FOOTBALL: Wilton 7Blue Dominates New Canaan Red in Quarterfinals, 23-0
by James Andersen
Turning in its most complete and dominating performance of the year, Wilton 7Blue rolled over New Canaan Red 23-0 on Saturday night, Nov. 8 under the lights at Fujitani Field in the second round of the FCFL playoffs.
Statistics can sometimes be misleading, but not in this case. Wilton out gained New Canaan 251 yards to minus-11 yards. The Warriors did not allow the Rams to gain positive yards on any play in the game, which was cut short when the lights went out with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors set the tone early, when on New Canaan’s first play, linebackers Jack DiRocco and Austin Andersen buried the ball carrier for a loss.
On just the second play after New Canaan’s punt gave Wilton great field position at their own 48 yd. line, Jimmy O’Brien took a pitch from Ryan Healey, burst through a hole opened by the offensive line of Maden Herve, Sean Purdy, Kyle Hyzy, Jack Lenz, Jack Savarese, DiRocco and Dominick Polito and followed lead blocks by Andersen and Matt Dooley, barreling 51 yards to the end zone. DiRocco booted the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Smelling blood, the Warrior defense again gave the offense great field position when, on the next play, DiRocco picked off a pass at the New Canaan 32 yd. line.
Back on offense, Hyzy and Andersen took turns running the football, culminating in a four yard scoring run by Andersen, making the score 13-0.
Two tackles for loss by Savarese forced another punt, this time to the Wilton 37, where the offense again went into high gear. With Dominick Caratazzolo, Barrett Brown and Michael Gamboa leading the way with good blocking, Andersen and Hyzy moved the ball to the New Canaan 46, where the Warriors took to the air. Hyzy’s perfect spiral was hauled in by Herve for a 25-yd. gain to the 21. Again Andersen and Hyzy took turns pounding the ball up the gut until Andersen dove in from the one. The PAT made the score 20-0 at the half.
There was no let up in the second half. On the first play from scrimmage Hyzy raced 69 yards to the New Canaan one, where the Rams’ defense stiffened. On fourth-and-two, with a perfect snap from Cole Stephenson and a hold by Hyzy, DiRocco drilled a 19 yard field goal for a 23-0 lead.
The Warriors ran down the clock with a ground possession game as Stephenson, Polito, Purdy, DiRocco, Daniel Incao, Caratazzolo, Gamboa, Nishant Wangneo, and Steven Tuin all had productive carries in the second half.
Wilton will take on Westport North in a semi-final game next weekend at Fujitani Field in Wilton.
FOOTBALL: Wilton 6White Falls to Ridgefield Orange 8-0
by James Andersen
Wilton 6White’s season came to an end in the second round of the FCFL playoffs with an 8-0 defeat at the hands of Ridgefield Orange Saturday night, Nov. 8 at Tiger Hollow in Ridgefield.
The Warrior defense was tough all night, surrendering just one big play, a 50-yd. quarterback scramble for a touchdown late in the first quarter. The two point conversion was good making it 8-0, which turned out to be enough in a game dominated by hard-hitting defenses on both sides.
The Warriors threatened late in the first half after Wilton, led by defensive linemen Matt Gulbin and Jimmy McKiernan, forced a turnover on downs at the Warrior 39 yd. line. Blake Pagano-Walley then sparked the offense with consecutive runs of 12- and 30 yards to give the Warriors a first down at the Tiger 19 with less than a minute to go in the half. Runs by Pagano-Walley and Everett Andersen put the Warriors at the 13, but a fourth down pass as time expired fell incomplete.
The Warriors moved the ball in the second half, with Sean Sullivan leading the way, but Sullivan was stopped short of the first down on a fourth-and-four play at the Ridgefield 23 early in the fourth quarter and the Warriors later turned the ball over on downs with time winding down.
Wilton’s last chance came with three seconds remaining, when Wilton took over on downs at its own 18, but a last gasp pass fell incomplete.
The 2014 Warriors ended the season with a 5-3-2 record. Coached by Jeff Gulbin, Mike Sullivan, Dan O’Neill and Jeff Siegel, Wilton White was: Everett Andersen, Chase Autore, Pierce Bazewicz, Jack Carroll, Brian Cipri, Davis Cote, Matt Gulbin, Charlie Hastings, Connor Healey, Will Jarvie, Evan Kauh, Trevor Martines, Jimmy McKiernan, Matthew Murphy, Luke O’Neill, Blake Pagano-Walley, Neil Satsangi, Henry Sell, William Shain, Ryan Siegel, Alex Smith, Sean Sullivan, Christian Theoharides, Ryan van Heyst and Quinn Wiseman.
SOCCER: Wilton U11 are League Champs
by Nick Zizzadoro
The Wilton U11 boys were crowned as CJSA Southwest District League champions with playoff games against Westport and Stamford this past weekend. On the season, the team went undefeated with a 14-0-2 record, winning both the southwest district league and Connecticut State Cup.
Coming off a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the Connecticut Cup Championship game against rival Westport the week before, the Wilton boys found themselves faced off with Westport once again in the semi-finals of league play. The Wilton boys kicked off the game with a tremendous level of confidence and immediately controlled the game with possesion of the ball.
In the first half, Wilton outshot their opponents with sixteen shots versus three for Westport. Goalkeeper Jack Lynch, defenders Max Andrews and Jack Dodman‘s composure, along with the toughness and grittiness of Tyler Casey and Christian Furst, did not allow for Westport to have many chances on goal.
Parker Woodring and Zarius Eusebe pounded Westport in the first half with a combined 12 shots of their own. Woodring converted one of those chances on a pass from Eusebe for a quick Wilton lead of 1-0. Andrew Zizzadoro soon followed with a half-volley blast that was miraculously punched over the crossbar by the Westport goalkeeper. Andrews attacked from the back line with runs of his own.
With Wilton completely dominating the half with offensive power combined with a tough defense, the game had all the components for a lopsided victory. With confidence at its peak, Westport surprisingly snuck one in just before half time to tie the game at 1-1.
Without losing a beat, the Wilton boys continued to dominate the second half of the game. Owen English quickly scored with a massive right-footed strike from the wing that brought the Wilton lead to 2-1. With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Wilton continued to move the ball around with tremendous confidence. A five-pass play led to Eusebe passing a beautiful ball back to Zizzadoro sitting at the top of the 18-yard box. Without hesitation, Zizzadoro fired a rocket into the net, giving Wilton a comfortable lead of 3-1. With offensive pressure and shots on goal from Malcolm McCormick and Dillon Mannix, combined with Conor Lillis and Tyler Moody‘s beast-like presence on defense, Wilton continued the onslaught. As the game was coming to a close, Westport scored on a penalty kick with 10 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 3-2. Soon after, the referee blew the game-ending whistle.
Wilton, as number one seed, found themselves playing against the number two-seeded Stamford Hurricanes for the league championship game. With a bit of overconfidence from beating Stamford during the regular season, combined with the recent CT Cup Championship victory, the league championship game began quite slow for the Wilton boys.
Supported by a very lively crowd, Stamford completely dominated the first half of the game, controlling much of the possession of play. With a nothing-to-lose attitude, Stamford came out with feistiness and very physical play. Wilton fought hard with physical play of its own, but lost several of its toughest players, including Furst, in the first half of the game due to injuries. Dodman and Moody fought hard and goalkeeper Lynch made multiple monster saves to keep Wilton in the game. But, by the end of the first half, Stamford had taken the lead by a score of 2-0.
After being dominated for 40 minutes, Wilton Coach Micky Canning‘s “have no regrets, lets go out fighting” half-time talk proved critical. Wilton did just that. From the kickoff of the second half until the final whistle, the Wilton boys fought back and fought hard.
After being injured in the first half, English and Eusebe got back in the game and immediately sparked the Wilton offense with relentless pressure on the Stamford defenders. Woodring dominated the middle of the field with size and skill, while Zizzadoro used a combination of skillful footwork and bursts of speed from the wing.
Within minutes of the second half, English blasted a half-volley on an assist by Eusebe. With a score now 2-1, tensions high and the game on the line, Wilton continued to dominate the second half. McCormick and Mannix supported the offensive threat with give-and-gos and precision passing. Casey, Andrews and Lillis remained steady in the back with hard defensive tackles. Woodring, Zizzadoro, English and Eusebe silenced the Stamford spectators with a combined 13 shots on goal in the second half of the game with a relentless pursuit of victory.
Inevitably, with minutes left in the game, English notched another goal to tie the game at 2-2. With time running down, and no scheduled overtime, the referee blew the whistle to end the game. As the undefeated number-one seed, Wilton was named as co-Champions in one of the toughest districts in the state and one of two Wilton teams ever to win both a League Championship and Connecticut Cup Championship in the same season.