Wethersfield middle linebacker James Malizia
It would have been easy for the Wethersfield football team to look ahead. The Eagles had easily disposed of their first three opponents and would be traveling to Meriden to battle fellow undefeated Maloney in just seven days. Their Friday night game against struggling Farmington had all the makings of a classic “trap” game.
But Wethersfield had revenge on their minds.
That's because Farmington defeated Wethersfield 32-28 in a wild game just one season ago. The Eagles have not lost a game since that defeat, but the loss ultimately cost the team a chance at the 2013 Class L playoffs.
The Eagles hadn’t forgotten about that loss and came out with a great deal of focus and intensity on both sides of the ball en route to a 41-14 road victory over the Indians.
Wethersfield was in complete control from the opening kickoff and scored five rushing touchdowns in the first half, giving the Eagles and insurmountable 41-point lead at the break.
Senior Tyler Nelson toted the ball six times for 120 yards and two scores to lead the Eagles’ ground game. Devon Smith added another score when he took an option pitch a juked a defender before striking pay dirt. Patrick Mozzicato and Elijah Young scored the other two rushing touchdowns on nearly identical plays; both started out wide and motioned towards a trips formation (three wide receiver on one side of the field) before taking inside handoffs. Young’s score was an electrifying 53-yard scamper.
The Wethersfield offense was extremely efficient in the first half, but their defense set the tone from the game’s second snap when Mozzicato sacked Farmington quarterback Michael Popolizio. It was one of several tackles that Wethersfield made in the Farmington backfield. Mozzicato also blocked one of the Indian’s five punts in the first half.
Mozzicato and his defensive mates played a flawless first two quarters, not allowing a first down. They also caused a turnover when energetic middle linebacker James Malizia delivered a devastating hit on an Indian’s ball carrier, dislodging the ball. Young scooped up the loose ball off the artificial turf surface.
Quarterback Matt Sanzaro had another solid outing, completing 7 of 13 passes, for 113 yards and a score.
Kyle Klavins caught Sanzaro’s lone score when he out jumped a Farmington defensive back in the corner of the end zone to grab a fade pass. Klavins has routinely made spectacular catches on a weekly basis and his incredible body control and sure hands have earned him a reputation as one of the most complete receivers in the state. The junior is also the team’s punter returner and is a terrific at blocking downfield, which has become a staple of Wethersfield’s receivers.
With the game well in hand, head coach John Campanello rested a majority of his offensive starters for the second half. This allowed several of the team’s reserves to get valuable playing time. One of the young players was freshman Timothy Blaisdell, who replaced Sanzaro behind center over the finals 24 minutes.
Wethersfield can now look ahead after erasing the memories of last season’s loss. However, they can’t look too far forward, because Maloney (4-0) is up next. It should be Wethersfield’s biggest test of this season and could ultimately decide a spot in the postseason.
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Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin