Youth Football: Wilton seventh graders win showdown over New Canaan

Wilton Youth Football teams had the following results in Fairfield County Football League action from this past weekend:

Third grade

Wilton 14, New Canaan 8

Wilton continued its undefeated season with a hard-fought victory at home over New Canaan, improving its record to an impressive 6-0.

New Canaan started the first quarter strong, marching the ball downfield with precision. Despite powerful penetration from Wilton’s defensive line and tough tackling from the backfield, New Canaan’s eight-minute drive ended with a touchdown and extra-point kick.

Wilton immediately battled back with quarterback Charlie Calabrese putting the ball in the hands of Craig O’Neill, Jake Padilla, Kieran Wiseman and Emma VanHeyst. Behind a strong offensive line led by Hunter Lishnoff, Grant Stein, Max Totten, Lincoln Jones, Josh Meltzer, Evan Christianson, Theo Satrazemis and Phillip Mouracade, Wilton was able to power its way up the field with a series of first downs before being forced to punt.

The Wilton defense proved why it is a force to be reckoned with, shutting New Canaan down with powerful pass defense and dominating tackles by Marco Chila, Charlie Roy, Charlie Calabrese, Quint Furman and Blake Ongley.

Quarterback Calabrese once again took charge of the situation, handing the ball off to Craig O’Neill, who broke through three tackles before finding daylight, sprinting 80 yards into the end zone making the score 8-6. Unfortunately, Wilton was not able to convert the extra point.

New Canaan’s offense tried to expand its lead going into halftime, but Wilton’s defense was once again unrelenting, thanks to the strong play of Marco Chila, Mason Behar and Will Byrnes.

Wilton started the second half with the ball as the offensive line continued to give Calabrese and the running backs room to work. After a few rushes for small gains, Calabrese launched a 22-yard pass, connecting with Charlie Roy for a Wilton touchdown. Calabrese followed up by running in the two-point conversion, making the score 14-8.

Pressure by Wilton’s defensive line, including William McDonald, Lishnoff, Stein, and Totten, tackles by Wiseman, Trevian Goldman, O’Neill and Padilla, plus a crucial quarterback sack by Chila and Calabrese, helped keep New Canaan from scoring in the fourth quarter, solidifying Wilton’s win.

Fourth grade

Ridgefield 20, Wilton Blue 8

The game on Saturday was a lot closer than the final score would indicate. Big plays by Ridgefield were the difference, but the rest of the contest was evenly matched. Defense dominated the game, with the first four possessions of the game – for both teams – going three and out. On the next drive, however, Ridgefield broke through with a long touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage to go up 7-0.

The rest of the first half was back to tough defense on both sides, with Wilton getting tremendous stops from Cole Siegel, Liam Snyder, Luke Ginsburg, Liam Murphy and Nate Jackson.

Wilton came out of halftime strong, scoring on its first possession on a 60-yard touchdown run by Cael Dexter, who benefitted from great downfield blocking from his backfield mate, Jack Schwartz, and linemen Cole Galante, Jack Huntley and Liam McKiernan. Luke Ginsburg put the Warriors up 8-7 with a perfect PAT.

Wilton continued to play tough defense, with solid tackling by CJ Young, Maja Driscoll, Ryan Luchetta, Henry Soojian, Ryan Meenan, Ryan Stocker, Jaxon Thomas, Connor Boland and Ray Ferranti. Despite solid running from Charlie Keller, Will Cristini, Nate Jackson, Jack Schwartz and Luke Ginsburg, the Warriors struggled to get back to the end zone. In the end, it was two more big plays from the Ridgefield offense that ended the Warriors chances for victory.

Fifth grade

Wilton White 28, Weston 6

Unleashing an unstoppable attack, Ryan Smith and Levi Kaplan racked up over 100 yards passing and receiving through the air to lead Wilton White to a 28-6 win over Weston.

On the offensive front, the Warriors started off the game with a brutal ground attack, led by Cole Stephenson, Patrick Heffernan and Ryan Smith, as the offensive line sustained blocks and opened holes throughout the day for the backfield. Just when Weston seemed to have halted the Wilton drive, Smith and Kaplan connected for the first of their passing touchdowns. With the extra point kicked through the uprights by Francesco Tomas, the Warriors took an early lead and never looked back.

Much of the remainder of the day yielded the same results, as Smith connected with Connor Flanagan and Kaplan for two more passing touchdowns, with Kaplan scoring a rushing touchdown as well. Late in the game, running back reserves Charlie Caporrino, Jai Satsangi, Jack Kelly and Tyler Giannantoni contributed some big runs to Wilton’s offensive powerhouse.

Equally as impressive was the defense, which all but shut down Weston’s ground attack. Led upfront by Jason Costa, Quinn Silva, Connor Flanagan, Dylan Long, Aidan Shaw, Griffin Kovak and Eli Meltzer, with Colin O’Neill and Owen Theoharides as the inside linebackers, the Warriors stopped Weston in its tracks all game.

Next on the hit list will be New Canaan Red, as the Warriors look to build momentum going into the FCFL playoffs.

Sixth grade

Wilton Blue 19, Darien Wave 8

Wilton Blue played Darien Wave Saturday night under a full moon in a game that was dominated by Wilton.

Wilton’s defense held Darien to negative yardage in the first half. Defensive line pressure from Jamie Cristini, Andrew Kress, Will Soojian, Bobby Dipalma, Jake MacIntyre and James Flynn kept Darien on its heels. Defensive ends Nick Walden and Colin Randol pressured from the edge while Wilton’s backers swooped in for the tackles.

Wilton’s offensive line of William Drew, Luke Totten, Griffin Turner, Alexander Dempster, Jamie Cristini, Andrew Kress and Christian Kaczynski dominated the line of scrimmage.

Wilton scored three touchdowns in the evening, giving them a 19-0 lead late into the game. The first touchdown was on a Charlie Guglielmo run on Wilton’ sixth play of its first drive. Several long runs by Spencer Liston and Charlie Rath put Wilton in scoring position.

The second touchdown came on a 55-yard pass from Andrew Acosta-Rua to Caleb Rath on the second offensive series of the game. Spencer Liston added the third touchdown of the game on a 35-yard run and Xander Petrides ran in the point-after. Other notable plays in the game were a sack by William Soojian and an interception by Spencer Liston.

Seventh grade

Wilton Blue 20, New Canaan Red 0

Undefeated New Canaan Red came into Warrior territory looking to extend its first-place position Saturday under the lights. But Wilton Blue sent them back home in second place with a dominating 20-0 win. Wilton now sits atop its division in first place and a chance to win home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with another win next weekend.

The Warriors have rallied five straight wins with a variety of offensive sets, an aggressive defense, and a full team effort each week.

The Warriors drove down the field on the opening possession of the game with a nine-minute drive as Kevin Hyzy took a quarterback sneak in from the one-foot line on fourth down to go up 7-0 (after Dylan Smith kicked the extra point). Jake Sommer, Matthew Claps, Sean Wiseman, and Ben Calabrese took turns running inside the tackles and executing crosses on the 13-play drive against a tough and blitzing Ram defense. The offensive line, led by Connor Robertson, Dylan Smith, Eddie Keller, Quinn Kiss and Michael Breen, controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the drive, which wore down the New Canaan defense before Hyzy snuck in for the first score.

New Canaan tried to run their power stack on its first drive of the game but the Warrior defense, led by Matthew Giller and Craig Hyzy at ends plus George DiRicco, Keller, Sommer, Claps, and Kevin Hyzy at linebacker, stuffed the Rams to force a punt. After a shifty return by Mikey Longo, the Warriors drove to the Ram 40 with great drive blocking by Nevin Belanger, Calabrese, Daniel Doran, Ciara Garcia, and Michael Munrow, but New Canaan picked off a deflected pass to take over just before the half.

Once again, Wilton’s aggressive defense dominated the line of scrimmage with Michael Whitman, Giller, C. Hyzy, Robertson, Joe Schiavone and Smith stopping the Rams’ drive. At the half, Wilton led 7-0.

The Rams punted again in their opening second-half drive and the Warriors made them pay. With New Canaan clogging the middle, Sommer took a sweep around the left side and after three stiff arms galloped into the end zone for a 60-yard run. Smith’s extra point made it 14-0.

Now with New Canaan down by two scores and only one quarter left, the Rams took to the air. But with the rush of Robertson and Keller plus defensive back play from Wiseman, Longo, Belanger and DiRocco, who intercepted another pass this weekend, Wilton did not allow the Rams into Warrior territory.

Wilton closed out the scoring with a few minutes to go in the fourth quarter as Sommer took another sweep to the right, following a pancake block by Claps, and snuck in by the cone to make it 20-0 and seal the victory and first place.

Wilton plays the combined Weston-Aspetuck next Saturday to close out the regular season.

Eighth grade

Wilton Blue 14, Darien Blue 14

Despite a terrific defensive performance throughout the game, Wilton Blue gave up two big plays, including a long touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter, to tie Darien Blue 14-14 in FCFL action at Darien High School on Sunday.

Wilton’s defensive line of Ryan MacDougall, Brian Cipri, Christian Theoharides, Kyle Jordan, Brad Barker and Jack Carroll brought immense pressure to the Darien offense from the outset, with Barker stopping the ball carrier for no gain on the game’s first play.

After a punt, the Warriors took over on their 27-yard line but after one first down were forced to punt, resulting in a 79-yard return touchdown and a 7-0 lead for the Blue Wave late in the first quarter.

Things looked bleak for the Warriors when an interception was returned to the Wilton five-yard line. However, a huge stop for a four-yard loss by Jordan, another tackle for loss by Carroll, and great pass defense by Max Mannino gave the ball to the Warriors on downs.

The defense remained tough on Darien’s next possession, forcing a punt that resulted in a spectacular return. Matt Goldstein fielded the kick at the Darien 21 and then handed to Kiel Polito, who broke several tackles on his way to a 35-yard return to the Darien 46, where the offense began to gain traction. With the offensive line of Cipri, Barker, Jordan, Carroll and Trey Dexter opening holes and providing excellent pass protection, the Warriors drove down the field. Tough running by Goldstein and Jermaine Vincent was mixed with two pass receptions by Polito to get Wilton to the Darien 17. With time waning in the half, Everett Andersen’s pass was snagged by Mannino on the left sideline and and he took it into the endzone for a game-tying touchdown.

It is said that the best defense is a good offense, which the Warriors proved in the second half. With Vincent, MacDougall and Polito churning out yards on the ground, Wilton embarked on a 16-play, 11-minute, 24-second drive that consumed the entire third quarter. Connor Healey’s highlight-reel, 22-yard reception of an Andersen pass and two fourth-down conversions kept the drive alive. Vincent’s four-yard plunge and MacDougall’s kick put the Warriors up 14-7.

Wilton’s swarming defense, including Robert Rios, completely stopped the run, forcing Darien to the air, where they had more success, until Vincent tipped a pass which Mannino intercepted.

On their next possession, with just 2:15 remaining, Darien completed a 41-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass to tie the game at 14-14.

Running the two-minute drill, Andersen marched the Warriors all the way to the Darien 21 via the pass, but the drive and the game ended in with interception.