NOLAN “OAK” O’CALLAHAN (9) tracks down Somerville’s explosive receiver Miyard Joseph. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)

Published in the October 30, 2018 edition.


WAKEFIELD — In week one of the non-playoff bracket the Wakefield Warriors matched up with Somerville High School on Friday night at Landrigan Field.

Wakefield was coming off their second win of the season, while the Highlanders were still looking for their first win of 2018.

The Highlanders’ record was plenty deceiving as they played a difficult schedule this year with five (Peabody, Lynn English, Gloucester, Beverly, Revere) of their seven opponents making the playoffs.

It was a close game throughout. Somerville took an 11-7 lead into halftime and the Warriors cut the deficit to three (18-15) at the beginning of the 4th quarter. Somerville would score on their next possession behind a huge fake punt conversion on 4th-and-8 from their own 38. They scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass on the next play, and while the Warriors did score on their final drive, time ran out on a comeback attempt.

Wakefield struck first on the opening possession of the game with a 16-play nearly ten-minute scoring drive. Freshman running back Aidan Sweeney (20 carries, 97 yards) ) ran for 56 yards on the drive and finished it with a 1-yard touchdown run.

Joe Bernabeo made a great play on the ensuing kick-off to trip up a quick Somerville returner and get the bench going but the Highlanders displayed a high-octane passing offense that got the ball down to the 7-yard line in a hurry. A 7-yard touchdown run and botched point after attempt that the holder actually picked up and ran in to the end zone made it an 8-7 lead for Somerville.

Wakefield’s last two drives of the half stalled and Somerville added three on a 30-yard field goal to make it 11-7 at the break.

Wakefield’s defense started the third quarter by forcing a three-and-out but Wakefield’s offense couldn’t get anything going, giving the visitors great field position on their own 48 to start a lightning-quick seven-play drive that resulted in a 10-yard touchdown and an 18-7 lead for Somerville.

Wakefield’s offense went to work on their next drive sparked by running back Tucker Stikeman who entered the game for Sweeney who was hurt on the previous drive.

Stikeman (11 carries, 68 yards) rushed six times for 42 yards on the drive and finished the game with a 6.2 yards per carry average.

On 3rd-and-goal from the 3, captain Mike Lucey battled through multiple hits to dive into the end zone for a touchdown. Lucey then connected with junior receiver Michael O’Keefe on the two-point conversion to make it 18-15 with 10:23 remaining.

The fake punt occurred on the next drive, and it could be argued that it won the game for Somerville, who swiftly capitalized on the momentum for a 52-yard pass-and-catch on the very next play. The Warriors stalled at Somerville’s 43 on their next drive and the Highlanders converted again on a long touchdown pass this time for 58 yards to make it 32-15.

Wakefield struck on their final drive behind two big passing plays from Lucey (10/22, 98 yards) to O’Keefe (6 Rec. 75 yards). Lucey found O’Keefe for a 20-yard touchdown and Stikeman converted on the two-point conversion but time ran out on the Warriors.

Wakefield (2-7) will head to Lynnfield (1-8) on Friday night for another non-playoff game.