Pictured while playing defense, junior Andrew Falzone (23) looks towards the sideline for a play-call during his two-touchdown performance against Needham on Friday night. Photos by Mike Flanagan.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Walpole High football hosted rival Needham on Friday evening at Turco Field. The Rockets (2-6, 0-4) sought to put an end to a three-game losing skid, while Walpole looked to win their third consecutive contest following back-to-back wins against Braintree and Brookline.
Behind a powerful ground attack headlined by junior running back Andrew Falzone (14 carries, 112 yards, two touchdowns), Walpole cruised to a 27-0 victory to move back above .500 at 4-3 (3-3). Junior quarterback Corey Kilroy threw for 139 yards and a touchdown to go along with nine carries for 41 yards and a touchdown.
A collection of punts by both offenses to open the night kept the game scoreless until 27 seconds to play in the first quarter. A pass-interference penalty against Needham on a fourth down set up Walpole with a first-and-goal from the Needham seven-yard-line. Two plays later, Falzone pounded his way in from four yards out on a halfback draw to open the scoring for the Timberwolves.
After Walpole forced Jay Kastantin and Needham’s offense to a three-and-out on the Rockets ensuing series, the game hit its turning point. A fumbled snap on the punt was recovered at the five-yard-line by Walpole, setting up and immediate first-and-goal. On the first play of the possession, Kilroy handed off to Falzone, who plunged his way into the end zone for his second score of the night. The touchdown doubled Walpole’s lead to 14-0 with 11:38 to play before halftime.
A big sack on third-and-short by TJ Farrell forced another Needham punt midway through the quarter. Kilroy then methodically marched the Walpole offense down the field, twice hooking up with wideout Max Collins (four catches, 43 yards), along with an 18-yard gainer to Falzone on a screen. Kilroy capped off the drive with a 14-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper to extend the lead to 20-0 (PAT blocked).
Following another punt, the Rockets finally caught a break with 4:46 to play in the half when Walpole muffed a punt at midfield that was recovered by Needham’s Josh Melia. The turnover set up Kastantin and the Needham offense in plus territory with the chance to cut into the 20-point hole before halftime. A tackle-for-loss by Falzone on Marcus Fuentes on a swing play out in the flat was followed by Collins blowing up a wide receiver screen to Edgar Vasquez. Back-to-back incompletions by Kastantin then led to a turnover on downs. Walpole drove into Needham territory with time winding down in the half but consecutive sacks by Tyler Closuit and Ryan Hannigan stalled out the drive as Walpole brought their 20-0 lead into halftime.
Walpole’s defense continued to stifle Needham offense throughout the third quarter as the game entered the fourth still 20-0. With 6:20 to play, Kilroy finally delivered the dagger by hitting Jay McKenzie for an 11-yard touchdown in the back-left corner of the end zone. Walpole’s defense preserved the shutout en route to the 27-point victory.
Walpole will travel to Newton North on October 29 and look to make it four wins in a row while Needham will try and snap its losing streak against Framingham.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.