Eight Wilton Youth Football teams advance in playoffs

The Wilton Youth Football third grade team advanced to this weekend's Fairfield County Football League championship game, and seven other Wilton teams are also still alive and will play in the semifinals this weekend.

The Wilton third graders play Ridgefield on Saturday at noon at Fairfield Ludlowe H.S. in the title game.

Wilton also has two semifinalists in three age groups — fourth grade, fifth grade and eighth grade, while the Wilton White sixth grade team is also in the semifinals.

Below is a recap of last weekend's action:

Third grade

Wilton Blue 12, New Canaan Red 0
Wilton Blue shut out New Canaan Red , 12-0, in Saturday’s league semifinal game to advance to the Fairfield County Football League championship game.

The Warriors drove 60 yards for a touchdown on their first drive behind strong blocking by Liam McKiernan, Cole Siegel, Connor Boland, Maja Driscoll, Cole Johnson and Liam Murphy. Jack Schwartz capped the drive with a tough 15-yard touchdown run.

Wilton’s second scoring drive took 14 plays and most of the third quarter. Ray Ferranti, Nate Jackson and Charlie Keller picked up tough yards behind a strong line of Will Cristini, Phineas Wayland, Matt Garcia, Austin White, CJ Young and Jack Huntley. Wilton was able to convert two fourth-and-long situations to keep the drive alive – the first was a pass from Liam Snyder to Connor Burns for 11 yards and the second was a pass from Cael Dexter to Luke Ginsberg for 13 yards and the TD.

The Warrior defense, which has been terrific all season, did the rest, allowing just four first downs on the Rams seven offensive drives. Jake Burns, Ryan Luchetta, Luke Perna, Cole Galante, Ryan Stocker and Jaxon Thomas all had key tackles for the Warrior defense.

Wilton plays Ridgefield Black on Saturday in the FCFL championship game.

Fourth grade

Wilton Blue 22, Darien Wave 0
Under the Saturday night lights of Fujitani Field, Wilton Blue beat Darien Wave in its second match-up of the season, 22-0. This was Wilton Blue’s first playoff game.

Darien started with the ball, and good defensive plays by Thomas McDonald, Jack Williams and Will Fisher led Wilton to force Darien to punt. Wilton’s first offensive possession was a solid drive down the field with great protection by the strong offensive line of George Papakosmas, Eli Meltzer, Hunter Crowell and Lorenzo Caratozzolo. Jack Costello had a key fourth down conversion to the one-yard line. Luke DiRocco took a sneak up the middle to score Wilton’s first touchdown of the game, and Todd Woodring kicked for the extra two points. At the end of the first quarter, Wilton led 8-0.

The second quarter saw Darien drive down the field to Wilton’s 30-yard line only to be picked off by Woodring. On its second possession, Wilton punted and Darien again pushed down the field to Wilton’s one-yard line, but was stopped by Wilton’s defense including Dillon Bhutani and Aidan Shaw. Cole Montanaro, Jack Kelly and Carter Stephenson each contributed with strong blocks and tackles. Wilton ended the first half leading 8-0.

Wilton started the second half with the ball and would not give it up for almost the full third quarter. Wilton drove down the field with nice runs by Costello, Woodring and Wyatt Jones. Wilton had another critical fourth down conversion, this time on Darien’s 27-yard line. Near the end of the third quarter, Wilton scored its second touchdown and Henry Roy kicked a two-point conversion.

Darien started the fourth quarter with the ball, ran three plays and was forced to punt. Jack Lauricella successfully disrupted Darien’s play several times. Wilton drove down the field and capped off the drive with a touchdown reception by Harry Polito.

Wilton was up 22-0, and on Darien’s last possession they were forced to punt and did not have first down in the second half.

Wilton Blue advanced to the semifinals, and will play New Canaan Red on Saturday morning in New Canaan.

Fifth grade

Wilton Blue 26, Darien Blue 20
On a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, Wilton Blue met Darien Blue in the FCFL quarterfinals. Darien started with the ball and drove to midfield only to turn it over as a big hit by Cristini and Walden caused a fumble that was recovered by Totten. Wilton’s offense was able to capitalize on the short field and score on a six-play drive. Power runs by Capone, Liston and Stengrim behind the Wilton’s offensive line of Burke, Totten, Turner, Enman, Cristini, Kress and Randol moved the ball to the four-yard line, where Acosta-Rua was able to punch it in for the first score of the day. Wilton failed to convert the extra point, making the score 6-0.

The remainder of the first half was a battle for field position. Solid defensive play by Garcia, Cristini, Kress and Guglielmo kept Darien from putting together any sustained drive.

Wilton started the second half with the ball and shortly after crossing midfield turned the ball over on downs. On the second play of its drive, Darien broke a 52-yard touchdown run up the middle to even the score at 6-6. A perfectly read interception in the end zone by Guglielmo kept Darien from converting on its extra-point attempt.

Wilton’s next offensive series started with a 45-yard screen pass being called back for a block in the back and putting Wilton deep in its own territory. After failing to move the ball, Wilton was forced to punt the ball away. Darien, starting on Wilton’s 42-yard line, broke the first play of the series to score its second touchdown of the afternoon and after kicking their two-point conversation went ahead 14-6 to end the third quarter. After an eight-play drive, Wilton again turned the ball over on downs.

With the clock winding down, Wilton needing a big defensive stop and got one, forcing Darien to punt. Solid defensive playing by Kress, Randol, Montanero, Snyder and Turner kept Darien contained. Starting on their own 30-yard line, the Warriors put together a 10-play drive, leaving them with a fourth-and-goal from the seven-yard line. Charlie Gugliemlo took the ball on a blast up the middle behind the lead blocking of Stegrim, Cristini and Kress and punched the ball into the end zone, but only after making the Darien’s middle linebacker miss and running over their safety at the goal line. Acosta-Rua kicked the two-point conversation to tie the game at 14-14. Wilton defense held off Darien’s final drive to end regulation at 14-14.

Darien took the ball first in overtime and scored on the first play from scrimmage but failed to convert on the extra point. Now Wilton needed to score. After blast up the middle Wilton found itself with fourth-and-goal with the game on the line. Acosta-Rua took the ball, cut inside and pitched the ball to Liston, who ran into the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 20-20. Wilton’s point-after missed, ending the first overtime period.

In the second overtime, great defensive plays by Walden, Capone and Guglielmo kept Darien out of the end zone. Wilton now had the ball and an opportunity to win the game. Two runs by Liston put Wilton on the five-yard line and then a touchdown blast up the middle by Petrides ended the game.
Wilton White 24, Darien White 0
The Wilton White Warriors won their quarterfinal playoff game by defeating Darien White 24-0 this past Saturday at Fujitani Field. Once again Wilton’s defense was the story of this game, posting its fifth shutout of the season. Jackson Duncan and Jake Masek led the defensive charge with numerous tackles and pressuring the Darien quarterback all game. Darien’s running attack was stopped by linebackers William McCormack and William Sullivan. Safety Ryan Preisano had an awesome diving interception in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Matthew Dooley did a great job containing his side. Defensive lineman Jackson Kreter, Zachary Krawitz, William Soojian and Carter Galante held the line.

Wilton’s offense scored on its first possession, driving the ball 70 yards, capped off by a 25-yard touchdown run by Tommy McKiernan. Wilton’s second touchdown came off of the heads-up stripping of the football from a Darien running back by defensive end George Hahn. Linebacker Tommy McKiernan picked up the loose ball and ran it back 30 yards for the defensive touchdown. Halfway through the second quarter fullback William Sullivan ran 13 yards for another Wilton touchdown. Michael Wall continued his steady kicking by converting all three two-point conversion kicks.

Offensive lineman Connor Sweeney, Andre Wiest, Michael Byrnes, Jake MacIntyre and William Drew blocked Darien defenders down the field. James Flynn crack blocked from the split-end position perfectly.

Wilton moves on to the semifinals this weekend, hosting New Canaan Black at Fujitani Field.

Sixth grade

Wilton White 7, Darien White 0
Wilton White (6-2) advanced to next week’s divisional championship game with a 7-0 victory over two-time champion Darien White.

Wilton was led by its defense which forced four fumbles, with three recovered by the Warriors. Tyler Hough had two forced fumbles, while Grant Masterson, Dominic Roberts and Mikey Longo played parts in the rest. Darien’s fumbles were recovered by Joe Schiavone, Masterson and Roberts.

The defensive secondary of Longo, Sean Wiseman and William Ryan made numerous touchdown-saving tackles in the shutout, while linebackers Eddie Keller, Masterson, Roberts, and Ryan Jackson were relentless throughout. The stout defensive line consisted of physical, ‘take no prisoners’ play by Kieran O’Neill, Ryan Farrar, Michael Breen, Schiavone, Charlie Fisher, Ryan Keenan and Brennan MacGregor. Matthew Giller and Hough held firm at defensive end to limit the big play.

Offensively, QB Grant Masterson, despite being under constant blitz pressure, amassed almost 150 yards rushing on 21 carries, including big plays of 36, 24 and 25 yards on broken play scrambles. On Wilton’s lone touchdown drive, Masterson carried four times for 70 yards, punching it in as a running back from six yards out. Masterson kicked the extra point.

Running backs Wiseman and Longo added big plays of 26 yards and 18 yards, respectively. The offensive line of Chris McCann, Ben Pond, Andrew Pelicano, Schiavone, O’Neill, Breen, Farrar, Jackson and Keenan fought hard for the Warriors.

Wilton takes on Darien Wave next weekend for the right to play in the FCFL championship game.

Eighth grade

Wilton White 3, Westport North 0
Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a team effort, that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

That spirit of selfless commitment towards a common goal could not have been demonstrated any more clearly than by the efforts of the Wilton White eighth grade football team.

The young Warriors faced a tough opponent in Westport and a hostile home crowd. The Westport Wreckers were the number one seed going into the Fairfield County Football League playoffs, and came ready to defend that position.

The first half ended scoreless. Early in the second half, QB Jake Zeyher passed to Tucker Walden, who caught the ball in a sea of Westport jerseys and turned up field for a 15-yard gain. Unfortunately, the Warriors were unable to capitalize on this terrific effort.

Later in the second half, the Warriors ran a QB option where Drew Phillips pitched to Matt Dooley, who scampered for more than 30 yards. Unfortunately, the Warriors failed to capitalize on the play.

Late in the fourth quarter, Westport was forced to punt from deep in its own territory. The punt was caught by Mercer, who handed off to Phillips on a reverse. Phillips returned the ball to the three-yard line. Failing to score again, Wilton turned the ball back over to Westport.

The Wilton defense held and forced Westport to punt again. Mercer returned the punt to the Westport four-yard line, where the Warriors tried to punch it in for a touchdown. On fourth down and as time was running out, Jake Zeyher snapped to holder Tucker Walden as Luke Mercer sealed the victory with a field goal.

As is typical with these young Warriors, the victory was a team effort: R2 DiRocco, Jake Zeyher, Drew Phillips, Ryan Kauffman, Niko Kouvaris, Tucker Walden, James Wright, Griffin Morris, Jack DiRocco, Luke Mercer, Matt Dooley, Jake Kauffman, Nish Wangneo, Barrett Brown, Camilo Galeano, Stephen Kendra, Jack Santomero, Patrick Burke, Ciaran Smith and Cole Snyder.

The 3-0 win sends Wilton White to the FCFL semifinals. They play Fairfield Black this weekend.
Wilton Blue 28, Ridgefield Black 6
Achieving what no Wilton high school football team has managed in more than 20 years, the eighth grade Wilton Blue football team beat Ridgefield in quarterfinal FCFL action on Saturday.  And they did it in style, decisively defeating a heavily favored Ridgefield squad 28-6 in Ridgefield.

Sporting a gaudy 7-1 record and seven-game win streak, which included a 7-0 victory over the Warriors in the regular season, as well as the league’s stingiest defense which had surrendered just 7.4 points per game, Ridgefield figured to roll over the Warriors into the semifinals. As the first quarter unfolded it looked like they would be right.

With the Warrior offense struggling and unable to move the ball, Ridgefield was twice able to advance inside the Wilton 10 but with their backs against the wall, the Warrior defense stood strong. Dominick Polito, Kyle Hyzy, Jimmy O’Brien, Austin Andersen, Mathew Antonios and Jack Lenz each made or assisted on key tackles to turn the Tigers away on the doorstep.

Taking over on downs at the 15, the offense went to work on a gritty 85-yard drive. On third and long at the 16, Reilly Sullivan made an incredible, outstretched leaping catch of an Andrew Smith spiral at the 42, which ignited the fans and the team. After a brilliant busted play scramble for seven yards by Ryan Healey and a tough five-yard run by Hyzy into Ridgefield territory, the Warriors turned to Daniel Incao, Jake Fernandes, Cole Stephenson, Dominick Caratazzolo, Tate Falta, Dean Griffin and Spencer Reyes to pave the way for Andersen and Smith.  Pounding the ball on the ground, twice the Warriors converted on fourth down. Finally, on the 17th play of the drive, Hyzy hit Herve with a 21-yard TD pass to give the Warriors the lead.  Levi’s kick was good for a 7-0 advantage just two minutes before halftime.

Ridgefield took the ball in the second half looking to even the score, but a ferocious hit by Andersen on the first play of the half forced a fumble, recovered by Herve at the Ridgefield 30.  

Lining up against Ridgefield’s massive, man-sized defensive line, the tenacious Warrior offensive linemen Steven Tuin, Jimmy O’Brien, Jack Lenz, Jack Savarese, Noah Levi and Herve began to impose their will on the Tigers. Eight plays later, Andersen darted into the end zone from the eight-yard line for a 14-0 lead.

With time waning in the third quarter, Wilton’s lone serious defensive gaffe allowed the Tigers to complete an 80-yard catch and run touchdown on third and long. Undeterred, the defense mounted a furious rush on the extra point, resulting in a blocked kick by Levi, preserving a 14-6 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter, a 35-yard punt by Andersen gave the ball back to the Tigers, but at their own 16 with a long field ahead of them. Smelling blood, the Warrior defenders swarmed and Levi recovered another fumble at the seven-yard line. Wasting no time, Smith rolled left and fired to Sullivan, who made another leaping catch, this time for a touchdown and 21-6 lead.

To put an exclamation point on the Warriors’ dominant performance, two plays later Sullivan intercepted a pass at the Ridgefield 35. This time from the wishbone, the Warriors pounded the ball up the gut, forcing the defense to cheat to the middle of the field, creating opportunity through the air. Smith then connected on his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, a 27-yard strike to a streaking Jimmy O’Brien. Levi converted for the fourth time for an insurmountable 28-6 lead and rare Warrior football victory over the Tigers.