Wilton rebounds, crushes Fairfield Warde
“You must get this taste out of your mouths right away. St. Joe’s was a better team than we were, but we helped them. We didn’t tackle and we made a bunch of mistakes. We can get better. But you’ve got to bring your best game next week against Warde.”
So said Wilton head coach EJ DiNunzio while addressing his team on the field right after the Warriors’ 56-14 home loss to St. Joseph on Sept. 27.
DiNunzio’s players listened. Wilton dominated Friday night’s road game, blasting Warde by a score of 42-6 at the Fairfield Warde Athletic Complex.
“We wouldn’t have allowed any points if I hadn’t made such a bad call at the end of the first half,” DiNunzio told his players after the game.
He was referring to a fake punt on a fourth-and-five play at the Warde 39. Punter Jack DiRocco had no chance as Mustang tacklers swarmed all over him for a substantial loss and a turnover on downs. The momentum the Warriors had developed in gaining a 14-0 advantage vanished.
Instead, three straight completions from Joey Gulbin to Hunter Rasmussen moved Warde to the Wilton 25. An eight-yard jaunt by Chris Idieu and then a 16-yard reception by Burt Lauterbach left Warde with a first and goal at the one. From there, Gulbin snuck over for a touchdown with 1:54 left in the second quarter.
It was, however, the Mustangs’ high-water mark.
Wilton stuffed the two-point conversion attempt, leaving the Warriors ahead 14-6. Although Warde forced a punt, DiRocco launched a long kick that was fumbled, with Trevor Martines recovering for Wilton at the Mustangs’ 1-yard line.
DiRocco then crashed over for the touchdown and Parker Woodring added the extra point (he was 6-for-6 on the night), putting the Warriors ahead 21-6 with 31 seconds left in the half.
Wilton (3-1) had built a 14-0 lead on Drew Phillips’ 32-yard touchdown run and an explosive 51-yard catch-and-run pass play over the middle from quarterback Jimmy O’Brien to wide receiver Kyle Hyzy.
After playing well in the first half, Wilton’s defense turned up the heat in the final two quarters. On Warde’s opening possession of the third period, defensive end Kyle Jordan sacked Gulbin for a 12-yard loss, leading to a punt.
The Warriors took over at their 34, and four plays later it was O’Brien to Hyzy again, this time for a 60-yard touchdown on the identical play over the middle that had resulted in their previous TD connection. Woodring’s PAT made it 28-6 with 8:26 left in the third.
Early in the fourth quarter, Wilton’s nine-play, 67-yard scoring drive effectively put the game out of reach. Consecutive receptions by Wooder Thoby — the first for five yards, the second for 40 yards on a beautifully thrown and caught 40-yard bomb — put the ball at the Warde 12. One play later, Phillips went into the end zone on a slashing six-yard run, and Woodring’s PAT made it 35-6 margin with 9:12 to play.
In desperation mode, Warde (1-4) went for a first down on a fourth-and-three from its own 22. DiRocco blew up the attempt with a 10-yard sack, then ran for a 12-yard touchdown on the very next play.
Ahead 42-6 with seven minutes left, DiNunzio was able to let his reserves close out the victory.
Wilton 42, Fairfield Warde 6
Wilton 7 14 7 14 - 42
Warde 0 6 0 0 - 6
Wilton - Drew Phillips 32-yard run (Parker Woodring kick), 5:53
Wilton - Kyle Hyzy 51-yard pass from Jimmy O’Brien (Woodring kick), 8:31
Warde - Joey Gulbin 1-yard run (two-point conversion failed), 1:54
Wilton - Jack DiRocco 1-yard run (Woodring kick), 31.3
Wilton - Hyzy 60-yard pass from O’Brien (Woodring kick), 8:26
Wilton - Phillips 6-yard run (Woodring kick), 9:12
Wilton - DiRocco 12-yard run (Woodring kick), 7:00