Youth football: Wilton third graders win title; fifth grade teams share championship
Three Wilton Youth Football teams claimed Fairfield County Football League championships last weekend, while two other Wilton teams advanced to the finals in their age divisions.
The Wilton third grade team won the FCFL title with a 12-0 win over Ridgefield last Saturday, while Wilton's two fifth-grade teams won their semifinal games and were named co-champions.
Two more teams remain in the hunt. In the sixth grade division, the Wilton White team advanced to the championship game with a 21-12 win over the Darien Wave last Friday. The Wilton White eighth grade team reached the finals after a 28-22 win over Fairfield Black last Saturday.
The two Wilton teams will play for the championship on Saturday at Ridgefield High School. The sixth grade team plays Westport North at noon, and the eighth grade team takes on Darien White at 3.
In the fourth grade division, both Wilton teams reached the semifinals but fell short of the title game with losses last weekend. Wilton White fell to New Canaan Red, 14-0, and Wilton Blue came up short against New Canaan Black, 20-8.
Wilton's other eighth grade team, Wilton Blue was ousted in the semifinals by Darien White, 21-7, last Sunday.
Wilton 12, Ridgefield 0
Wilton shut out Ridgefield, 12-0, to win the Fairfield County Football League championship.
The Warriors got on the board early, scoring on their first possession of the game. Luke Ginsburg, Connor Burns, Ray Ferranti, Nate Jackson and Charlie Keller got the ground game rolling behind solid blocking from Liam McKiernan, Cole Siegel, Connor Boland, Maja Driscoll, Cole Johnson and Liam Murphy. Jack Schwartz finished off the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.
On their second possession, terrific blocking from Will Cristini, Phineas Wayland, Matt Garcia, Austin White, CJ Young and Jack Huntley paved the way for Jake Burns to scamper 57 yards for a touchdown.
Wilton’s defense, which has been tough all year, held Ridgefield scoreless for the remainder of the game. Great tackling by Liam Snyder, Cael Dexter, Cole Galante, Luke Perna, Ryan Stocker and Jaxon Thomas kept the Ridgefield offense at bay all day. Ryan Luchetta had a critical interception on Ridgefield’s final drive to seal the win.
The third grade team finished the year undefeated with a 7-0-2 record.
Wilton Blue 22, Darien Wave 0
The staunch defense of Wilton Blue, led by Jack Lauricella, Harry Polito, Henry Roy, Jack Williams and George Papakosmos, shut out Darien in the FCFL quarterfinals.
Wilton scored on its first possession led by the running of Jack Costello and key blocks from Lorenzo Caratozzolo, Will Fischer and Eli Meltzer. Following a 20-yard run down to the one-yard line by Jack Costello, Luke DiRocco punched it in for the touchdown. Todd Woodring kicked the extra points for an 8-0 lead.
Darien’s next drive featured key tackles by Cole Montanaro, Aiden Shaw, Carter Stephenson, Jack Williams, Henry Roy and Jack Lauricella. Jack Kelly then made a goal-line tackle at the one-yard line to preserve the shutout going into the half.
Wilton then came out and chewed up the entire third quarter on an 18-play drive executed flawlessly by DiRocco. Todd Woodring, Jack Costello and Wyatt Jones grinded out the yards behind the blocking of Dillon Bhutani, Lorenzo Caratozzolo, Hunter Crowell and Thomas McDonald. Woodring then scored from the two-yard line and Roy kicked the extra points for a 16-0 lead.
After stuffing Darien’s offense again, Wilton marched downfield with a key 15-yard run from Stephenson to the Darien 20. DiRocco then rolled out and hit Polito with a perfect strike for another touchdown, which sealed the game.
Wilton Blue 31, New Canaan Red 12
Wilton Blue capped off its undefeated season with its best performance of the year, soundly beating New Canaan Red and securing their spot as FCFL co-champions along with Wilton White, who would also put a sound beating on their New Canaan opponent in the second game of the Wilton/New Canaan doubleheader.
Wilton started out with the ball and after a 12-yard run by Liston, punted the ball to New Canaan. Wilton’s first defensive play set the tone for what was to come when Lorcan Garcia blasted up the middle, beating a double-team block and crushing the New Canaan ball carrier for a three-yard sack. A tackle by Totten in the backfield and an incomplete pass forced New Canaan to punt.
Starting on its own 43-yard line, Wilton’s pounding ground attack behind the offensive line of Burke, Totten, Turner, Enman, Cristini, Kress and Randol went to work. A first down run by Liston and a 17-yard run by Capone moved the ball into New Canaan territory. On a third and 22 play, Acosta-Rua was able to connect with Turner for a 20-yard pass reception. A first down blast by Stengrim, a run by Capone, and a keeper by Acosta-Rua capped off Wilton’s 14-play scoring drive. Acosta-Rua connected with Stengrim to add the two-point conversion and go up 8-0.
New Canaan’s next drive was its most prolific of the afternoon although their ball carriers took many big hits. Play after play, Wilton’s defensive line of Walden, Cristini, Garcia, Snyder, Colavecchio, Montanero and Burke pounded the New Canaan ball carriers while Wilton’s defensive ends, Randol and Kress, offered no escape. After Kress batted down a ball that was almost intercepted, New Canaan was eventually able to get the ball over the goal line, yet failed to convert on the extra point attempt.
Wilton’s ensuing offensive series began with several power runs from Liston and Capone, setting up a 40-yard pass from Acosta-Rua to Stengrim. A 28-yard cutback run by Guglielmo behind key blocks by Montanero and Totten moved the ball to the New Canaan four-yard line, where Petrides would blast it in for Wilton’s second score of the day. A Stengrim run up the middle would add one more point.
New Canaan’s next offensive series was another decisive three and out, with a Montanero tackle and a Colavecchio sack ending the first half at 15-6.
New Canaan starting the second half with the ball was forced into a quick three and out after crushing tackles by Petrides and Cristini and excellent pass coverage. Wilton, starting on its own 40-yard line, moved the ball down field with a Liston 10-yard run. After Capone’s 16-yard run was called back for holding, Capone on the next play ran a counter play for 20 yards to the eight-yard line behind textbook blocking. A Stengrim eight-yard blast up the middle resulted in Wilton’s third touchdown and an Acosta-Rua kick made it 23-6.
Although New Canaan scored on its next drive, they would come up short on two-point conversion because of a goal line tackle by Stengrim. Wilton’s offense went to work one more time, doing what is has been able to do all year — chewing up yardage and clock. A 22-yard pass by Acosta-Rua to Turner added Wilton’s fourth touchdown of the afternoon. Acosta-Rua added the kick to bring the score to 31-6.
Wilton’s defense would come back in one more time to mop up and finish out the game and the championship season.
Wilton White 22, New Canaan Black 0
The White Warriors won their semifinal/championship playoff game by defeating New Canaan Black 24-0 this past Sunday at Fujitani Field. The Warriors finished a perfect 9-0 for the season. The semifinal game turned into a championship game when the Wilton Blue team defeated New Canaan Red just prior to White’s game. Both teams are co-champions of the FCFL fifth grade Junior Division.
Wilton’s defense was the story of the game, as it has been all season, posting its sixth shutout in nine games. Jackson Duncan and Jake Masek led the defense, pressuring the New Canaan backfield all game. The New Canaan running attack was shut down by defensive lineman: Jackson Kreter, Zachary Krawitz and Jake MacIntyre. Linebackers William McCormack, William Sullivan and Tommy McKiernan made tackles all over the field, chasing down New Canaan’s running backs. Tommy McKiernan had an interception. Defensive ends Matthew Dooley and George Hahn completely shut down the outside running attack. Safeties Ryan Preisano, Michael Wall and Andre Wiest played great pass coverage.
Wilton scored on its first possession driving the ball 55 yards, ending the drive on a 28-yard touchdown run by William Sullivan. Sullivan would score Wilton’s second touchdown on 10-yard run, capping off another 55-yard drive. The score at halftime was 14-0.
Wilton would put the game away with a seven-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run by Tommy McKiernan. Offensive lineman Michael Byrnes, Carter Galante, Connor Sweeney, Jackson Duncan, Jake Masek, William Drew, James Flynn and William Soojian did an outstanding job of blocking.
Wilton White 21, Darien Wave 12
Football is a game of momentum…just ask cornerback Mikey Longo and Wilton White. Longo sparked an electric comeback from a 0-6 deficit, with a 72-yard interception return for a touchdown. This put Wilton on the board for the first time midway through the third quarter and completely changed the mood at Fujitani Field. Grant Masterson kicked the extra point to put Wilton up 7-6 and there was no looking back.
After Wilton’s defense stuffed Darien on the next series behind the tenacious defensive line play of Kieran O’Neill, Joe Schiavone, Tyler Hough, Brennan MacGregor and Matthew Giller, Wilton got the ball back at the Darien 40-yard line. The offense kicked it in high gear when Dominic Roberts, William Ryan, Andrew Pellicano, Michael Breen, Chris McCann, Ryan Jackson, Eddie Keller, Ryan Farrar, Sean Wiseman, O’Neill and Giller started punching sizeable holes in the Darien defense. This helped QB Masterson carry the ball a series of times, leading to a 15-yard Masterson touchdown run and extra point kick, putting Wilton ahead 14-6.
Defensively, a midgame adjustment by Wilton created a new landmark named Sean Wiseman Island, when combined with Longo and Ryan, shut down Darien’s biggest threat. From there, linebackers Masterson, Roberts and Keller, as well as lineman Ryan Keenan, Quinton Kiss, Charlie Fisher and Ben Pond, gave Darien little room to run. Defensive lineman O’Neill was particularly effective at shutting down Darien’s dangerous counter offense.
Wilton’s offense was not to be outdone by the defense. A new offensive wrinkle called the “Pondo Special” on third and long, unleashed a Masterson to Giller pass play resulting in Giller racing 57 yards to score the final TD. Masterson’s kick was good, ending the game with a 21-12 victory.
Darien White 21, Wilton Blue 7
Six glorious years of youth football came to an end for an incredible group of young men on Sunday afternoon at Darien High School when, despite a valiant effort to the end, the eighth grade Wilton Blue Warriors fell to undefeated Darien White, 21-7, in the semifinals of the Fairfield County Football League playoffs.
Over the six-year span that is nearly half of their young lives, Wilton Blue won two FCFL championships, finished second in the league twice and never fell before the semifinal round, while compiling a spectacular 47-10-1 record, including a magic 10-0 season in 2011.
Wilton Blue was led by a core group of players, Austin Andersen, Dominick Caratazzolo, Dean Griffin, Kyle Hyzy, Dominick Polito, and Jack Savarese, who have played tackle football since third grade, and Tate Falta, Ryan Healey, Jack Lenz, Noah Levi, Cole Stephenson, Reilly Sullivan and Steven Tuin, who have played for five years, and were joined by newcomers Matthew Antonios, Jake Fernandes, Maden Herve, Daniel Incao, Jimmy O’Brien, Spencer Reyes and Andrew Smith.
Long after the Darien players had gone home, the Wilton Blue parents, coaches James Andersen, Mimmo Caratazzolo, Gregg Healey, Chris Hyzy, Carl Lenz, Joe Polito, Joe Savarese, Mark Smith, Craig Stephenson and Steve Tuin, and the players remained on the turf, embracing each other and savoring the last moments of a great chapter in their lives.
Since that first contest on a hot September day in 2010, when these young Warriors first went to battle together, they have grown through the game of football into outstanding young men, learned to be comrades-in-arms always there for each other, and become known throughout the league for being magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat. Wilton football fans are rightly proud to call them their own.