Youth football: Wilton teams advance

Wilton Youth Football team had the following results in recent Fairfield County Football League action:

Third grade

Wilton Blue 13, New Canaan Red 6

With a undefeated regular-season record of 7-0 and a convincing win in the first round of the playoffs, the Wilton Blue was looking to punch its ticket to the FCFL championship game. And they did so with the same shutdown defense and well-orchestrated offense which got them to this point.

New Canaan got off the a quick 6-0 lead when a running back broke a long run. The team then started to gain some momentum on solid blocking upfront by Grant Stein, Quint Furman, Charlie Roy, Max Totten and Theo Satrazemis and some strong runs by Kiran Wiseman, Jake Padilla, and Charlie Calabrese. Wilton then struck back for the equalizer with a 50-yard run by Craig O’Neill. Kieran Wiseman then converted the extra point with a tough run up the middle.

The second quarter proved to be a tough back-and-forth affair with some good tackling upfront by Hunter Lishnoff, Marco Chila and Lincoln Jones and some solid linebacker play from Blake Ongley, Calabrese, Padilla, and O’Neill. The secondary made some nice tackles led by Mason Behar, Emma VanHeyst, Will Byrnes and Trevien Goldman, and once again allowed no completed passes.

Calabrese then ripped off a long run helped by a solid block by Padilla and Wilton added to its lead with a tough five-yard run by Wiseman. William McDonald, Evan Christianson, Phillip Mouracade, and Josh Meltzer all provided some solid blocking. With New Canaan driving the ball just before half, Stein made two big tackles to end the threat.

The third and fourth quarters consisted of tough defense on both sides. A series of tough penalties were called against Wilton but the team overcame the adversity and ended the game on a big tackle in the backfield by Wiseman.

Coach Calabrese then made an inspirational speech to get the team fired up for a final push this week leading up to the championship game next weekend.

Fourth grade

Darien Blue 6, Wilton Blue 0

It was a defensive struggle between Wilton Blue and Darien Blue, with the Blue Wave coming out on top 6-0 in the FCFL semifinals. The Wilton defense was strong all day holding off Darien repeatedly, forcing punts, turnovers, or turnovers on downs on six of the seven possessions. Cole Siegel, Liam Snyder, Cael Dexter and Liam Murphy led the team in tackles, with 22 tackles between the four players, frustrating the Darien offense. Maja Driscoll, Ryan Luchetta, Ryan Stocker, and CJ Young all stepped up and made big tackles when the Warriors needed it most to stop the Blue Wave offense.

On offense, the line played tough all day led by Jaxon Thomas, Jack Huntley, Liam McKiernan, Ryan Meenan, Henry Soojian, Connor Boland and Cole Galante. The running game progressed the ball well led by Luke Ginsburg, Jack Schwartz, Charlie Keller, Ray Ferranti and Will Cristini, but Darien held the Warriors out of the end zone. The only scoring of the game came on the last play of the first half, when Darien completed a pass in the end zone, which proved to be the critical score.

Wilton Blue played their hearts out and finished their season strong.

Seventh grade

Wilton White 13, New Canaan Black 12 (OT)

It would not be a Wilton White game without last-minute drama. For the sixth time this season, the Warriors had the outcome of the game in their hands with less than a minute to go. This time around, they were down to a star receiver turned backup QB (who had not played more than five snaps at QB all year), and a backup kicker who hadn’t kicked a ball in a game all season.

Fortunately, they had the tight game experience, the outsized will to win, and a player named Joe deGrasse, and prevailed over New Canaan Black in overtime to advance to the FCFL semifinals.

Prior to all the late game drama, Wilton appeared to have things in control when on their first series they quickly stopped New Canaan on three downs, punctuated by a Cole Boniface and Tyler Hough sack. On Wilton’s first offensive play, QB Max Silva hit deGrasse on an 18-yard swing pass, and deGrasse then took three consecutive carries, behind the first-rate blocking of Will Ryan, Wade Steffens, Jimmy Luce, Ryan Jackson, Kieran O’Neill, Andrew Pellicano and Ryan Farrar, and jammed it into the end zone. A successful two-point conversation from Silva to Eli Ackerman was called back on an illegal procedure penalty. Wilton’s next attempt failed, leaving the score at 6-0.

Wilton’s defense continued to swarm the New Canaan offense and created a turnover when deGrasse knocked the ball loose, to be recovered by Silva. The defensive front of Ryan Keenan, Charlie Fisher, Chris McCann and Ben Pond, O’Neill, Farrar, Pellicano, Luce and Hough left no room to breathe, while the defensive secondary of Brennan MacGregor, Jackson Luther, Ackerman and Ryan batted down multiple passes. Unfortunately, the injury bug hit Wilton again when Silva injured his finger and was knocked out of the game on the last play of the half. Wilton, already without QB Grant Masterson (injured against this same New Canaan Black three weeks ago), was now relying on Ackerman and deGrasse to step in and play a foreign position. The game remained a 6-0 game until early in the fourth quarter when New Canaan finally scored. New Canaan missed the extra point kick and the game was knotted at 6-6.

Wilton rode deGrasse, who bulled his way to significant yardage, even completing a pass to Chris Calderone, but Wilton was unable to tack on any additional points. Fortunately, the defense held and the game went into overtime. New Canaan won the toss and elected to go on offense, scoring on their first play. The decisive extra point attempt pass failed, leaving the door open for Wilton. Wilton called deGrasse’s number on two carries and he once again delivered, equalizing the score at 12-12. The season now teetered on Calderone, who had to step in for Masterson and kick his first PAT of the season. With his father, coach Tony Calderone, handing him the kicking tee, Calderone confidently stepped to the ball, drilling it through the uprights for a thrilling victory.

Through all of their trials and tribulations of this season, the boys had learned how to win, at all costs.

Westport North 12, Wilton Blue 7

The Wilton Blue Warriors went into Sunday’s playoff game with six straight wins and the best record in the league. However, on Sunday, a Hail Mary pass with 40 seconds to go in the game was the difference as the Westport Wreckers shocked the Warriors with a 12-7 win in the FCFL quarterfinals. The Wreckers avenged a 20-7 loss earlier in the season. Most people say, it is always tough to beat a good team twice. Westport is the defending FCFL champions and they will continue their championship march next weekend.

These young Warriors should hold their heads up high as they stormed back from a one-win season last year and proved not only to themselves but to their coaches and families that they can play the game of football and they can play it well. This group never gave up. They worked hard at every practice and learned the true definition of playing a team sport that involves every kid on the field doing their job. They had winning attitudes and they learned how to pick one another up and fight for one another every down, every play. They became brothers of blue. They became family.

Wilton Blue is made up of the following group of special young Warriors: Nevin Belanger, Michael Breen, Ben Calabrese, Matt Claps, George DiRocco, Danny Doran, Ciara Garcia, Matthew Giller, Craig Hyzy, Kevin Hyzy, Eddie Keller, Quinn Kiss, Mikey Longo, Michael Munrow, Connor Robertson, Joe Schiavone, Dylan Smith, Jake Sommer, Sean Wiseman and Michael Whitman.

It goes without saying how proud we are of these tremendous young warriors. Congratulations to these players on a job well done.