Published in the October 20, 2017 edition

WAKEFIELD’S OFFENSE has averaged 18 points in six games. Pictured here, Henry Stikeman (15) takes a handoff from Mike Lucey (10) while Bobby Young (40) lead blocks. (Donna Larsson Photo)


WAKEFIELD — The Warriors are finally coming home to Landrigan Field after four long weeks on the road.

It was an up-and-down four games for the 2-4 Warriors as their only win came in a dominating performance over Burlington on Oct. 6. Wakefield lost to Wilmington, Stoneham and Woburn during their road tour around the Middlesex League.

It’s a good thing none of that matters anymore.

Wakefield hasn’t played at Landrigan since their September 15 victory against Winchester. The long layoff, combined with the playoff implications for the Warriors means that fans can expect a supercharged atmosphere complete with a swelling Red Sea student section.

Wakefield is currently the eight seed in the Division 4 North bracket. If the season ended now, the Warriors would travel to Melrose to face the top-seeded Red Raiders in the first round next week. A win over Watertown would bump Wakefield up past number seven Dracut who has a bye this week, and would most likely send the Warriors to Marblehead for the first round. While a loss won’t necessarily eliminate Wakefield from the playoffs, as 1-5 Revere sits behind them with a tough matchup against Somerville tonight, the Warriors would like to leave no doubts.

Watertown (3-3) comes to Landrigan on a two-game losing streak. They lost to Wilmington, 32-17, two weeks ago, and dropped a close contest to Stoneham, 27-23, last week. The Raiders have a dynamic offense with playmakers like RB Mange Camara and WR John Korte who will keep Wakefield’s defense busy.

“Camara is one of the fastest players in the Middlesex League. We have to identify where he is at all times,” said Wakefield head coach Steve Cummings. “We can not afford to let him loose in our secondary. They do a nice job of moving him around.  He will be at tailback one play and then split out wide on the next.  Coach Cacace does a great job of trying to utilize his skill set in different ways.”

Stoneham kept Camara at bay last week, which only opened the door for more weapons like senior co-captain running back Matt Muldrew who rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown.

Watertown’s defense has given up an average of 27.3 points per game over their six contests, which means the Wakefield offense should be able to move the ball either on the ground with running backs Ryan Fitzpatrick and Henry Stikeman, or through the air with quarterback Mike Lucey. Wakefield advanced the ball well enough against Woburn last week, especially in the first half when they moved the chains five times during their first two drives. The problem was turning those yards into points, as the Warriors surly emphasized sustaining drives during practice this week.

Wakefield’s secondary including Fitzpatrick, Andrew Miller and Michael O’Keefe, will have its hands full like never before with the 6’3 Korte, who has been a menace to cornerbacks all season.

“He’s probably the best wide receiver in the Middlesex League,” said Cummings. “Tall, fast, great sense of field space, great catch radius. They like to dial up combo routes where they can clear him into open space and he’s not afraid to go over the middle and catch the ball.”

Wakefield beat Watertown last year in overtime, 23-20, to snap a three-game losing streak against the Raiders. Last year, Most of the playmakers on both sides were seniors, meaning it will be a brand new game with a new cast of characters except for Lucey, who did have five completions for 84 yards, and the Warriors’ offensive line who returns all five starters. The Raiders also return the player who got last year’s game to overtime. Wakefield was leading 20-17 late when Watertown decided to send out Conor Kennelly for a 48-yard field goal. Kennelly crushed it through the uprights, and although the Warriors would go on to win, coach Cummings is well aware of how the senior kicker, and preseason Boston Herald first-team all star can change the game.

“He is as good a high school kicker as you are going to find in the history of this league,” said Cummings. “He has the leg to hit a field goal from over 50 yards.”

With the fate of the season hanging in the balance, the Warriors will need to earn it tonight. It’s a tough task against a good team. Landrigan Field, the wait is almost over.