qualey has done that two straight games for us, and tonight he had two more touchdown passes,” said Nelson of his freshman quarterback. “He’s just a heady young man who understands what he needs to do.”

After an exchange of possessions the Warriors, faced with an 11-point deficit, made two attempts in the fourth quarter to get back in the game. On their first fourth-quarter possession the Warriors drove to the Woburn 30, but when Buckley tried to throw a pass on the next play to the end zone, the Tanners defense stepped up when Kevin Stachowski intercepted the toss and returned it to the Woburn 35-yard line.

“We tried to run some big plays in the second half, but Woburn made some nice defensive plays against them and they didn’t work out for us,” said Cummings. “Woburn was solid defensively, and with the wind going we were limited what we could do. We still had chances to keep drive alive but we couldn’t do that tonight.”

After Wakefield’s P.J. Iannuzzi recovered a Woburn fumble to give the Warriors the ball back on their own 42 with still five minutes remaining, Buckley tried to spark a final attempt to at least draw Wakefield closer with two short pass completions. But Woburn’s defense stepped up again when a Buckley pass was picked off again, this time by Dennis Chacon, to end Wakefield’s final threat, and the Tanners were able to eventually run out the clock.

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