THE WARRIOR line, including Anthony DeVito (67), Taaj Andrews (54), Liam Cosgrove (77) and Danny Hurley (60) will need to be relentless against and a big and physical Winchester team. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Published in the September 13, 2018 edition.


WINCHESTER — The Wakefield High football team travels to Winchester tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in search of a bounce-back win after falling to Reading in the season opener last week.

Winchester defeated Newton South 26-21 in week one behind a balanced attack, including two touchdown passes from quarterback Tony Fiorentino and a touchdown pass and run from Tommy Degnan.

Winchester, who is coming off a 3-8 season last year when they battled injures and illness for most of the year, looks strong again in 2018.

The Warriors beat the Sachems at home, 28-13 last year, thanks in large part to two long touchdown runs of 54 and 76 yards for the since graduated Henry Stikeman which gave them an early 14-0 lead.

Like last week against Reading, the Warriors will likely have a tough task ahead as they face a program with bigger numbers. Winchester was also much better at home last year than on the road, with all three of their wins occurring at Knowlton Stadium.

The Warriors pulled some positives from their week one 37-16 loss including the play of their top quarterback-receiver combination. Senior captain Mike Lucey threw for 129 and two touchdowns and also rushed seven times for 56 yards, just edging out his top target Michael O’Keefe (10 catches, 115 yards, 2 TD’s) for Daily Item Player of the Week.

O’Keefe made plenty of plays in all three phases for the Warriors and head coach John Rafferty liked to see Lucey continue to fight for yards late in the game.

The Warriors were without many key seniors including captain running back/linebacker Danny Marinaccio, tight end Derek Dimascio and wide receiver/defensive end Billy O’Keefe. It is unclear at press time if any of those three will be returning tomorrow night.

Winchester held a 20-0 lead against Newton South and halted a late rally from the visitors last week. Fiorentino, who actually made his first start at quarterback against Wakefield at Landrigan last year, connected with captain Matt Romagna for the first touchdown and later with sophomore Henry Kraft for their second score. Tommy Degnan, who plays everywhere for Winchester, found talented sophomore Brady Martin to make it 20-0. Like in the Wakefield game last year, Newton South had two long touchdown runs, one for 70 yards and one for 38 yards.

The Warriors will hope their offensive line including Anthony DeVito, Taaj Andrews, Liam Cosgrove, Dan LaMonica and Danny Hurley will be able to sustain running lanes against a defense that has a couple of anchors on the line. Head coach Wally Dembowski says the 2018 Sachems have the most size in the trenches he has had. Winchester will lean on captain and 2017 All-Star Joe Lepore who plays offensive tackle and defensive end. Cosgrove and LaMonica will need to be tough at the tackle spots to protect Lucey and open some holes for Wakefield’s running game including freshman Aidan Sweeney who flashed potential against Reading including a nice 15-yard carry.

Knowlton Stadium should provide a great atmosphere as the Winchester fans still get used to having permanent lights on the field, installed in the offseason. The Warriors will certainly need a top effort, sustained through four quarters.