WILTON — The Wilton football team needed a confidence booster.
The Warriors, who were coming off a blowout loss St. Joseph last week and have been bitten by the injury bug, were itching to taste a victory despite the recent adversity.
They did just that on Friday, jumping out to a 27-0 halftime lead over Bridgeport Central en route to a 41-8 FCIAC win at Fujitani Field.
James O’Brien, the backup to injured starter Kyle Phillips, threw three touchdown passes, two to Kyle Hyzy, to help Wilton notch its third victory of the season.
“I have to give all the credit to my line,” O’Brien, a junior said. “I feel like they made many blocks for me and I had all the time in the back field to make perfect throws. This really boosts our confidence and with the bye next week, we’re going to work all days and be ready for Ridgefield.”
On the Warriors’ second possession of the game, O’Brien found Hyzy in the middle of the field and he sprinted into the end zone from 57 yards out to give the Warriors a 7-0 edge with 6:19 on the clock in the first quarter.
After the kickoff, however, Central suffered a blow when Corey Murdock was rolled up on by another player on the coverage and injured his right leg. The senior wideout had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance and head coach Derrick Lewis said after the game he was in surgery.
“It was one of the more emotional things I’ve ever had to deal with,” Lewis said. “As far as my boys are concerned, we’re getting better every day, but like Wilton we’ve been bitten by the injury bug. Three or four plays separated this game. Our players and staff rallied together and were still able to compete.”
Near the end of the first quarter after blocking a punt in Central territory, Wilton needed only three plays to hit pay dirt again. O’Brien threw the ball up for Hyzy, who made a great leaping catch between two defenders for a 33-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 0.0 on the clock.
“I was just trying to make a play for my teammates,” said Hyzy, who admitted he can’t dunk a basketball yet, but he’s getting close. “Any time I can try to help I just go up and get the ball.”
The Warriors rounded out a solid first-half effort with Reilly Bingaman returning a punt 32 yards for a touchdown (2:30) and Thomas Costello finding the end zone from four yards out (53.6).
Wilton head coach EJ DiNunzio said it was important to come out with a win and improving to 3-2 ahead of the Ridgefield game in two weeks.
“My kids really executed today and that’s what I was looking for,” he said. “We saw on film that we had some opportunities at wideout, just going deep, and that’s what we did. Jimmy is unflappable and Hyzy has great hands. It’s a team effort and these guys stepped up big today.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
James O’Brien, Wilton. The junior QB threw three TD passes to help guide the Warriors to a 41-8 win over Bridgeport Central.
Kyle Hyzy, Wilton. The junior wideout made several great catches, two for scores and one to set up another, in Wilton’s 41-8 FCIAC victory over the Hilltoppers.
“They (Central) never give up,” DiNunzio said of the Hilltoppers. “When they make mistakes, that’s when they get in trouble. They played a real tough game as they always do.”
“The guys no one knows about have stepped up,” said DiNunzio, who was without key players Kyle Phillips, Drew Phillips, Tyler Previte and Wooder Thoby. “We’re hoping (to get some of them back) and if we do great and if not we’ll go with the guys we have and I’m confident with the guys we have.”
“Wilton is an awesome program,” Lewis said. “We want to get our wheels turning in the right direction where we can compete but it’s difficult in this conference but we’ll be fine.”
WILTON 41, CENTRAL 8
CENTRAL 0 0 0 8—8
WILTON 14 13 14 0—41
W—Kyle Hyzy 57 pass from James O’Brien (Christopher Tienken kick)
W—Hyzy 33 pass from O’Brien (Tienken kick)
W—Reilly Bingaman 32 punt return (kick failed)
W—Thomas Costello 4 run (Tienken kick)
W—Drew Herlyn 23 pass from O’Brien (Tienken kick)
W—Kiel Polito 3 run (Tienken kick)
C—Ja-Asia Baker 4 run (Devin Allen run)
Records: Wilton 3-2, Central 0-5.