Wakefield resets for Burlington on Friday

BILL TIGHE (center) was greeted with a hero’s welcome to Landrigan Field as he flipped the coin before the Wakefield- Stoneham game on Friday night. Tighe was the head coach of Wakefield from 1958 to 1964. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Published in the October 1, 2018 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Bill Tighe was always going to be a tough act to follow.

The legendary Massachusetts high school football coach who ran the Wakefield program from 1958 to 1964 walked out to Landrigan’s midfield surrounded by cheers, looking more like an exuberant 24 than a fatigued 94. A Hall-of-Famer for Wakefield High and the Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association, Tighe led the Warriors to three and one half Middlesex League titles and coached six Wakefield Hall-of-Famers (Tom Stuetzer, John Shevlin, Richard Nardone, Fred Hupprich, Dick Defeo, and Richard North) during his seven years at the helm.

The shorthanded Warriors could have used an athlete like the two-sport star at BU.

Wakefield (1-3) was once again without captain Danny Marinaccio against Stoneham (4-0) on Friday night after his 94 rushing yards and two touchdowns led the team to victory over Wilmington the week before. The injury bug kept biting as Wakefield lost their other captain and starting quarterback Mike Lucey who went down while playing safety during Stoneham’s first possession. Add to that senior Derek Dimascio who was playing well as a fullback and nose tackle before exiting with an injury in the second quarter and the Warriors were facing a tall task to keep up with the explosive Spartans.

Stoneham, who entered the game averaging 39 points, set the tone with a calculating, efficient, nine-play 65-yard drive that culminated with a six-yard touchdown run by Seth Russell.

The Warriors did force a 3rd-and-4 from the 10 following nice tackles by Tucker Stikeman and Michael O’Keefe on first and second down, but Stoneham’s top back Christos Argyropoulos muscled a 5-yard run for a first down. Lorenzo Bell, who had a great game in Wakefield’s secondary, brought down Argyropoulos in the backfield on the next play, but Stoneham then faked a jet sweep to the hulking back and went instead to Russell who ran against the flow of the defense for a six-yard score and an 8-0 lead after a successful two-point conversion.

Following a Wakefield three-and-out, Stoneham rolled out an 11-play 73-yard drive that drained the first quarter and resulted in a touchdown on 4th-and-1 from the 10-yard line as QB Deshaun Chase converted on a keeper.

The Warriors struggled to move the chains all night against a tough Spartan line. Junior Joe Alden was tasked with replacing Lucey in emergency fashion at quarterback and freshman Aidan Sweeney was back in to get the bulk of the carries. Another Warrior three-and-out was compounded by a bad snap on the punt attempt, giving Stoneham the ball at the Wakefield 24. Argyropoulos made quick work of this drive, rumbling 23 yards on first down before punching in a 1-yard score for a 22-0 lead.

Wakefield had their best drive of the night on the following series, highlighted by a 27-yard dash up the left sideline by Sweeney, but a fumble on the next play gave Stoneham the ball at their own 42.

Argyropoulos stiff-armed his way to a 32-yard run which set up a 9-yard touchdown by Jonathan Neal and put the score at 30-0 going into halftime.

The second half was quick, with a couple of positives to pull for the Warriors, including a great defensive play by Michael O’Keefe. After a 26-yard reception by Argyropoulos in the third quarter, O’Keefe chased him down, ripped the ball out and recovered. Unfortunately, The Warriors went three-and-out four times in the second half and Stoneham got one more touchdown run from Argyropoulos to account for the final 36-0.

Wakefield will hit the practice field and the training room this week to get ready for Burlington (3-1) who beat Watertown on Friday, 20-0.