They will remember this one in Wolcott
They will remember this one in Wolcott
WOLCOTT - Sometimes you go to games and on rarer occasions the games go with you. When you walk out off the field and out of the night into tomorrow, these are the games that linger long after the time ran out like the pine scent that is still so strong so many days after the Christmas tree has vacated its spot in the living room.
And so it is with Wolcott and Seymour Friday night. I won’t tell you that the Eagles and Wildcats put on the best football show I’ve seen because they didn’t. It was Game 3 of the season so there were no titles or state tournament spots on the line. It was an early season game between two teams figuring out who they are and who they want to be.
I will tell you it was a game that will stick with you for a while and a game the players will be talking about at reunions well down the road when the old uniform shirt only reaches half way down the belly and the hair is being combed with a wash cloth.
It was a game that will be remembered.
This will be `The Comeback’ and who knows but maybe the game that turned a season in the right direction. At least from Wolcott’s perspective. In Seymour, conversation of this game at those reunions might be short and on to better things, not on account of effort just result.
Wolcott won a high-scoring shootout, 48-41. But the memory-making ingredient is how the final score came to be. This is a game where Seymour led 13-0 after just four minutes and with four minutes left in the first half was ahead 26-0.
One week after dropping a frustrating 42-36 overtime decision to Naugatuck, Wolcott looked like they were still in mourning for most of the first half. But to wear out the old cliché what transpired in the second half is why they play the game.
Hopefully Wolcott coach Jason Pace recorded whatever he said or fed his team at halftime. The Eagles had shown a few bursts of energy before the half, enough to score twice, but still trailed, 34-13.
Even forensic scientists couldn’t find a whole lot of evidence that the night was going to end with anything other than a convincing Seymour win. Can I say it again? This is why they play the game.
Wolcott quarterback Vincent Gambino and receivers Jayson Matos and Adam Santopietro decided they would rather enjoy the weekend instead of languishing in it.
It took a while (Seymour still looked comfortable up 41-20 with 1:35 to go in the third period) but Gambino suddenly turned into Payton Manning and his two targets found every open space on Joe Monroe Field.
Gambino found Matos over the middle for TD pass one play before the end of the third quarter and it was 41-27. Close, but the thought was that a frantic finish wasn’t going to be enough to offset a sluggish start.
You wonder when Seymour began to think that this one was being brazenly grabbed away. You could feel the memory being made on the Wildcats next possession when it took Gambino just six plays to guide his team into the Wildcats end zone again.
Highlighted by a 31-yard pass to Santopietro and a pass interference call, the drive ended as Matos was on the receiving end of a 12-yard strike from Gambino. Now it was 41-34 with 7:08 left and the Seymour sweat was visible from miles away.
The Wildcats produced three touchdown passes from quarterback Frank Marcuccio to Christian Thurmond but for most of the night had ridden the rugged effort of running back Joseph Salemme. Salemme is listed on the Seymour roster as 5-foot-8, 165 lbs. but the junior back ran more like a big bulldozer most of the night. He toted the ball 41 times for 172 yards.
He pounded the middle time after time, grinding out decent chunks of yardage. When it came late time, however, Wolcott was finally able to slow him down.
Wolcott got the ball back with 3:54 and by this time, stopping the Eagles didn’t seem to be part of the plan. The Eagles went 89 yards in 2:05 with Joe Lynch busting up the middle to tie the game at 41-41 with 1:41 to go.
After a three and out, Wolcott got the ball back and you had an idea what was going to happen. On a second-and-2 at the Seymour 21 with 11. 6 seconds and one timeout left, Gambino officially made it a night to remember with a 21-yard strike to Jason Pelletier.
Gambino threw for 265 yards and four touchdown passes in the final 24 minutes. Matos caught 10 passes for 182 yards on the night and Santopierto 7 for 175 yards.
Nobody had a bigger smile than Wolcott Principal and former coach and Athletic Director, Joe Monroe, the man the field is named after and who patrolled the sidelines for so many years for the Eagles. Pace was a bit speechless. Gambino talked about his team being a second half team and having complete faith in his receivers – “They are playmakers.”
All the type of stuff you get on a night that will be remembered long after the season has gone the way of the trolley.