Liam Milne (7) celebrates with teammates after recovering an onside kick to begin the game. Photo by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Medfield and Westwood High School football met on the turf at Fisher Field on Friday evening with both teams looking rebound and crack the win column for the first time this season.
Six days after falling 20-7 to Norwood in their season-opener, a game that saw quarterback Ryan Murray throw the ball more than 20 times, the Warriors (1-1) completely changed the identity of their offense on Friday against the Wolverines (0-2). Senior James Wilder, who was Medfield's top receiver in the loss to Norwood, shifted to running back. The move paid off nicely for Medfield as Wilder totaled 102 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
After a failed onside kick attempt to open the game by Westwood, Medfield's newly-improvised offense was given a shortened field as the Warriors drove down inside the red zone. On third-and-five, Murray took a shotgun snap, evaded pressure and scrambled to his right before completing his lone pass attempt of the evening, a 15-yard touchdown strike to Nick Crofts to put Medfield ahead 6-0. Medfield went for two following an offsides penalty on the PAT by Westwood. A quarterback keeper to the left corner of the end zone by Murray extended the lead to 8-0 with 6:29 to play in the opening quarter.
A misplay on the ensuing kickoff pinned Westwood's offense back inside their own five. On the second play from scrimmage, Medfield sent pressure and senior captain Jackson Foscaldo sacked Westwood quarterback Connor Danieli in the end zone for a safety, extending Medfield's lead to 10-0 and giving the Warriors the ball back on offense.
A heavy dose of Wilder and junior running back TJ Casey (16 carries, 75 yards, one touchdown) on Medfield's next possession led the Warriors right back down the field. Casey capped off the drive by pounding home a touchdown from a yard out to make it a 17-0 game with 3:47 remaining in the quarter.
Following a three-and-out on Westwood's next possession, Medfield went for the jugular to begin the second quarter. After driving down inside the Westwood 10, Medfield handed the ball to Wilder, who cut up the middle and dove for the goal line. While trying to extend the ball across the goal line, the ball was knocked out of Wilder's hands by Westwood defensive back Aidan O'Connor, who recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback.
Westwood gained momentum following the the forced turnover by O'Connor. On the ensuing possession, Danieli lofted up a screen pass to junior running back George Maroun, who broke a series of tackles and spun his way into the open field before dashing 42 yards down to the Medfield three-yard line. Two plays later, Maroun capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run, getting Westwood on the board and trimming the deficit to 17-7 with 3:14 remaining in the half.
Following a Medfield punt, Westwood's offense got right back to work in the two-minute drill. On the second play of the drive, Danieli hit wide out Shea Loughnane on a crossing route. Loughnane cut inside and made a man miss before sprinting 62 yards down the right sideline. Wilder nearly ran Loughnane down, tripping up the Westwood senior captain at the goal line with a shoestring tackle. However, Loughnane was able to extend the ball across the goal line for the touchdown as the Wolverines cut the deficit to a single score at 17-14 at halftime.
Following a scoreless third quarter, Medfield's offense got back into rhythm. A strong series of rushing plays at the tail end of the third by Wilder and Casey brought the Warriors down inside the five-yard line. A three-yard rushing touchdown by Wilder capped the drive and extended Medfield's lead back to two scores at 24-14 with 11:26 to play.
Maroun's second touchdown of the night, this time coming from four yards out with 6:50 remaining, brought Westwood back to within one score at 24-21. However, this would be the final time the Wolverines would touch the ball. A long, clock-killing drive by Medfield, finished off with back-to-back first down runs by Casey, allowed the Warriors to run out the clock and kneel to victory.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.