Trailing 7-0 late in the first quarter, the Watertown High School football team generated a turnover when Raider senior Giovanni Ortiz recovered a bobbled Wakefield punt return. Watertown threatened to convert the turnover into game tying points, but the Raiders were intercepted by the Warriors at the goal line on the first play of the second quarter.
The Warriors would capitalize on its turnover and score, then proceed to add four more touchdowns in a 39-0 win over the Raiders on Friday night at Arlington High School.
“Watertown hung in there and played tough,” said Wakefield coach Mike Boyages of the Warriors. “This win qualifies us for the playoffs, which was our goal all year. We improved to 8-2 and are undefeated in the [Middlesex League] Small [with a] 4-0 [record].”
Watertown coach John Cacace's assessment of the game was not just based on the scoreboard.
“39-0 doesn’t really tell the story of the game,” Cacace said about his Raiders, who are now 6-4. “Our kids did some things at times against a very good football team. We played well at times and that’s what we’ll take away from the game.”
Fortune seemed to smile on Watertown with two minutes and 49 seconds left in the first quarter. Raider junior Joey Farrar lined up in punt formation at his own 40 yard line and booted the ball downfield to Wakefield’s return man, junior Dan Cardillo. Cardillo bobbled the ball when it arrived at his own 20. Watertown’s Ortiz was there in coverage and alertly pounced on the ball to recover possession for the Raiders.
Then the Raiders offense went to work. Farrar converted on a third down play by finding Watertown sophomore receiver T.J. Hairston open on the right side of the field cutting across the middle on a 16-yard slant pattern. This set up a first and goal at the Wakefield 10. After a one-yard run by junior Danny Loprete, Farrar threw an interception to Warrior senior linebacker Josh Puccio who caught the ball at the goal line.
“We would have liked to capitalize there,” Cacace said of the near touchdown for Watertown and the pick thrown by Farrar (6 for 14, one interception, 104 passing yards).
Wakefield then took possession on its own 11, and moved up field on a nine play, 89 yard drive. A key play was a run by Cardillo from his own 38 to the Raider 26. Cardillo took the hand-off from senior quarterback James Bourque and raced to the sideline, where he churned forward for 35 yards. The final play of the drive was a Cardillo five yard touchdown run up the middle of the line at 7:34 in the second quarter. When Wakefield sophomore Brian Auld’s extra point kick sailed through the uprights, the Warriors were ahead, 14-0.
Watertown would have misfortune on the first play of the ensuing drive. A lateral pass from Farrar to Ortiz was recovered by Wakefield sophomore Derek Dussault at the Raider 42. From there, the Warriors needed five plays to score six points, the final play a 24 yard pass from Bourque to senior Matt McKenna at 5:41 to make it a 20-0 contest.
The Raiders got the kick off and could only manage three plays before punting. However, Wakefield engineered a seven play, 88 yard scoring drive. The crucial plays were a run by senior Zach Bates out of shotgun formation for 43 yards, and a pass from Bourque to Puccio out of the backfield for 31 yards to the Raider one. Bourque capped the drive with a keeper from the one with :32 remaining in the half. With the extra point kick by Auld, the Warriors entered half time with a 27-0 advantage.
Watertown started the second half strong. After kicking off to Wakefield, Watertown’s defense denied the Warriors points. On a third and five play at the Raider 23, Bourque drifted into the pocket and sent a pass to Cardillo. Watertown senior Dino Flori alertly jumped in front of the ball and snagged the interception at 6:33 in the third quarter.
“Dino had the running back out of the backfield,” Cacace said. “He moved in for the interception and made a good play on him.”
Watertown then assembled an impressive drive on offense, featuring three outstanding passes from Farrar to Ortiz. The first was on third down and three from the Raider 23, when Ortiz hauled in Farrar’s throw on the sideline then eluded several Wakefield tacklers to advance to the Raider 43. Ortiz would have two more third down conversions on the drive. One was a pass from Farrar that saw Ortiz come back to the ball for a first down on the Wakefield 45. The other was a long pass from Farrar at the Warrior 39 down the sideline to Ortiz at the eight.
“Gio has been our most explosive receiver this season,” Cacace said. “He’s honing in on almost 1,000 yards receiving. Joey tries to get him the ball as much as he can, and on that drive connected with him a few times.”
This effort took fifteen plays, but did not result in points for the Raiders who ended the drive on a scramble by Farrar, who was tackled at the Warrior five with 10:30 to go in the fourth quarter.
Wakefield’s offense would take advantage of the opportunity. Thirteen plays into the ensuing drive, Bourque called his own number and ran for a 15-yard touchdown when Watertown’s coverage denied passing lanes to his receivers. At that point, the score was 33-0 and 6:06 remained. The Raiders made a fine play by blocking the PAT attempt.
When Watertown’s offense returned to the field, Raider sophomore Erik Antonellis started at quarterback and handed the ball off to sophomore back Keith Ouellette. Their efforts produced a punt to the Wakefield 48. From there, the Warriors needed five plays to score for the sixth time in the game. All five plays featured runs by junior back Sam Benoit, who zigzagged into the end zone from the Raider 16 at 1:02 in the final quarter.
“We don’t have the size and depth of the teams we play,” Cacace said. “But we give the maximum effort on every down.”
Wakefield took the initial lead at 6:12 in the first quarter. The Warriors got six points when Puccio ran a dive right for 27 yards for the score. Auld’s extra point made it a 7-0 Watertown deficit.
The Raiders, now 6-4, look forward to its next home game at the newly renovated Victory Field on Thanksgiving against its archrival Belmont.
“We’re excited to be playing again in Watertown and have that home crowd energy and big game feel on Thanksgiving,” Cacace said.
Wakefield (8-2) 7 20 0 12 - 39
Watertown (6-4) 0 0 0 0 - 0
Wake- Josh Puccio 27 run (Matt Auld kick); 6:12
Wake – Dan Cardillo 5 run (Auld kick); 7:34
Wake – Matt McKenna 24 pass from James Bourque (kick failed); 5:41
Wake – James Bourque 1 run (Auld kick); :32
Wake – James Bourque 15 run (kick blocked); 6:06
Wake – Sam Benoit 16 run (kick failed); 1:02
Watertown – Logan Riley 9-22, Danny Loprete 4-9, Keith Ouellette 4-3, Mike Petrillo 1-0, Joey Farrar 4-(-10). Totals: 22-24.
Wakefield – Josh Puccio 12-81, Dan Cardillo 6-75, Zach Bates 6-74, Sam Benoit 5-52, James Bourque 2-16
Watertown – Farrar 6-14-1 for 104 yards.
Wakefield – Bourque 5-18-1 for 96 yards.
Watertown – Giovanni Ortiz 4-62, T.J. Hairston 3-42.
Wakefield – Puccio 1-31, Cardillo 2-29, Matt McKenna 1-24, Michael Miller 1-12.