Warriors tame Wildcats in 21-0 shutout in return to Landrigan Field
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — There was a football team that suffered a tough road loss then rebounded with a convincing victory at home over a first place opponent.
No, the reference isn’t to the New England Patriots after the Cincinnati game but to the Wakefield Memorial High football team after its game against Wilmington on Friday night at Landrigan Field.
The Warriors played well in all phases of the game and posted a 21-0 shutout over the Wildcats in Wakefield’s first home game in nearly a month.
Wakefield increased its record to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in the Middlesex League Freedom division. Meanwhile, Wilmington fell to 3-2 and 2-1 in the M.L. Freedom division.
The Warriors recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and cashed in with seven points. Wakefield added another touchdown in the first quarter and one more in the second.
Meanwhile, Wakefield’s defense clamped down on the Wildcats holding Wilmington to 136 total yards (123 rushing and 13 passing).
Leading the way defensively for the Warriors was junior LB Zach Kane as he has seven tackles. Senior LB Jack Brown had six tackles, while senior lineman Alex Kane checked in with four stops.
On offense, Wakefield gained 217 total yards (122 rushing, 95 passing) with senior RB Luke Martin leading the way on the ground with 115 yards on 16 carries and one TD. In the passing game, senior QB Anthony Cecere completed five of seven passes for 95 yards and threw one TD pass. Junior WR Tighe Beck had two catches for 80 yards and one TD.
“I’m very happy with the effort,” said Head Coach Mike Boyages. “We jumped on them early which set the tone for the game. Defensively, we shut them down. It was nice to get back home. The beginning of the game was ideal for us and we capitalized. We needed this win for our confidence.”
Wilmington received the opening kickoff and senior Matt Penney fumbled the ball after a 14 yard return. Senior Pat Casaletto recovered the loose football as Wakefield had a first down and 10 from the Wildcat 35 yard line.
Martin lost a yard on first down but then broke through with a 36 yard touchdown run off right tackle. Chris Sapanaro added the extra point to give the Warriors a 7-0 lead with 10:25 left in the first quarter.
Wilmington went three and out and punted the ball back to Wakefield which took over at its own 49. From there, the Warriors had a long, sustained drive as they moved down the field in 12 plays which ate most of the rest of the opening quarter.
Martin ripped off what appeared to be a 51 yard TD run. But the play was negated with an illegal block penalty down field as Martin was awarded a 13 yard gain before the penalty. Martin then lost a yard and Cecere completed a five yard pass to Beck. Martin gained two yards on third down setting up a fourth down and one from the Wilmington 42. Cecere fumbled the snap but still got two yards to move the chains.
Martin gained six yards on first down. An offside penalty on the Wildcats gave Wakefield another first down. With the ball at the Wildcat 29, Martin gained four yards and Zach Kane gained seven yards. Senior FB Joe DiFazio forged ahead for six yards to bring the the ball down to the 12. After a false start penalty, Cecere had runs of four yards and eight yards to set up a first down and goal from the 5. Kane took the ball in from five yards away.
Sapanaro added the extra point to give Wakefield a 14-0 advantage with 1:19 left in the first.
The Wildcats answered with a long drive of their own. Senior Jomikeson Beray (56 yards on 14 carries) had runs of zero yards and four yards as the first quarter ended and the second quarter began. After an offside penalty on Wakefield, the Wildcats converted on a third down and one play with a three yard run by Penney for a first down at their own 42.
Penney (54 yard on eight carries) then ripped off a 21 yard run to bring the ball into Warrior territory with a first down at the Wakefield 34. Beray gained five yards, Penney gained three yards, and junior RB Matt Woods gained two yards for a first down. Senior QB Ryan Carracinno gained four yards on a keeper, Woods was stopped for no gain and Carracinno ran for five yards setting up a fourth down and one play from the Wakefield 15. Penney got two yards to move the chains.
Woods gained a yard, senior WR Ryan Colangelo was stopped for a yard loss on a reverse play on second down. Carracinno then fired two incomplete passes as the Warriors took over at their own 13 on downs.
Wakefield needed just three plays to get into the end zone for its third touchdown of the night. Martin had runs of nine and three yards to bring the ball to the 25. At that point, the Warriors decided to go with a play action pass. Cecere found Beck with a pass down the right sideline. Beck easily beat his Wilmington defender and raced to the end zone on the 75 yard pass play.
Sapanaro added the extra point to give the Warriors a 21-0 lead with 2:50 left in the second quarter.
Wakefield went for an onside kick and the Wildcats took over at the Wakefield 49 with 2:43 left in the first half of play. Beray had runs of 13, three, three and 17 yards for a pair of first downs to bring the ball down to the Warrior 16. Penney then gained three yards and was dropped for a two yard loss. Carraccino then fired a pair of incompletions and third and fourth downs to give the ball back to Wakefield on downs. Cecere took a knee to end the first half of play as Wakefield went to the locker room with a 21-0 lead.
The Warriors got the ball to start the third quarter and began its first drive from their own 29 after a 20 yard kickoff return by Martin. Cecere lost two yards on first down and Martin gained nine yards on second down. Cecere found senior TE Dylan Brady over the middle with a six yard pass to pick up the first down. After a false start penalty, Cecere gained a yard and found senior WR Brian Dickey with a six yard strike. On third down and eight from the Wakefield 44, Cecere was sacked for a nine yard loss by senior tackle Andrew Murray.
The Warriors then ran a fake punt with senior Will Bergendahl’s pass falling incomplete as Wilmington took over at the Wakefield 35.
The Wildcats went nowhere and eventually turned the ball over on downs as Carracinno’s fourth down pass fell incomplete.
DiFazio gained three yards and Martin ran for a yard setting up a third down and seven play from the Warrior 36. Cecere was sacked by senior DB Dylan Masiello for a seven yard loss. This time Wakefield punted the ball away as Wilmington begin its next series of downs at its own 39.
Wilmington didn’t pick up a first down and Wakefield took over at its own 45 after a 14 yard punt return by Martin. The senior then ripped off an 18 yard gain to bring the ball into Wildcat territory as the third quarter came to an end.
Martin gained 13 yards on the first play of the fourth quarter for another first down as Wakefield brought the ball down to the Wilmington 24. Martin lost three yards and Cecere found Zack Kane with a three yard pass setting up a third down and 10 play. Cecere tried to find Beck in the end zone on third down but the pass was incomplete. Cecere then had an incompletion on fourth down as Wilmington took over.
Colangelo caught a nine yard pass then Beray, despite fumbling the football, gained two yards for a first down as he got his own fumble back. Woods ran for five yards. On second down, senior DE Matt Iacoviello appeared to sack Carraccino for a loss. However, he got a piece of the quarterback’s facemask which resulted in a penalty and a Wildcats first down at the Warrior 45.
Woods gained three yards, Beray was stopped for no gain, and Brown sacked Carraccino for an eight yard loss on a third down and seven play which resulted in a Wilmington punt.
Starting at its own 28, Martin had runs of four yards and two yards. On third down and four, backup QB Bergendahl, a senior, was sacked by senior LB Austin Ferreira for a 10 yard loss as Wakefield punted the ball away for only the second time of the contest.
The Wildcats started at their own 35 with 2:23 left in the game as they tried to get on the scoreboard and prevent the Wakefield shutout. Beray had an 11 yard run with many Warrior backups in on defense at that point. Colangelo then caught a one yard pass. Penney had runs of seven yards and 12 yards to bring the ball down to the Wakefield 34. Colangelo caught a three yard pass on the final play of the game as the clock ran out and the Warriors had the shutout victory.
“Beck had a nice catch on the touchdown,” said Boyages. “We put in some different guys. Matt Iacoviello played well at defensive end. He had a nice sack, although it was too bad he got the facemask penalty. Joe DiFazio played well and Jack Brown did nice job at linebacker. Offensively, we were able to run the ball with the two tight ends. We did a nice job of mixing it up.
“All week, we compared ourselves to the Patriots,” added Boyages. “We came out with the emotion of being back on our home field. We needed it.”