Warriors put up yards and points in 35-27 overtime loss


WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield Memorial High football team did exactly what it intended to do with its ball-control offense. The Warriors gained most of their yards on the ground, controlled the clock, ran twice as many plays and scored 27 points.

The one thing Wakefield didn’t do was win the game.

While the Warriors put on a display of power football, Lexington’s hurry-up, high octane offense was just a little bit better as Wakefield suffered a 35-27 overtime loss in the season opener on Friday night at Landrigan Field.

The score was tied at 27-27 after regulation as the contest headed into the extra session. Lexington got the ball first and made the most of its possession by scoring the touchdown and two-point conversion to take a 35-27 lead.

Junior RB Glenn Smith III (64 yards on nine carries) gained seven yards on first down and goal from the Warrior 10 yard line. Junior QB Jeff Costello (16 rushes for 144 yards) gained two yards on second down. On third and goal from the 1, Costello scored his second touchdown of the game on the keeper to put Lexington in front. Costello then found senior WR Connor Murphy with the two-point conversion pass to put Lexington up by eight.

On Wakefield’s overtime, an illegal substitution penalty pushed the Warriors back five yards. On first and goal from the Lexington 15, senior RB Luke Martin (38 carries for 207 yards and two touchdowns) gained a yard. Senior QB Anthony Cecere was then sacked for a nine yard loss setting up a third down and goal from the Minuteman 23. Cecere found senior TE Dylan Brady with a 17 yard completion down the middle setting up a fourth down and goal from the 6. On fourth down, Cecere’s pass to the end zone was intercepted as Lexington celebrated the win.

“It was a hard played game,” said Head Coach Mike Boyages. “Lexington has an explosive offense and we were unable to keep them out of the end zone. We wanted to keep the ball away from them and we did that. But Lexington made some adjustments defensively in the second half. I’m happy with the kids’ effort.”

Martin was the workhorse for the Warriors with his 200 plus yards rushing. But junior RB Paul McGunigle also scored two touchdowns as he carried the ball eight times for 55 yards.

Senior RB Jack Brown had six carries for 20 yards, senior co-captain Joe DiFazio had four carries for 16 yards and junior RB Zach Kane had one carry for three yards. As a team, Wakefield had 59 carries for 291 yards.

Wakefield had a tremendous effort from its offensive line as it ran its full house backfield formation and established its dominance on the ground. The blockers were senior Brian Conroy, junior Logan Dunn, senior Eric Schilling, senior Pat Boyson, senior Alex Kane, senior Ben Joly and Brady. Junior Matt Mercurio and junior Mike Hakioglu rotated in on a regular basis from the sideline.

While Martin was the workhorse, Costello made Lexington’s offense go. In addition to his 144 yards rushing, the junior QB completed seven of 13 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He was also intercepted twice.

The interceptions were made by senior DB Brian Dickey and a sophomore DB Alex McKenna.

Defensively, Cecere led the way with four tackles, while Martin, Brady, Brown, Zach Kane and DiFazio had three each.

In terms of total yards, Lexington gained 356 yards while the Warriors amassed 342 total yards.

Wakefield got the ball first and took over at the Lexington 49 after the Minutemen attempted an onside kick. The Warriors needed just six plays to get the ball into the end zone. Martin did most of the work with runs of four, four, seven and five yards. Brown also had a carry for five yards. On first down and 10 from the 24, McGunigle broke a 24 yard TD jaunt to put the Warriors in front.

McGunigle added the extra point to give Wakefield a 7-0 advantage with 8:41 left in the first quarter.

It didn’t take long for Lexington to tie the game at 7-7. After a seven yard kickoff return by senior Alex Huff, the Minutemen unveiled a trick play on its first play from scrimmage. A backward pass and flea flicker back to Costello set the stage for a wide open Huff down the field behind the defense. Huff caught Costello’s pass and raced 69 yards to the end zone for the score.

Costello added the PAT to tie the game at 7-7 with 8:21 left in the first.

The Warriors then sustained a 10 play scoring drive which started at their own 47 after a 22 yard kickoff return by Alex Jancsy. Martin once again did most of the work with runs of five, five, five, 11 and eight yards. McGunigle also had runs of three and six yards to set up a first down and goal from the Lexington 2. Martin plunged into the end zone for the TD to put Wakefield back in front.

McGunigle added the extra point give Wakefield a 14-7 advantage with 2:53 remaining in the first.

The Minutemen picked up a pair of first downs as Smith gained 10 yards and Murphy caught an 11 yard pass to bring the ball to midfield. Smith had a nine yard run to get the back into Wakefield territory. After Huff was dropped for a four yard loss by Brady, two incompletions resulted in Lexington turning the ball over on downs.

The Warriors took over at their own 45 and sustained a nine play drive which up ate over five minutes.

Brown had a three yard run and Martin gained 11 yards on the final play of the first quarter. Brown then gained a three yard gain on the first play of the second quarter. Martin had runs of three and five yards. McGunigle was stopped for no gain and Martin gained two yards on second down setting up a third down and eight from the Lexington 28.

After a false start penalty pushed Wakefield back into a third down and 13 play from the Lexington 33, Martin ripped off a 28 yard gain for a first down and goal from the 5. Martin scored his second TD of the game from five yards out.

McGunigle added the PAT to give Wakefield a 21-7 lead with 6:33 left.

Lexington got the ball again and took over at its own 44 after a 29 yard kickoff return by Huff. The Minutemen then mounted a seven play scoring drive.

Smith ran for five yards and then a false start penalty pushed Lexington back five yards. Costello then broke a 30 yard run for a first down. After Costello gained a yard, Smith was stopped for no gain, and a holding penalty, Lexington had a third down and 19 from the Warrior 35. Costello found senior WR Elan Harris with a 17 yard pass setting up a fourth down and two from the Warrior 18. Costello then kept the ball and brought the ball down to the 1.

On first down a goal from the 1, Costello found Harris in the end zone with a play action pass. Costello kicked the extra point to cut the lead to 21-14 with 3:44 left in the second quarter.

The Warriors then had the ball for 13 plays starting from their own 20 after a touchback on the kickoff. Martin had a run of eight yards for a first down, DiFazio had a five yard on a third down and one play from the Warrior 39. Martin also had first down runs of 10 and four yards as Wakefield got the ball down to the Lexington 30. But Martin was stopped for no gain on first down. On second down, Wakefield was flagged for an ineligible receiver down the field. Cecere, who completed five out nine passes for 51 yards, found Martin with a five yard gain on the final play of the first half.

Lexington got the ball first to begin the third quarter and scored in five plays as it came out strong to begin the second half.

Starting at midfield after a 17 yard kickoff return by senior Christian Pusatere, Smith gained 19 yards. Costello then had a five yard run and completed a 10 yard pass to Harris. Costello gained three yards setting up a second down and seven play from the Warrior 13. Smith broke through with a 13-yard TD jaunt.

Costello missed the extra point as his kick went wide right as Lexington trailed by one, 21-20, with 9:20 left in the third.

Wakefield picked up one first down on its first series of the second half but a holding penalty resulted in long yardage and the Warriors punted for the first time of the night.

Two plays later, Dickey intercepted a Costello pass at the Wakefield 8. But Wakefield went three and out and punted the ball away from deep in its own end as Lexington got great field position at the Warrior 42.

Costello broke a 15 yard gain and then 15 more yards were added on for a face mask penalty. After a five yard loss on a pass to Murphy, Costello broke a 17 yard TD run on a second down and 15 play to put the Minutemen in front for the first time of the contest.

Costello added the extra point to give Lexington a 27-21 lead with 1:52 remaining in the third quarter.

The Warriors got the ball back at their own 33 after a 23 yard kickoff return by sophomore Carmen Sorrentino. Wakefield then sustained 14 play scoring drive which ate up nearly seven minutes off the clock.

Cecere found Brown with a 14 yard pass and Martin had runs of three yards and one yard to end the third quarter.

The fourth quarter opened with Cecere finding Brady with an eight yard strike. Martin then had runs of three and five yards. After an incompletion on third down setting up a fourth down and two from the Lexington 33. Martin gained three yards to keep the chains moving.

Martin had runs of 13, four and eight yards to set up a first down and goal from the 5. After no gain by McGunigle, the ball was moved down to the 2 on an illegal substitution penalty on Lexington. McGunigle took the ball in from two yards out to tie the score at 27-27.

McGunigle’s PAT attempt was blocked as the game remained tied at 27-all with 5:56 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Minutemen earned three first downs and moved the ball down the Warrior 35 on their next possession. But on a fourth down and 11 play from the Wakefield 35, Costello gained only six yards as Wakefield took over on downs.

Wakefield picked up one first down before it punted the ball back to Lexington. However four plays later, McKenna intercepted a Costello pass which gave Wakefield great field position at the Minuteman 40 yard line. But there were only 20.3 seconds left in regulation.

Kane caught a seven yard pass from Cecere. After an incomplete pass downfield intended for Martin, Cecere was sacked on third down as the fourth quarter came to a close and the teams headed into the overtime session where Lexington pulled out the victory.

“Defensively, we struggled with the option they ran,” said Boyages. “Lexington has very good quarterback. I was proud of the way we came back and forced overtime.”