WILTON — Veterans Memorial Stadium has been the home for Wilton High School football.
The veterans in Veterans Memorial Stadium are the nine Wilton area soldiers who gave their lives — eight in Vietnam, one in Iraq — in service to America.
Saturday marked the 50th Homecoming Game played by Wilton High football at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The Warriors made it a contest to remember as they defeated Stamford High 45-14 before a huge partisan crowd.
“The 50th Homecoming Game is quite a milestone,” Wilton’s veteran coach Bruce Cunningham said. “The entire team visited our Memorial Garden (with nine granite monuments) before the game to make the connection to the veterans who sacrificed. This memory will last forever. The way they play in honor of these brave men.”
Wilton (4-3, 4-3 FCIAC) led 14-0 after one quarter and 42-0 at halftime. That made the second half running time during which the Warriors liberally gave their reserves playing time.
SWEEPING RESULTS FOR WILTON RUNNERS
Wilton ruled the afternoon on special teams. The Warriors had a number of solid punt returns to set up short fields. They also corralled the Stamford punter on the SHS 5 to set up one score.
Wilton’s offense was strictly a ground attack as senior quarterback Brian Calabrese was 1 of 2 (both screen passes) passing on the day.
Wilton’s runners beat the Stamford defense on sweeps around the end throughout.
“Teams had been stopping our triple option running attack inside,” Cunningham said. “Our emphasis today was to get to the edge (outside). We have five seniors on the offensive line who work their tails off. And I can’t say enough about the blocking our wide receivers did.”
Wilton amassed 223 yards rushing on 31 carries in the first half, good for five touchdowns.
Senior Harvey Alexander had 49 yards rushing on 12 carries while scoring four touchdowns of 5 yards or less.
Drew Phillips swept left end on a 33-yard scoring run. Junior Drew Herlyn led the way with 88 yards on seven carries including a trio of 27-yard runs.
Calabrese had 27 of his 46 yards rushing before intermission while Kyle Phillips chipped in 24 yards on six carries.
“We have a bunch of great athletes in our backfield. Our philosophy is ‘Next Man Up!’” Calabrese said. “I don’t care about my passing stats. The job is just to get the W (win).”
WILTON DEFENSE SHARP
Falling behind early, Stamford was forced to stay in the air. Junior quarterback Terry Forrester threw 29 passes on the afternoon.
Wilton’s ballhawkers grabbed four interceptions. Joe Murtha had a pair while Kyle Phillips had one.
With 41.3 seconds left in the half, Kyle Shifrin returned a theft 35 yards for a TD to make it 42-0.
TOUGH DAY FOR STAMFORD
Stamford’s defense spent too much time on the field. The Black Knights’ youth and inexperience showed. SHS missed on downing a punt inside the Wilton 5 that could have halted momentum.
“We had the snowball effect. We got behind and our kids’ heads started drooping,” Stamford coach Jamar Greene said. “Our young guys have to learn how to battle through adversity. Wilton didn’t surprise us in what they did. They are simply bigger, faster and stronger than we are. Wilton is talented.”
The silver linings for Stamford (2-5, 2-5 FCIAC) were senior Mikey Riddle’s five pass receptions for 67 yards. Sophomore running back Jaden Dawkins had two running touchdowns in the final six minutes.
WILTON 45, STAMFORD 14
STAMFORD 0 0 0 14—14
WILTON 14 28 3 0—45
W—Harvey Alexander 2 run (Will Sullivan kick)
W—Drew Phillips 33 run (Sullivan kick)
W—Alexander 5 run (Sullivan kick)
W—Alexander 2 run (Sullivan kick)
W—Alexander 1 run (Sullivan kick)
W—Kyle Shifrin 35 interception return (Sullivan kick)
W—Maxim Colburn 25 yard field goal
S—Jaden Dawkins 5 run (Will Martinez kick)
S—Dawkins 3 run (Martinez kick)
Records: Stamford 2-5, 2-5 FCIAC; Wilton 4-3, 4-3 FCIAC.