Senior RB Luke Martin runs for 222 yards and four TDs in win
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — How about that defense?
After surrendering 35 and 40 points this season to Lexington and Watertown, the Warrior football team has really turned things around on the defensive side of the football as it posted its second straight shutout with a 27-0 triumph over Stoneham on Friday night at Landrigan Field.
Wakefield evened its record at 3-3 overall and is now 2-2 in the Middlesex League Freedom division. Stoneham, meanwhile, fell to 2-4 overall and 0-4 in the M.L. Freedom division.
Defensively, the Warriors held the Spartans to 129 total yards (83 rushing, 46 passing) and kept Stoneham off the scoreboard. Wakefield also intercepted the ball three times and won the turnover battle, three to none.
While the defense had a terrific effort, offensively Wakefield was led by senior RB Luke Martin. Martin gained 222 yards on 16 carries and scored all four Warrior TDs. For the season, Martin has gained 745 yards on 105 carries and has scored 10 touchdowns.
“It was a good win. We challenged the kids on defense and they got another shutout,” said Head Coach Mike Boyages. “The defense bent but didn’t break. We have two wins in a row and we’re right back in the mix.”
On defense, senior linebacker Jack Brown, junior LB Zach Kane and junior DB Tighe Beck led the team in tackles with a six apiece. Senior LB Joe Cresta was next with four stops.
Brown also had a one of the two sacks with senior LB Ryan Burns getting the other.
Wakefield also intercepted Stoneham QB Brandon Cann three times with Beck and senior DBs Brian Dickey and Chris Calnan each getting a pick.
While Martin accounted for 222 of Wakefield’s 249 rushing yards, senior QB Anthony Cecere completed five of nine passes for 79 yards. One of those was a 57 yard completion to Beck which set up Wakefield’s third touchdown of the game, a one yard run by Martin.
Stoneham got the ball first and and went three and out. A shanked punt which went forward only three yards gave the Warriors great field position at the Stoneham 44.
Cecere gained four yards and then Martin ripped off a 19 yard gain. After no gain by Cecere and a 13 yard run by Martin, Wakefield had a first down and goal from the Spartan 8. But a pair of false start penalties and a 14 yard loss on a fumbled pitch resulted in Wakefield having a third down and goal from the Stoneham 23. Cecere fired a pair of incompletions on third and fourth down as the Spartans took over on downs.
Freshman RB Caleb Moriarity gained four runs on a third down and two from the Stoneham 31 for the Spartans initial first down of the game. But the drive stalled at the Stoneham 39 and the ball was punted back to Wakefield.
Calnan returned the punt 27 yards as Wakefield began its second set of downs at the Spartan 37. Martin took the ball in from 37 yards out as he ran to the left and then made a cutback to the right. The Stoneham defense over-pursued on the play as the Warrior senior raced into the end zone.
The PAT attempt was no good, but Wakefield led 6-0 with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
Stoneham answered with one of its better drives of the game at the end of the first quarter and into the second frame.
Junior RB Brendan O’Neil had runs of five and two yards to end the first quarter. Junior FB Rich Colarusso gained a yard on third down setting up a fourth down and two from the Stoneham 46. O’Neil gained five yards for the first down.
After a Cann incompletion and a one yard loss by O’Neil, Cann (five out of 12 for 46 yards) found senior FB out of the backfield with a seven yards completion setting up a fourth down and four from the Wakefield 43. O’Neil gained eight yards for the first down.
Toussaint then gained a yard and Cann found senior TE Shane Rhuda with an 11 yard pass and a first down. Toussaint then gained three yards but Cann was sacked by Brown on second down setting up a third down and 17 from the Warrior 30. Cann threw a pass intended for the corner of the end zone but Dickey intercepted the ball at the Warrior one yard line where Wakefield took over.
On first down, Martin gained five yards to give Wakefield a little breathing room as the Warriors went to their full house backfield formation with the offensive line doing a terrific job blocking. On second and five from the Warrior 6, Martin broke through the line with Cecere throwing the block that freed Martin for a 94 yard touchdown run to give Wakefield a 12-0 advantage.
Senior Joe Fazio rushed the ball into the end on the two-point conversion rush to give the Warriors a 14-0 lead with 4:31 left in the second quarter.
The offensive line included senior Brian Conroy, junior Logan Dunn, senior Eric Schilling, senior Pat Boyson, senior Alex Kane, senior Ben Joly and senior Dylan Brady. Junior Matt Mercurio and junior Mike Hakioglu rotated in on a regular basis from the sideline.
Colarusso gained seven yards to give Stoneham a first down on its next possession, but the drive stalled as a 47 yard punt back Wakefield up once again as it took over at its own six with 2:19 left in the first half.
Martin had runs of six, five and eight yards to bring the ball out to the Wakefield 25. From there, Cecere went to the air hitting Calnan with a three yard pass, Martin with a two yard loss on a screen pass and Dickey with a 16 yard completion for a first down at the Warrior 42. After an incompletion, Cecere found Beck down the right sideline with a 57 yard strike to bring the ball down to the Spartan 1. Beck dragged a pair of Stoneham defenders at least 10 yards and nearly brought the ball in himself.
On first and goal from the 1, Martin plunged into the end zone with 0.4 seconds left. The pass attempt on the two point conversion was incomplete as the Warriors headed to the locker room with a 20-0 advantage.
“Beck made a great catch and nearly scored on the play,” said Boyages.
Wakefield got the ball to start the third quarter and began its first drive of the second half at it own 39 yard line after an onside kick attempt by Stoneham went out of bounds. The Warriors picked up one first down after a pair of six yard runs by Cecere and Martin.
But a fumbled snap that Cecere recovered for a four yard loss and a fumble on a reverse that Calnan recovered for 11 yard loss resulted in the ball going backward. Also, Wakefield was flagged for unsportmanlike conduct after the reverse play as it had a third down and 40 from its own 21. After a four yard gain by Cecere, he punted the ball 41 yards as Stoneham began its first drive of the second half at its own 34.
Two plays later, Beck intercepted a Cann pass at the Wakefield 46 and returned it 14 yards to the Spartan 37.
Wakefield then held onto the ball for six minutes and had a 10 play drive which ate up most of the rest of the third quarter clock.
Martin gained four yards and then Kane had runs of 10 yards, five yards and two yards. Martin gained two yards setting up a fourth down and one from the Spartan 17. Cecere went forward for two yards to move the chains once again. Martin was stopped for no gain and then caught a five yard pass. On third down, Martin gained a yard setting up a fourth down and four from the Stoneham nine. Cecere’s pass was incomplete as the Spartans took over down downs.
“Stoneham gave us some problems with our spread sets and they hurt us with the blitz,” said Boyages.
O’Neil had runs of two yards and six yards as the third quarter ended and the fourth quarter began. Toussaint gained a yard setting up a fourth down and one from the Stoneham 18. Being down by three scores, the Spartans went for it and O’Neil gained two yards for a first down.
Toussaint had a three yard gain and O’Neil ripped off a five yard run. Toussaint then caught a 13 yard pass for a first down at the Stoneham 41. The Spartans fumbled the ball with O’Neil recovering the loose ball for a 12 yard loss. On the next play, Calnan leapt up and made a terrific interception of the ball at the Stoneham 35 as Wakefield took over.
Martin needed only one play to score his fourth touchdown of the night as he took the ball in from 35 yards out. Chris Sapanaro added the extra point to give Wakefield a commanding 27-0 lead with 6:16 left in the game.
Both teams put in backups on both sides of the ball and the one thing left Wakefield wanted to accomplish was to get the shutout. Starting at their own 43, the Spartans drove deep into Wakefield territory. Sophomore RB Nick Dickerson gained 10 yards for a first down, freshman QB Tre Pignone gained seven yards on a fourth down and six play to keep the chains moving, Pignone ran 10 yards for another first down and Dickerson gained two yards for a first down.
On first down and goal from the Warrior 8, sophomore FB Joe Dantona gained two yards. Stoneham then lost seven yards on second down as it fumbled with sophomore RB Joe DiBartolomeo recovering the loose ball. On third down, Pignone was sacked by Burns which wound up being the final play of the game as time ran out and Wakefield earned its second straight shutout.