FAIRFIELD — All season long Fairfield Warde has been a thorn in the side of FCIAC opponents.
On Friday night, the Mustangs got a taste of their own medicine.
Despite being dogged by the Brien McMahon Senators all night long, Warde was able to pull out a 32-29 victory at Tetrault-Davis Field.
“A lot of people come to play us and think they’re going to get right and find a way to win,” Warde coach Duncan DellaVople said. “The difference with this team from team’s past, though, is we’re going to fight for four quarters. I’m proud of the kids.”
Warde quarterback Matt Cerminaro threw for a touchdown and rushed for a tally while running back Tyler Llewellyn had a pair of 50-yard-plus touchdown runs to pace the Mustangs offense.
McMahon’s Chris Druin passed for three touchdowns while Leandro Marin’s 2-yard touchdown run with 1:10 left in the game brought the Senators to within three points .
Warde’s Ian Miserocchi recovered the ensuing onside kick to ice the win for the Mustangs.
Leading 20-13 at the half, Warde got some breathing room when Cerminaro connected with William Stearns on an 86-yard scoring pass to increase the Mustangs advantage to 26-13.
“We have those kids who can do that, but it’s been hit or miss,” DellaVolpe said. “When we hit, though, it’s helped us be successful.”
The one-win Senators refused to roll over.
McMahon responded twice as Warde tried to put the game away.
Druin hit Mike Macari on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 5:24 left to play and a two-point conversion pass to Andrew Trujillo cut the lead to 26-21.
The Senators forced Warde into a third-and-long, but Cerminaro scrambled for a first down to keep the drive alive.
One play later, Llewellyn raced 52 yards for a score to make it 32-21 with 3:32 left.
Again, the Senators responded.
Druin connected twice with Chris Ehlers for long gains, setting up Marin’s 2-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion made it a three-point game, but the Senators could get closer.
“It was a great effort,” McMahon coach AJ Albano said. “Just some key moments we have to clean up on defense. Offense played great. That’s a great (Warde) defense over there, they played great against Darien and Staples, and we were able to put 29 points.”
McMahon struck first after the Senators held Warde to a four-and-out to open the game.
Druin connected with Donyae Shavers for a 16-yard touchdown and Mike Santalucia’s PAT made it 7-0 just 5:12 into the game.
It only took Warde two plays to score as Llewellyn raced 54 yards for his touchdown of the game. The PAT was blocked, leaving the score 7-6.
Warde recovered a McMahon fumble at the Senators 9-yard line, setting up the go-ahead touchdown when Cerminaro scored on second down from the eight. He also scored the two-point conversion for a 14-7 lead.
“That turnover in first half gave them a short field and was a big moment,” Albano said. “But our kids kept fighting.”
Warde plays Ridgefield next week while McMahon hosts St. Joseph.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Warde’s Llewellyn. The Mustang running back only carried the ball seven times, but he rushed for 127 yards and two big play touchdowns of 52 and 54 yards.
Give Cerminaro an honorable mention as he rushed for 84 yards and passed for another 123.
TWO WEEKS LATER
The Senators – who were down three key starters via injury losses (Peter Ripperger, Justin Forde, Tsai Zoe) – looked like a vastly different team from the squad that was lost at Bridgeport Central two weeks ago.
“I don’t think we’ve been doing anything different. I think it was just a bad day,” Albano said. “The kids are still working hard on getting better.”
Druin was 15-for-29 for 171 yards with no interceptions to go with his three touchdown passes. He also rushed the ball for 51 yards while Jermayne Daniel added 57 yards on the ground.
Ehlers and Erik Hernandez led the receiver effort with 53 yards each.
WARDE 32, McMAHON 29
McMAHON 7 7 0 16
WARDE 14 6 6 6
BM—Donyae Shavers 16 pass from Chris Druin (Mike Santalucia kick)
FW—Tyler Llewellyn 54 run (kick blocked)
FW—Matt Cerminaro 8 run (Cerminaro rush)
BM—Kelete Sherald 8 pass from Druin (kick failed)
FW—Cerminaro 8 run (pass failed)
FW—William Stearns 86 pass from Cerminaro (pass failed)
BM—Mike Macari 6 pass from Druin (Andrew Trujillo pass from Druin)
FW—Llewellyn 52 run (rush failed)
BM—Leandro Marin 2 run (Trujillo pass from Druin)
Records: McMahon 1-7, Warde 4-4.