Wilton 8-Blue 28, Ridgefield Black 6 [FOOTBALL]

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, Nov. 7. And they did it in style, decisively defeating a heavily-favored Ridgefield squad 28-6 in the unfriendly confines of Tiger Hollow 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 semi-finals. 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-yd. 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 5-yd. 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 Maden Herve with a 21-yd. TD pass to give the Warriors the lead. Noah 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, O’Brien, Lenz, Savarese, Levi and Herve began to impose their will on the Tigers. Eight plays later Andersen darted into the end zone from the 8 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-yd. 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 an eight point, 14-6 lead.

Early in the fourth quarter a 35-yd. 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 7.

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-yd. strike to a streaking O’Brien. Levi converted for the fourth time for an insurmountable 28-6 lead and rare Warrior football victory over the Tigers.

Wilton 8-White 3, Westport 0 [FOOTBALL]

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 8th grade Wilton White youth 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 8th grade post-season play 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 upfield for a 15-yd. 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 over 30 yds.. Unfortunately, the Warriors failed to capitalize on the play.

Late in the fourth quarter, Westport was forced to punt from deep in their own territory. The punt was caught by Luke Mercer who handed off to Phillips on a reverse. Phillips returned the ball to the 3-yd. 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 4-yd. line where the Warriors tried to punch it in for a touchdown. On 4th down and as time was running out, Zeyher snapped to holder Walden as Mercer sealed the victory with a field goal.

As is typical with these young Warriors, the victory was a team effort. Congratulations to these young men, including R2 DiRocco, Zeyher, Phillips, Ryan Kauffman, Niko Kouvaris, Walden, James Wright, Griffin Morris, Jack DiRocco, Mercer, Dooley, Jake Kauffman, Nish Wangneo, Barrett Brown, Camilo Galeano, Stephen Kendra, Jack Santomero, Patrick Burke, Ciaran Smith and Cole Snyder. The Warriors continue their championship drive next weekend.

Wilton 6-White 7, Darien 6-White 0 [FOOTBALL]

Wilton 6-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 their defense, which forced four fumbles, with three recovered by Wilton. 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, despite being under constant blitz pressure, QB Masterson, amassed almost 150 yds. rushing on 21 carries, including big plays of 36-, 24- and 25 yds. on broken play scrambles. On Wilton’s lone touchdown drive, Masterson carried four times for 70 yds., punching it in as a running back from six yds. out. Masterson kicked the extra point.

Running backs Wiseman and Longo added big plays of 26 yds. and 18 yds., 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 6-Wave next weekend for the right to play in the 6th Grade FCFL Championship game.

Wilton Boys U9-Blue 5-0 Over Norwalk Saturday; Win Naugatuck Invitational Sunday [SOCCER]

U9 Boys Blue 11-9It was another active weekend for the Wilton Boys U9-Blue team, which faced Norwalk in their final season game on Saturday, Nov. 7 before they headed into the Naugatuck Invitational on Sunday, Nov. 8.

The boys came out fast against Norwalk, with Mason Andrews, William Soucy, Curt Brichkowski and Evan Lalor leading the offense. Brichkowski opened up the scoring, followed by additional goals from Danny Aravena and Stefano Cross. Cross and Luke Perna added two more goals on setups from Grady Kaliski and Lalor. The team’s tenacious defense of Matthew DeMasi, Perna and Maddox Backman allowed few opportunities and solidified the win 5–0, ending the team’s season with an undefeated 9–0 record.

The boy’s full squad was back for Sunday’s tournament, facing Shelton White, Shelton Orange and Naugatuck. The additional offense of James Cameron and two-way play of Samik Soi added more to the team’s prowess during the day. In the end, Wilton’s fast paced offense and shut down defense proved too much for their opponents, collectively outscoring them 14–0 to take the tournament title.

It’s been a fun and successful season for the team, which can be credited to the boys’ diligent play, and guidance of coach Jonny Allen.

Wilton 5-Blue 26, Darien Blue 20 in Double Overtime [FOOTBALL]

11-9 Wilton 5th Grade Photo Xander Petrides (#2) (3)On a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, Wilton 5-Blue met Darien Blue in the quarterfinals of the FCFL fifth grade playoffs.

Darien started with the ball and drove to midfield only to turn it over after a big hit from Jamie Cristini and Nicholas Walden that caused a fumble and was recovered by Luke Totten. Wilton’s offense was able to capitalize on the short field and score on a six-play drive. Power runs by Christopher Capone, Spencer Liston and Quinn Stengrim behind Wilton’s offensive line of Tristan Burke, Totten, Griffin Turner, Jake Enman, Cristini, Andrew Kress, and Colin Randol moved the ball to the 4-yd. line where Andrew 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 playing by Lorcan Garcia, Cristini, Kress and Charlie Guglielmo kept Darien from putting together any sustainable 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 their drive Darien broke a 52-yd. 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 their extra point attempt.

Wilton’s next offensive series started with a 45-yd. screen pass being called back for a block in the back and putting Wilton deep in their own territory. After failing to move the ball, Wilton was forced to punt the ball away. Darien, starting on Wilton’s 42-yd. line, broke the first play of the series to score its second touchdown of the afternoon, and after kicking their 2-point conversation went ahead to end the third quarter at 14-6.

After an 8-play drive Wilton again turned the ball over on downs. With the clock winding down, Wilton needed a big defensive stop and got one, forcing Darien to punt. Solid defensive playing by Kress, Randol, Jack Montanero, Merrick Snyder and  Turner kept Darien contained. Staring on their own 30-yd. line Wilton put together a 10-play drive, leaving them with a 4th-and-goal from the 7-yd. line.  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 2-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 three blasts up the middle Wilton found itself with 4th-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 thus 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 5-yd. line and then a touchdown blast up the middle by Xander Petrides ended the game.

Wilton Boys U10-Blue 6, Ridgefield U10 Orange 0 [SOCCER]

With one game left in the season, the Wilton Boys U10 Blue kept their impressive winning streak alive with a 6-0 win over a spirited Ridgefield squad.

Wilton jumped to a quick 2-0 lead following two beautifully crossed balls, both skillfully headed in by Cole van den Heuvel. The impenetrable defense, led by Luke Umphred, Jamie Whittaker, Charlie Clune and Cameron Royal, along with strong goalie play from Addison Bergin, kept Ridgefield at bay. With Luke Ginsburg and Wyatt Jones leading several strong runs down both sidelines, and Declan Zadourian, Henry Roy and Luka Andjelkovic controlling the mid-field, goals came in bunches from Griffin Casey (2), Bergin and Andjelkovic.

Wilton takes on a tough Darien team this Sunday for league bragging rights, looking to cap off a very successful fall season.

Wilton 4-Blue 22, Darien Wave 0 [FOOTBALL]

11-9 DARIEN GAME 4TH GRADEThe staunch defense of Wilton 4 Blue led by Jack Lauricella, Harry Polito, Henry Roy, Jack Williams and George Papakosmos shut out Darien in the first of the playoffs’ 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-yd. run down to the 1-yd. line by 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, Williams, Henry Roy and Lauricella. Jack Kelly then made a goal line tackle at the 1-yd. 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.

Woodring, Costello and Wyatt Jones grinded out the yards behind the blocking of Dillon Bhutani, Caratozzolo, Hunter Crowell and Thomas McDonald. Woodring then scored from the 2-yd. 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-yd. 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 Girls U9-Blue 4, Old Greenwich 0 [SOCCER]

The Wilton Girls U9 Blue soccer team concluded a stellar season with a typically dominant performance against Old Greenwich. With Abbey Byrnes tending goal in the first half behind scrappy defenders Mary Sylvester and Cosette Lepore, the Wilton team shut down the frustrated visitors.

Wilton Blue controlled the ball offensively on the opposite end of the field with midfielders Paige Leung and Ellen Wilkerson closing the passing lanes and firing shots on goal. Assisted by the ever-hustling Riley Casey, Kaitlyn Zizzadoro commenced the Wilton scoring assault with a cannon shot whizzing past the goalie. Zizzadoro soon followed from the right corner with a centering pass to striker Olivia Koziol who deftly re-directed the ball off her chest into the left side of the goal. Fresh legs on the front line kept Old Greenwich on their heels with precision passing and throw-ins from Teagan Stengrim, big shots from Abby Petrie, and striker Giuliana Scaturchio winning a scrum in front of the goal for the final point of the half, putting Wilton up 3-0.

Wilton continued to control the ball in the second half with trademark play – Sylvester scrapping toe-to-toe for the ball; Lepore clearing deep balls with booming shots; Casey out-running players for every loose ball; Leung running a clinic on dribbling; Koziol rejecting scoring attempts on defense; and Zizzadoro launching several corner kicks. A carousel of goalies, with Lepore and Petrie both making scoop saves, maintained the shut out in the second half.

The final goal came from a long, left-footed shot from Zizzadoro and rebounded by Casey on the left side of the goal to bring the final score to 4-0 and notching the 15th win (with nine shutouts) on the season.