Boston High School: Brian Auld

Recap: Wakefield 7, Marblehead 6

November, 30, 2011

LYNN, Mass. -- Wakefield was down 6-0 for most of the game, but in the middle of the fourth quarter drove the ball 78 yards in roughly 3:30 minutes to post their first score of the game, a one-touchdown run by Josh Puccio with 1:52 remaining.

The extra point by Brian Auld made the game 7-6, but the Warriors' defense stopped the Marblehead Magicians from scoring as they had much of the game, holding on for the win and the opportunity to play for the Division 2A Super Bowl on Saturday.

"All season, we've kind of had some tough games," said quarterback Jamie Bourque. "Earlier this year we were in the same situation down 6-0 at the half. Once we went into the half today down 6-0 we knew that we were going to be able to do it. Stick to what was working, just execute. The first half we kind of had the jitters, but at the half we got over it when we realized it was just another football game."

With 5:55 left in the game, Marblehead was stopped on downs and punted to the Wakefield 22. After two incomplete passes, Matt McKenna caught a throw from Bourque for the first down. thee run plays, the first and third by the running back Puccio (14, 2 yards) and the second by Dan Cardillo (3) gave the Magicians a reason to close in on the Wakefield offensive attack, but that is When Bourque dopped back and found McKenna for a 10-yard gain and the first down.

The next play, Cardillo again rushed for thee yards, but on the next throw Bourque and McKenna would go for the fences, the result a 34-yard pass that was brought down to the one yard line setting up a first and goal, for which Puccio was brought back in to finish the job and put his team on the scoreboard.

First Draw Not Enough: Marblehead's only score of the game came with 7:54 left the in the first quarter, just over two minutes after the game had started. Five straight rushing plays, the first two and the last two by Will Quigley, netted Marblehead a quick score. For the rest of the match either Quigley or quarterback Ian Maag would run the ball, with passing attempts by the Magicians all failing until the final drive, in which the two completed passes proved unable to pulled Marblehead out of the hole which had been dug for them by the Wakefield offense.

Options: On Wakefield's scoring drive, McKenna caught three passes from Bourque, and 11 yard, 10 yard and the final a 34-yard snag which brought the Warriors down to the Marblehead one yard line. Prior to that series, Bourque had thrown two passes, both of them to McKenna, only one of them connecting.

"Our game plan going in was to see if we could run the ball," said Bourque. "Once we realized we had some good matchups on the outside we figured that we'd take advantage of that when we needed to."

Lack of options: Marblehead's only score, and main offense producer was Will Quigley. Although he took numerous carries throughout the game, he was unable to score again, and did not gain more than four yards on a carry during the second half.

"We made some adjustments on our defensive line at halftime. I think early on we were pursuing just a little bit too much... and we have great linebackers. They did a great job along with the front line," added Wakefield coach Mike Boyages.

Recap: Reading 28, Wakefield 27

November, 5, 2011
Ryan ManeyRyan Kilian for ESPNBoston.comRyan Maney's circus catch was one of several highlights for Reading in its 28-27 thriller over Wakefield.
READING, Mass. -- No lead was safe in Reading on Friday night, as the Reading Rockets pulled out a come from behind, one point victory over the Wakefield Warriors, 28-27.

With less than two minutes remaining and Reading trailing by seven points, sophomore quarterback Drew Belcher led Reading down the field and into the end zone, on a six-yard plunge, with 38.5 seconds remaining in the game.

“We work on that stuff a lot,” said Fiore of the game-winning drive. “We spread them out and made some plays to get our guys in space.”

Belcher’s touchdown run pulled Reading to within one point, 27-26, and Reading head coach John Fiore called for two. With his team struggling in the kicking game, Belcher took the field out of the shotgun, lowered his head and plunged in for the go-ahead conversion. Belcher had executed the same play earlier in the game, and this time the sophomore’s score gave Reading the comeback win.

“We play for 44 minutes“, said Fiore. “We made plays and made some adjustments at the half to some things we wanted to do. I am real proud of the kids and their effort tonight.”

The game was a back and forth battle throughout, with both teams coming up with big plays and turnovers to shift momentum on multiple occasions.

Reading senior Anthony DeSimone had two interceptions at crucial junctures for the Rockets, while Wakefield’s James Puccio had an interception late in the game and a lot of tough in between the tackles running on the night.

Wakefield wide receiver Matt McKenna made a juggling 16-yard touchdown reception on a halfback pass from junior running back Dan Cardillo in the third quarter. McKenna made big plays all night, as the senior also hauled in a spectacular 70-yard reception earlier in the first quarter that set up an early Wakefield touchdown.

“They are 7-2 for a reason,” Fiore said of Wakefield. “They are a physical team with some excellent kids, and we took their best shot.”

Catch of the Year: Reading wide receiver Ryan Maney made the catch of the year tonight as the junior battled pass interference and jumped up in the back of the end zone to haul in a one-handed touchdown grab while falling to the ground. Maney managed to keep possession and get one foot in bounds for the 26-yard touchdown reception.

“That was a great catch,” said Fiore.

The 6-foot-2 junior is fast becoming a household name as he has become a favorite target for Belcher and runs smooth routes and has the athleticism, strength and vertical leap to stretch a defense and haul in the big catch.

Bates Returns: Wakefield senior running back Zach Bates made his return to Reading, where he played for the past two years before coming to Wakefield this season.

Bates scored on a 15-yard touchdown run and had 64 yards on the ground on the night. The signal-caller on defense also filled the gaps from his linebacker position and came up with some key stops early on.

The Playoff Picture: Reading will match up against Tewksbury as the winner of the Middlesex Large conference. Tewksbury, despite losing to Haverhill on Friday, clinched the Merrimack Valley Division 2 conference with a Lawrence loss to Dracut.

Wakefield is also looking for a 2011 playoff berth, and plays Watertown next week in an important league match-up.

READ (6-3) 0 – 14 – 6 – 8 --- 28
WAKE (7-2) 14 – 0 – 13 – 0 –-- 27

First Quarter
W - James Bourque 1 run (Brian Auld kick)
W - Zach Bates 15 run (Auld kick)

Second Quarter
R - Alex Valente 9 run (kick failed)
R - Ryan Maney 26 pass from Drew Belcher (Belcher run)

Third Quarter
R - Jared Barros 20 pass from Belcher (kick failed)
W - James Puccio 11 run (kick failed)
W - Matt McKenna 16 pass from Dan Cardillo (Auld kick)

Fourth Quarter

R - Belcher 6 run (Belcher run)

Recap: Wakefield 14, Burlington 6

October, 21, 2011
WAKEFIELD, Mass. — Wakefield took a big step towards making sure the Middlesex League Large Division goes through them when the Warriors pushed their way to a 14-6 victory over Burlington last night at Landrigan Field.

The Warriors needed a little pick-me-up in the second half to get their offense going as they scored 14 unanswered points in the final 22 minutes of the game, while holding the Red Devils offense in check.

Just as the offense got going for the Warriors on the legs of Josh Puccio and his 102 yards and a score on 23 carries, the defense started to respond as well. Tyler MacDonald came up with an interception of a Shane Farley pass and Dan Cardillo made a game-saving strip and recovery deep in the Warriors territory in the waning minutes of the game.

Wakefield now sits at 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the Middlesex League, while Burlington drops to 4-3 and a game behind the Warriors in the standings.

There were plenty of twists and turns in this tight contest, so let’s get right to them.

Momentum swing: The first half was all Burlington, and the Red Devils wasted little time proving its worth on the road. Marcus Odiah scored from 1-yard out on the opening possession, and the offense looked like it would put home a back-breaking score right before the half.

The Red Devils were plodding down the field and using their timeouts wisely with less than two minutes on the clock. Farley hit Jirair Manoukian over the middle for a 20-yard gain on third-and-6 to get the Red Devils down the to Warriors 10-yard line with 18 seconds left.

Farley went right back to Manoukian on the next play, and the receiver was trying to carry the pile into the end zone, but a host of defenders did well to stand him up at the 2-yard line and the pile up after the play didn’t allow for the ball to be snapped again in the half.

“I told my kids anything in bounds you’ve got to gang tackle and try to keep him up on his feet and then when he is down lay on him so they couldn’t get the ball,” said Warriors head coach Mike Boyages. “That was a big break. It took any kind of momentum away.”

Return of the power: The running game was clearly not working out for the Warriors spread offense in the first half, as they netted nine yards on nine carries, so Boyages went to a two-back set to begin the third quarter and put the game in Puccio’s hands.

The Warriors’ offense responded with a 14-play, 75-yard drive, ending with Puccio finding the left side on a sweep to tie the game at 6. Brian Auld knocked in the extra-point to give the Warriors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The nail(s) in the coffin: Notice the plural of nails.

The offense and the defense of the Warriors did a good job of driving this game home on their own turf.

After a punt set the Warriors up with great field position near midfield, the offense methodically moved the ball inside the 10-yard line with less than five minutes to go in the game.

Puccio lost a yard on his first carry and the Warriors were called for a holding penalty to back the ball up to the 20-yard line on second down.

Bourque’s second-down pass fell incomplete, but his third-down pass did not. He avoided a rush and just got rid of the ball as he was being taken to the ground. Matt McKenna made a good adjustment on the ball in the end zone connecting for a 14-6 advantage.

“I think just stepping up gave him some extra time and he made a nice throw,” said Boyages.

Added Bourque: “I knew we had our best receiver out there. Our line gave me enough time and I just stepped up and kind of put faith in him to catch it.”

Bourque watched from the sidelines as Cardillo came up with the defensive stand of the game. Farley hit his receiver on an inside slant down to the 17-yard line, but Cardillo knocked the ball away from the ball-carrier and pounced on it to secure the game.

BUR (4-3) 6 0 0 0 --- 0
WAK (6-1) 0 0 7 7 --- 14

First Quarter
B – Marcus Odiah 1 run (kick failed)

Third Quarter
W — Josh Puccio 7 run (Brian Auld kick)

Fourth Quarter
W — Matt McKenna 20 pass from James Bourque (Auld kick)