Travels to Wilmington tomorrow in search of first victory
Published in the October 1, 2015 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WILMINGTON — If the Wakefield Memorial High football team wants to be a participant in this year’s Div. 3 Northwest playoffs then it must win out to assure that it gets a spot in the postseason.
The Warriors are seeking their first win of the 2015 season when they travel to Wilmington tomorrow night for a Middlesex League Freedom division contest at Alumni Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Tomorrow is the first of three straight road games for the Warriors.
Wakefield currently sits at 0-3 overall on the season and 0-1 in the league, while the Wildcats are 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the league.
Wakefield has played three tough opponents in a row. The Warriors lost 34-6 to Beverly then 21-8 to Abington. In the league opener, the Warriors fell short by a 20-14 score against Watertown.
Wilmington, meanwhile, has beaten Dracut (32-18) and lost to Winchester (29-6) and Stoneham (28-12).
“We’re going over there expecting the worst,” said Coach Steve Cummings referring to previous weather reports indicating rain for tomorrow night. “They’re predicting bad weather and if it is, we will adjust our game plan accordingly.”
Current weather forecasts have predicted cloudy and cool conditions for tomorrow night. But regardless, Cummings said the Warriors are prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. However his main concern is the Wildcats and their variation of the Wing-T offense.
“Basically this is a playoff game for us,” said Cummings. “We want to win out. If we can go 4-3, then I hope we can get a fifth or sixth seed. We don’t want to be limping into the playoffs. We’ve played three tough teams. We need to tighten up a few things for the second half of the season and rattle off four wins. This is a big part of our season.”
First up are the Wildcats who run a Wing-T offense like Beverly and Abington did.
“Wilmington runs another version of the Wing-T,” said Cummings. “Wilmington lines up with an unbalanced line and they move back and forth. They come up to the line quickly and we need to know what gap to defend. If we don’t then they can rip off a big run. They sneak in a pass every so often to keep you balanced.”
Senior RB John Maga and junior RB Sam Jennings lead the way in the backfield, while the QB is junior Robbie Ducharme.
The Warriors will be seeking to put everything together on offense and defense. Offensively, Wakefield has moved the football. But turnovers have hurt and drives have stalled deep in their opponent’s territory. Defensively, Wakefield seeks to avoid giving up the big play.
“We need to rise to the occasion,” said Cummings. “Offensively, we need to be more careful with the football. We had two turnovers deep in our own end and put our defense in a tough position. We also need to execute better on third and fourth downs near the end zone. We need to execute better in big spots.”
Senior WR/DB Tighe Beck is likely to miss the game as he is nursing an injury said Cummings. There are some other Warrior players that are hurt and are on the mend.
“Injuries are part of the game at this time of the year,” said Cummings. “We have 65 guys on the roster. So when someone is hurt, it is up to the next guy on the depth chart to step up for us.”
Wakefield did a better job running the football last week against the Red Raiders. The reason why Wakefield didn’t run the football even more is that it was forced to go to the air in the fourth quarter to try and come back. Senior Paul McGunigle had 14 carries for 89 yards.
“I thought Paul McGunige and Zack Kane ran the ball well for us,” said Cummings. “We have more runnings backs that are getting healthy. Carmen Sorrentino has been looking good this week. He is coming back from an ankle injury. Will Shea will be back and he us a nice change up in the backfield. Alex Jancsy will also be back and he carries the ball well.”
Cummings has said backup QB Kobey Nadeau could see some playing with senior QB Ned Buckley lining up at wideout on some occasion to take advantage of the athleticism of the two Warriors.
“We need to open the toolbox and use everything at our disposal,” said Cummings. “This is like a playoff game for us. We need to get a win.”