Football: Warriors grind out 34-7 win over Ludlowe

The Wilton High football team scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter to build a 20-0 halftime lead, and went on to defeat Fairfield Ludlowe 34-7 on Friday night in Fairfield.

The Warriors, now 3-1, used the hard running of Harvey Alexander, Will Litton and Matt D’Elisa to grind out 231 rushing yards, behind the line of Anthony Sanzaro, Colin Carroll, Steffen Nobles, John Amato, Jack DiNanno and tight end Jack Dooley.

The Falcons dropped to 0-4 with the loss.

Ludlowe opened the game with a 43-yard drive, highlighted by a fake punt that gained a first down, but ended on the Wilton 27-yard line.

After the teams traded punts, the Warriors took over at their own 20 and marched 80 yards in 11 plays to score first on a two-yard run by quarterback D’Elisa. The big play of the drive was a 36-yard reception by Robbie Hermann, who out-leapt two defenders for a ball and took it down to the two-yard line. Will Sullivan’s PAT kick made it 7-0 with 8:39 left in the second quarter.

After an interception by Alexander, the Warriors took over at the Ludlowe 31 and moved the ball to the 13 after a 22-yard pass from D’Elisa to Alexander, who made a nice spin move after the catch.

Two plays later, Litton scored on a nine-yard run, and Sullivan’s kick made it 14-0 with 4:59 left in the half.

Penalties, which killed Ludlowe all night, erased a sensational 75-yard kick return by Brian Howell down to the Wilton five-yard line. Quarterback Josh Evans hooked up with Aidan Kudzy for a 39-yard pass play, but a sack by Litton killed the drive and forced a punt from midfield.

Wilton over at its own 40 and moved 60 yards in eight plays to go up 20-0 on an 18-yard TD run by D’Elisa with 31 seconds left in the half. A penalty early in the drive had nullified an interception by Ludlowe’s Ian Bartlett, that he had returned to the Wilton 34.

The Falcons’ first drive of the second half was their best of the night, as they marched 75 yards to get on the scoreboard on Howell’s six-yard run with 6:05 left in the third quarter. Evans completed four passes for 63 yards to spark the drive, with three of the completions going to Mike Logan.

Wilton answered with a 76-yard, 10-play drive that culminated in a three-run TD run by D’Elisa on the first play of the fourth quarter, making it 27-7.

The Falcons reached Wilton’s 19-yard line on its next drive, after a 17-yard pass catch by Kudzy, but Evans’ pass into the end zone was picked off by Chris Hyzy, who returned the ball to the 26-yard line.

Wilton, with Brian Calabrese now at quarterback, then embarked on an 11-play, 74-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes off the clock, ending in a 15-yard TD run by Alexander with 3:34 left to play.

For the night, Wilton unofficially out-gained Ludlowe in yardage, 329 to 272. Alexander led the rushing attack with 87 yards, followed by Litton (78) and D’Elisa (54). D’Elisa completed six passes for 89 yards and Calabrese has one completion for nine yards. Hermann had four catches for 57 yards. Getting one catch each were Alexander (22 yards), Litton (four yards) and Dooley (15 yards).

After being pounded by Staples’ running game in last week’s 42-6 loss, the Wilton defense allowed Ludlowe almost nothing on the ground in Friday’s game.

“We got back to playing the way we did in the first two weeks,” head coach Bruce Cunningham told Kevin Coleman of the HAN Network after the win. “The number-one thing we try to stress here is always stop the run first and we’ll take care of everything after that.”

The Warriors have a bye week next week, and then travel to St. Joseph on Saturday, Oct. 15 (2 p.m.).

“Being able to rebound off of last week, I’m really proud of the way the guys played and they way they responded and how we finished things off today,” said Cunningham.