WILTON, Conn. — The Wilton High football team nearly let a 14-point halftime lead slip away, but hard-nosed running by John D’elisa and an acrobatic catch on a crucial third down by Zack Laurinaitis stopped the Brien McMahon comeback in a 35-21 victory on Saturday afternoon.
“We’re at the mid-point and we just try to come out here and win every week,” Wilton head coach Bruce Cunningham said. “We let them off the hook for a bit, but we were able to step up twice and made a great effort.”
Leading 21-7, Wilton was poised to put the game away on its opening drive of the second half. The Warriors’ possession burned more than six minutes off the clock as they got down to the McMahon 4-yard line. But Malik Whittaker picked off quarterback Brett Phillips in the end zone to turn the momentum.
McMahon drove 80 yards and converted a fourth-and-goal for a touchdown, cutting the Wilton lead to 21-14.
Wilton’s running game could not be stopped, however, as the Warriors marched down the field again to take a 28-14 lead on a 4-yard D’elisa touchdown run.
McMahon answered again with another long drive, capped by a Kyle Jordan touchdown, but the Senators’ defense had no answer for D’elisa and Phillips. The Warriors converted on third-and-8 deep in McMahon territory, forcing the Senators to use their last time out. Burns put the game out of reach with 1:02 to play with a 17-yard touchdown run.
“Overall it was a solid performance on both sides of the ball,” D’elisa said. “They have some fast guys and made some big plays. Our defense bent, but didn’t break.”
After surrendering a touchdown on McMahon's first drive, that initial hiccup was soon erased. Phillips found Laurinaitis from 45 yards to put Wilton on the board. Two McMahon possessions later, Griffin Bender returned a McMahon fumble on a fake punt that went awry to put the Warriors up 14-7.
Mike Burns rushed for a score from 15 yards out to put the Warriors up 21-7 at halftime.
Wilton (3-2) hosts Darien (3-2) Friday at 6 p.m.