Youth football: Two Wilton teams earn top seed for playoffs

Wilton Youth Football teams had the following results in action from last weekend:

Third grade

Wilton 14, Westport 6

With a record of 6-0, Wilton was looking to complete its undefeated run to cap off the regular season.

Westport got off to a quick 6-0 lead when their running back broke a long run after what seemed to be a defensive stop. The team was not discouraged and moved the ball well through runs by Craig O’Neill, Jake Padilla, and Kieran Wiseman. Wilton then struck back with a long run by Charlie Calabrese that was made possible by the great blocking of the line anchored by Charlie Roy, Theo Satrazemis, Grant Stein, Quint Furman, and Curtis Jackson. Wiseman then converted the extra point on a tough run down the middle.

The second quarter proved to be a tough back-and-forth affair, with turnovers on both sides including an interception by Calabrese and fumble recovery by O’Neill. O’Neill then ripped off a long run on a fake reverse and some strong blocking up front by Max Totten, William McDonald, Hunter Lishnoff and Lincoln Jones. Padilla then ran in the extra point on a quick sweep, giving Wilton a 14-6 lead.

And that lead would stand due to Wilton’s shutdown defense anchored up front by Stein, Marco Chila, Evan Christianson and Philippe Mouracade. The powerful linebacker core of Blake Ongley, Calabrese, Padilla and O’Neill shut down any chance for a long run and safeties Trevian Goldman, Mason Behar, Will Byrnes and Emma Van VanHeyst ensured that Westport completed no passes on their watch.

Wilton (7-0) now heads into the Fairfield County Football League playoffs as the number-one seed.

Fourth grade

New Canaan Black 20, Wilton Blue 0

In the cold rain on Saturday, the Wilton Blue struggled to get the ball in the end zone against a tough New Canaan Black team. New Canaan started out fast with a touchdown on the second play of the game. Wilton responded with some tough running from Luke Ginsburg, Jack Schwartz, Charlie Keller and Cael Dexter, behind a strong line of Liam McKiernan, Henry Soojian, Jaxon Thomas, Ryan Meenan, Jack Huntley, CJ Young and Cole Galante, but three turnovers dashed their chances of scoring.

The Warriors’ biggest play of the day came from Will Cristini as he took the handoff 40 yards up the sideline. The defense came through to hold New Canaan on the next few possessions with big stops from Liam Snyder, Cole Siegel, Nate Jackson, Raymond Ferranti, Maja Driscoll and a touchdown-saving tackle by Jack Schwartz on the last play of the first half. Two more big plays by New Canaan resulted in touchdowns and the Rams won 20-0.

Fifth grade

Wilton White 24, New Canaan Red 6

Wilton White wrapped up the regular season with a dynamic 24-6 win over New Canaan Red. The first two touchdowns scored by Cole Stephenson were made possible by aggressive offensive lineman Jason Costa, Connor Flanagan, Levi Kaplan, Colin O’Neill, Eli Meltzer, Peter Reyes, Quin Silva, Ryan Smith, Owen Theoharides and Francesco Tomas clearing the field and creating holes with powerful blocking to allow completion of both runs. On the field the defensive line was hard at work allowing almost no yardage to the New Canaan throughout the game. Tackle after tackle, the defensive line including Aidan Shaw and Jack Kelly knocked New Canaan Red off its feet.

The second half opened with the Warriors on the offensive but fumbling the ball away. A tremendous tackle by Peter Reyes and Eli Meltzer helped get the ball back to Wilton. Small gains balanced with yardage loss dominated the third quarter. Jason Costa, Charlie Capporino, Will Fischer, Griffin Kovak, Colin O’Neill and Jai Satsangi held their positions fiercely. With three minutes left in the quarter, New Canaan threw a pass that Connor Flanagan plucked out of midair. He made a hard run for the end zone, scoring the third touchdown of the game.

For each touchdown scored, Levi Kaplan lined up and kicked the field goal. He contributed six extra points.

The fourth quarter was a ground fight. Towards the end of the quarter, an incredible tackle by Will Fischer with an assist by Dylan Long stopped New Canaan in its tracks.

Wilton White now move on to the playoffs next weekend.

Sixth grade

Wilton Blue 35, Weston 19

Wilton Blue met the Weston Trojans Saturday afternoon for its last game of the regular season. Weston started out with the ball but a quick fumble recovery by Xander Petrides gave Wilton the ball on the Weston 25-yard line. After a 24-yard pass from Andrew Acosta-Rua to Caleb Rath and a Quinn Stengrim blast into the end zone, Wilton was quickly on the board. Spencer Liston added the point-after and with 8:15 left in the first quarter Wilton was up 7-0.

Three plays later, the Trojans answered with a 65-yard touchdown run and a successful point-after to tie the score at 7-7. Wilton was forced to punt on its next offensive series and put its trust in their defense. Wilton’s defensive line of Will Soojian, Andrew Kress, Bobby DiPalma, Jake MacIntyre and Jamie Cristini put pressure on Weston’s backfield while Quinn Stengrim and Nick Walden came up with big tackles to force Weston to turn the ball over on downs. Starting on their own 40-yard line, the Warriors put together a 12-play drive to score their second touchdown of the game. Runs by Spencer Liston and Charlie Guglielmo behind key blocking from Griffin Turner, Jamie Cristini, Luke Totten, William Drew, James Flynn and Andrew Kress moved the ball down the field and set up a Quinn Stengrim touchdown blast to bring the score to 13-7.

With 1:43 left in the half, Wilton once again forced Weston to turn the ball over on downs. This time it was Colin Randol and Will Soojian with the big defensive plays. Two big runs from Charlie Guglielmo and Spencer Liston and a 35-yard pass from Andrew Acosta-Rua to Caleb Rath once again put Wilton on the one-yard line. Another Stengrim blast and a two-point conversion put the score at 21-7 at the half.

Wilton started the second half with the ball and put together a 16-play scoring drive that consumed almost all of the third quarter, with full back Xander Petrides carrying the bulk of the load. Most notable on that drive was the blocking of center Alexander Dempster, as eight of the 16 plays were successfully run up the middle. However, Weston answered back with a 70-yard touchdown run on its first offensive play of the half and brought the score to 28-13. Wilton put together one more scoring drive with big runs by Charlie Rath and Spencer Liston behind very good blocking, including several key blocks from tight end Christian Kaczynski. Weston added one more score before Wilton could run out the clock.

Seventh grade

Ridgefield Black 14, Wilton White 12

Sometimes you can learn more about a team in a loss than in a victory, although winning is a lot more fun. Wilton White, now 4-3 on the season, held the lead against first-place, 6-1 Ridgefield Black for the majority of the game. With roughly two minutes to go in the game, the Warriors had a first and goal from the Ridgefield seven-yard line after a Jimmy Luce interception and were looking to go up by two touchdowns. Instead, after being stopped on four downs, Ridgefield scored three plays later with less than 30 seconds remaining on a 60-yard play.

All three of Wilton’s losses have occurred with less than a minute left to play. These battles, however, have brought the team together and despite the loss, Wilton locked up second place in its division and a first-round playoff bye.

After Ridgefield scored on its first drive, Wilton immediately punched back and drove the ball 70 yards behind the tough running of Joe deGrasse and the powerful blocking of Ryan Farrar, Chris McCann, Andrew Pellicano, Kieran O’Neill and Luce. Wilton scored on a 15-yard bootleg pass by QB Max Silva to receiver Will Ryan. The extra point attempt failed. Back on defense, Silva made two tackles, setting up a interception by deGrasse.

Wilton quickly moved the ball behind a short pass to deGrasse and a 15-yard connection to Eli Ackerman. On the ensuing play, Silva’s play-action pass connected to tight end Tyler Hough for the seven-yard touchdown after Cole Boniface’s sack-saving block. Again, the two-point attempt failed, eventually becoming the difference in the score.

Wilton’s defense shone throughout with the defensive secondary of Chris Calderone, Brennan MacGregor, Jackson Luther, Ryan and Ackerman limiting the Ridgefield passing attack. The defensive line of Ryan Keenan, Ben Pond, Charlie Fischer, Luce, O’Neill, Farrar, Boniface and Pellicano played incredibly tough against the physically larger Ridgefield offensive line. On offense, centers Ryan Jackson and McCann executed their shotgun snaps flawlessly, despite the rain and wind. Running backs deGrasse, Wade Steffens and Boniface were perfect with their ball security.

Wilton will use the bye week to continue to adjust its offense and defense following the loss of QB and linebacker Grant Masterson to a knee injury the previous week.

Wilton Blue 33, Weston-Aspetuck 12

Wilton Blue capped off the regular season with its sixth straight victory, the number-one seed for the playoffs, and a 6-1 overall record as the Warriors ran all over the combined Weston-Aspetuck squad, 33-12.

Jake Sommer took the second play of the game around the right side for a 65-yard touchdown, sealed by crushing blocks by Matt Claps, Sean Wiseman and Craig Hyzy. The Warrior defense held Weston-Aspetuck to negative yards on its opening possession. Tackles for losses by Eddie Keller, Michael Whitman and Dylan Smith forced a punt. Matthew Giller caught the punt and ran down the left sideline for 30 yards to give Wilton’s buffalo-power offense another shot at the end zone. Shifty runs by Wiseman, Ben Calabrese and Mikey Longo moved the ball down to the 20-yard line. Two straight handoffs from Kevin Hyzy to Claps rumbling up the middle provided the opportunity for a dancing Calabrese to go off-tackle into the end zone for a 12-0 Wilton lead. The rhino-like charging line of Quinn Kiss, Joe Shiavone, Michael Breen, Smith, Whitman, Keller, Michael Munrow, Daniel Doran and Giller opened holes and bulldozed Weston-Aspetuck’s stout line all game long.

Another forced punt allowed Longo to return it 25 yards, which set up a series of new running backs (14 different ball carriers) galloping downfield. In addition to the five horsemen of Sommer, Claps, Wisemen, Calabrese and Kevin Hyzy, 10 other runners had carries during the game, including Keller, Whitman, George DiRocco, Nevin Belanger, Craig Hyzy, Longo, Doran, Munrow, Smith and Ciara Garcia. This diversified running attack set up a Kevin Hyzy to Craig Hyzy 25-yard touchdown pass off of a fake power sweep to DiRocco to put the Warriors up 19-0.

Weston-Aspetuck scored on a long drive after a couple of defensive penalties to close within 13 points at 19-6. The Warriors went to the ground-and-pound game again but this time it was Wiseman who executed a Z shoot up the middle for a 12-yard touchdown behind Kiss, Breen and Schiavone. Smith’s extra point make it 25-6 at the end of the third quarter.

The Trojans would not quit as they came back to score on the next possession to make it 25-12.The next drive for the Warriors sealed the win but it also displayed the team-first attitude of every player. Successive runs by the five horsemen and a final sweep out of bounds at the one-yard line set up a quarterback sneak for DiRocco (five different players scored in the game and nine in total for the season) to make it 31-12. With a chant from the whole team of “Ciara, Ciara, Ciara,” Ciara Garcia came onto the field and plowed with her entire offense, bull-dozing together into the end zone for a two-point conversion.