Warriors topped by Lynnfield in 29-22 thriller

Nov 5, 2018 by

MICHAEL O’KEEFE celebrated with his teammates after reeling in a last-second touchdown on the final play of the first half in Lynnfield on Friday night. O’Keefe had 194 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. (Dan Pawlowski Photos)

Published in the November 5, 2018 edition.

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

LYNNFIELD — The Warriors and Pioneers met at Lynnfield High School on Friday night during week two of the MIAA non-playoff schedule.

Both teams were coming off losses in the first week of the postseason and looking to build some positive momentum towards their respective rivalry games on Thanksgiving.

The Warriors kept up throughout four quarters of what became a shootout early, and if not for a questionable call, would have tied the game with five minutes to play.

With Lynnfield up 29-22, Wakefield captain Mike Lucey (15/29, 210 yards, 1 TD) heaved his third bomb of the game to junior receiver Michael O’Keefe (7 rec. 157 yards, 1 TD) who was in a foot race with one final defender. The ball was poked loose from O’Keefe and bounced out of the end zone.

The question was whether he crossed the goal line first. The back judge, who was trailing the play, deemed that the ball was fumbled at the 1 and went through the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Lynnfield.

Taking a touchdown away on a play that close was absolutely a tough break for Wakefield and though the Warriors would have another chance with the ball and 3:30 left, they couldn’t move the chains and time ran out.

Lynnfield’s offense, coming off a 7-2 loss to Watertown the previous week, played loose and aggressive from the opening drive, bringing the ball to the Warrior 10-yard line. Taaj Andrews, Anthony DeVito and Aidan Sweeney were all in the mix to break the ball free from Lynnfield running back Jaret Simpson and junior Cam Souza recovered.

The Warriors moved the rock but stalled at Lynnfield’s 47.

Lynnfield’s John Lee broke loose on the ensuing punt and took it to the house but a holding call brought it back to the 25. Lynnfield responded by going 75-yards in seven plays. Wakefield forced a 4th-and-11 from the 33, but in a surprising move after calling a timeout, Lynnfield went for it and completed a 33-yard touchdown pass (Clayton Marengi to Jack Ford) for a 7-0 lead with 8:24 left in the half.

The Warriors bounced right back. After a great return from O’Keefe set them up at the 50, they scored on six quick plays in just over two minutes.

On 3rd-and-8 from the Lynnfield 35, Wakefield ran a jet sweep to O’Keefe who proved that getting the ball in his hands is always a good call by sprinting to a 35-yard rushing score for his first touchdown of the game. O’Keefe finished with 194 yards from scrimmage. Add in his punt and kick returns and he easily had over 260 all-purpose yards.

With a 7-7 tie, five minutes to play and the flood gates now wide open, the Pioneers struck in a two-minute drill of their own. A 28-yard rush and a 27-yard pass got the ball into the red zone and Lynnfield scored on a 6-yard touchdown pass to Lee.

With 2:34 left in the half, Wakefield went to work again. They played their game, not worrying about the clock so much as they fed freshman running back Aidan Sweeney (27 carries, 97 yards, 1 TD) who helped get the ball to the Lynnfield 42.

After a long sack, the half looked to be over on 4th-and-15 from the Pioneer 47, but Lucey found O’Keefe on the left sideline, lofting a perfect pass over the secondary for a huge completion to the 6-yard line with just 12 seconds left.

After an incomplete, the Warriors had time for one final play from the 6 with just five seconds left.

Lucey and O’Keefe had perfect timing on a quick out-route to the left sideline and O’Keefe reeled in the pass for his second score of the day. The Warriors went for the tie by going for two. They gave it to Sweeney on a draw and he busted through to tie it 15-15 at the break.

Much like on their first drive, Lynnfield got deep in the red zone on their first possession of the second half before Wakefield forced a 4th-and-1 from the 5. Junior linebacker Chris Miller got to the quarterback for a huge sack, forcing a turnover-on-downs.

The Warriors had a quick three-and-out on the next drive and Lynnfield got great field position from the 50 to start their next series that would end on another touchdown pass from Marengi to Ford, this time for 20 yards. O’Keefe batted away the two-point conversion pass to keep the deficit at six.

Trailing 21-15 to start the 4th quarter, Lucey and O’Keefe connected on their second long completion, this time for 42 yards to set the Warriors up at the 5-yard line. Sweeney later punched it in from 1-yard out to tie it at 21.

Wakefield sent out sophomore Dan Hurley for a huge point-after attempt. Hurley is 1-for-1 on field goals this year and perfect on PAT’s except for one blocked attempt. He stayed that way with a clutch kick to give Wakefield a 22-21 lead.

Wakefield’s defense forced a three-and-out on Lynnfield’s next drive, but the Pioneers returned the favor, for three Wakefield incompletions.

A bad snap on the Warriors’ punt attempt gave Lynnfield the ball on the Wakefield 25.

The Pioneers struck on the next play, a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ford again for his third of the night.

A pitch to Simpson on the two-point conversion made it 29-22 Lynnfield with 8:24 left.

Starting on their own 36, Wakefield moved it into Pioneer territory on four rushes and 18 yards from Sweeney and a 7-yard pass to Souza (7 Rec. 43 yards) who provided Lucey with a steady set of hands in the intermediate passing game all night.

That’s when it appeared Lucey and O’Keefe connected for their second touchdown before the bad break.

The Pioneers went three-and-out on their next drive and the Warriors started again on their own 27 with 3:30 left.

O’Keefe made a ridiculous 11-yard grab after initially bobbling the pass on first down from their own 38. A false start and two incomplete passes forced a 4th-and-13 from the Lynnfield 46.

Wakefield broke out one of their best plays, a weak side screen to Sweeney which gashed Watertown on Oct. 19. The freshman had some daylight but was brought down on an impressive one-on-one tackle by Marengi, who is not only Lynnfield’s QB but perhaps their most athletic two-way player. The play gained 10 yards but it wasn’t enough as the Pioneers held on in a thrilling 29-22 victory.

Wakefield will host one more game this week before their Thanksgiving tilt against Melrose as the Warriors (2-8) meet Boston Latin (0-9) at Landrigan Field on Friday night.

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