Football: Big starts propels Warriors to 31-21 win over Warde
After failing to score a touchdown its previous game, the Wilton High football team's offensive unit wasted no time taking care of business at Saturday morning’s game at Fairfield Warde.
The Warriors took the opening kick and marched 77 yards in just seven plays to take a quick 7-0 lead, and scored on their next two possessions to lead 21-0 midway through the second quarter.
After that impressive start, the Warriors were content to control the clock by grinding out yardage and playing defense, with the end result being a 31-21 victory.
It was a nice bounce-back win for Wilton (2-1), which was coming off a lopsided 49-3 loss to Staples. Warde dropped to 1-2.
“I thought we executed real well today. When you’re the coach you want everything to go absolutely the way you want it to,” said Wilton head coach Bruce Cunningham. “I thought we played better in the second half than we have in previous weeks. We didn’t play smarter in the second half. We need to get that cleaned up.”
Wilton got another big performance from fullback Harvey Alexander, who ran the ball 25 times for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
The Warriors also had a career day from quarterback Brian Calabrese, who ran eight times for 71 yards and completed 5 of 7 passes for 105 yards and one TD.
On the defensive side, it was day to remember for defensive back Robbie Hermann, who had a school-record four interceptions in the game.
Wilton’s opening drive was highlighted by a 36-run by Calabrese, and ended in a two-yard run by Alexander less than three minutes into the game.
The Mustangs fumbled the ball on their first possession, with John Amato making the recovery for the Warriors. Wilton drove 45 yards, highlighted by runs of 14 yards by Kyle Phillips and 18 yards by Joe Murtha to get the ball inside the red zone. Calabrese hit Joe Scarfi with a 14-yard TD pass to make it 14-0 with two minutes left in the first quarter.
The Warriors’ third drive was keyed by a 30-yard pass from Calabrese to Murtha, and capped up by a nine-yard run up the middle by Alexander, as the offensive line (AJ Pykosz, Amato, Michael Wehrli, Norman Snyder and Jack DiNanno) continued to dominate the line.
Will Sullivan’s 38-yard field goal with about a minute left in the half made it 24-0.
The Warriors held Warde to only 36 yards in the first half, with three turnovers, while racking up 217 yards in offense.
“We came here two years ago and we had to play a game in the morning like this and we came out really flat. I was a sophomore then,” said Alexander. “Just seeing how that first drive affects the team, this whole week we’ve been preaching, ‘we gotta come out strong, we gotta come out strong. It doesn’t matter what time it is, it doesn’t matter how many people are here, just come out strong’. And that’s exactly what we did.”
With a big lead, Wilton looked to grind out yardage in the second half, mostly with Alexander pounding the ball up the middle, and eating time off the clock.
“When you get into this offense and we can get the ball in the endzone a few times, and then all of a sudden we can grind the clock out. That’s the key,” said Cunningham.
Warde quarterback Matt Cerminaro finally got the Mustangs on the scoreboard on a 22-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter. Wilton answered with a 68-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a 35-yard bomb from Calabrese to Herrmann. Phillips capped it off with a one-yard plunge to make it 31-7 with 5:01 left in the game.
Cerminaro threw a pair of TD passes in the final minutes to make the final score 31-21. The first was a 27-yard TD strike to Williams Stearns and the other was a beautifully thrown long pass to Qasim Danazumi for an 85-yard touchdown.
Cerminaro finished the game with 100 yards rushing on 14 carries. He completed 8 of 18 passes for 191 yards and two TDS, with four interceptions.
Pykosz and Andrew Luciano each had a sack for Wilton.
Wilton 31, Fairfield Warde 21
Wilton: Harvey Alexander two-yard run (Will Sullivan kick), 9:05;
Wilton: Joe Scarfi 14-yard pass from Brian Calabrese (Will Sullivan kick), 2:01;
Wilton: Alexander nine-yard run (Will Sullivan kick), 7:23;
Wilton: Sullivan 38-yard FG, 1:05;
Warde: Matt Cerminaro 22-yard run (Sebastien Colon kick), 10:25;
Wilton: Kyle Phillips one-yard run (Sullivan kick), 5:01;
Warde: Williams Stearns 27-yard pass from Cerminaro (run failed), 3:24;
Warde: Qasim Danazumi 85-yard pass from Cerminaro (Cerminaro run), :51.