A play-making defense and just enough offense was a winning formula for the Wakefield Warriors in their opening game of the delayed and shortened 2021 high-school football season.
Host Wakefield built a 12-0 lead en route to holding on to defeat the Washington-Liberty Generals, 12-17, Feb. 23 in a clash between Arlington rivals.
As W-L was driving late in the game deep into Wakefield territory, two sacks of quarterback Andrew Bolfek by Wakefield’s Joe Kelly, Fabio Perla and Cameron Queen, then a fourth-down pass breakup in the end zone by Carl Thomas sealed the victory.
The win was Wakefield’s fourth in a row over W-L, all by close scores.
“It’s always good to beat the people you live near, because you see and run into them everywhere,” Wakefield coach Wayne Hogwood. “Our team always gets up for W-L.”
Wakefield scored two touchdowns – a second-quarter one-yard run by Dontae Clark (37 yards rushing) and a third-period 23-yard pass from Jack McAvoy to Alan Peck. One of the TDs was set up by a disputed pass interference penalty. Neither extra point was successful.
Washington-Liberty scored in the third on a 9-yard pass from Bolfek to Jack Leonard and Pedro Palacios converted. Palacios earlier in the game was just short on a 35-yard field goal attempt.
“We were rusty, but our defense played well and made some plays, and we didn’t make big mistakes on offense,” Hogwood said. “Jack ran the offense well. It was a great team effort.”
With no healthy returning starters along the offensive line for now (returner John Stevenson is hurt), Wakefield managed 222 total yards and did not turn the ball over.
Clark had the 37 yards rushing and caught two passes for 19 yards. McAvoy was 9 of 15 passing for 141 yards and no interceptions. Izaiah Lang had four catches for 90 yards, Seth Novak had two catches for nine, fullback Jordan Bussie had 25 yards rushing and Michael Guruli 16.
Standout Wakefield receiver Lukai Hatcher was doubled team and did not catch a pass, but had a six-yard run on a reverse.
“With Lukai double-teamed, others, like Lang, had big catches,” Hogwood said.
On defense, Kelly had two of Wakefield’s six sacks, and Ahman Williams, Rhys Carlson and Andrew Lersten had one each.
Bolfek led the W-L offense by completing 17 of 23 passes for 155 yards without an interception.
“It was a tough loss, and was kind of Murphy’s Law for us,” W-L coach Josh Shapiro said. “We lost a fumble, dropped a pass, had that bad snap and that pass interference call. All of that hurt us badly.”
Davion Owens had six catches for 19 yards, Bryson Files five for 66, Leonard three for 44 and Michael Dertke two for eight. Six different receivers caught passes.
“I thought the Wakefield secondary did a good job on pass defense of keeping everything in front of them,” Shapiro said.
For W-L on defense, Kevin Cruz had a tackle for a loss and another for no gain, and Alexis Martinez-Medina was active on the line.
PHOTO: Wakefield High School quarterback Jack McAvoy looks over the defense. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)