Wakefield, MA–There are still two weeks remaining in the regular season, but it has already been a long journey for the Wakefield High football team.
After starting the season 1-4, the Warriors have rattled off three consecutive wins, including last Friday’s 37-29 conquest of Burlington, and played their way back into the Middlesex Small race. (The league, however, will receive only one playoff berth this year).
And while talent, and teamwork, and determination have factored in the success, so too has personal growth.
No one has taken a bigger step forward than senior Vinny DeSciscio. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound DeSciscio has delivered quick and rhythmic running out of the backfield. But as he navigates through defenses on the field every game, he has also navigated difficult challenges off the field.
At the start of last season, DeSciscio was suspended for three games by the school for disciplinary reasons. While the punishment was agonizing for a young man hoping to make an impact, it was also a wake-up call — and a chance to learn from head coach Michael Boyages.
“When I went to high school, I started heading down the wrong path,’’ said DeSciscio, who ripped off three scoring runs against Burlington in a 31-carry, 235-yard performance. “Since then, I’ve kept really close to Coach B.”
“He’s helped me start to look at life a lot differently than I used to. He’s helped me realize how much I love this team and this game.’’
That love has translated into impressive results for the Warriors. With a nose for the end zone, DeSciscio has scored 11 touchdowns and 48 of his 66 points this season have contributed to Wakefield wins.
“[Vinny] had some major personal struggles off the field. He’s really made an effort in the classroom and on the field, and it’s made me so proud to see,’’ said Boyages. “That’s where I get my satisfaction, working with these kids and seeing them progress.’’
Boyages has also helped young players find their way onto a competitive team. After cycling through four different starting quarterbacks, the coaching staff has settled on 6-1, 195-pound junior James Bourque the last three games.
“We went through a few other options, but we’ve just settled in with Jamie and our offense has clicked,’’ said Boyages. “He has progressed as a smart kid who takes control over the huddle. He makes very few mistakes and has become a better thrower as the season goes on.’’
As the team has come together, so has the group’s chemistry.
“In the beginning of the year, a lot of kids were playing for themselves. But we caught that early on, and we’ve really come together as a team since then,’’ said starting offensive tackle Charnjit Singh. “We had high expectations for this season, and the idea of finishing with just one win got us on edge. We simply have too much potential with the athletes we have on the field.”
“At the beginning of the season, we weren’t really a football team,’’ DeSciscio said. “It came down to the people who really wanted to play. . . . As we started to realize what this is all about, we came together as a team.’’
Wakefield is following a similar path as a year ago, when the Warriors started 1-5 before finishing 6-5.
But in the end, Boyages wants his kids to know winning is just a bonus. With the growth he has found among his team’s leaders, it is easy to see how the veteran coach would be satisfied regardless of the outcome.
“What we have isn’t something that is there between a lot of players and coaches. I told my kids way back when they first started that I didn’t care if they scored a touchdown for me,’’ Boyages said. “But if they needed some guidance, I’m here for them, and to help them leave a better person would give me the greatest satisfaction. They have become a great group of young men, and I am so proud of what they have accomplished.’’
This Article Was Written By Boston Globe Correspondent Doug Saffir