Maiona is forced to scramble after his protection breaks down. Photos by James Kinneen
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Friday night, the Wellesley Raiders routed the Weymouth Wildcats, 21-6, relying on the big arm of quarterback Matt Maiona and a stingy defense that didn’t give up a point in the second half.
The game was a tight one throughout the first half, with Wellesley scoring quickly to take a 7-0 lead they maintained throughout the first quarter. Weymouth’s only points would come in the second quarter, when after being stuffed on two runs from inside the five yard line and having broken up a pass in the end zone, Weymouth was forced to go for it on fourth down. After a timeout, they scored on a run, but missed the extra point. Neither team was able to mount much offense after that, and the Raiders took a 7-6 lead into the half.
In the second half, Wellesley’s defense really turned it on. A quick wide receiver screen bounced off the receiver’s fingers and was intercepted by Carl Callahan. With good field position, Wellesley’s offense sputtered and faced a fourth and ten. After initially showing their offense on the field, they shifted into a punt formation (they had shifted from a regular formation to a punt formation earlier in the game, and Miona punted the ball out of bounds), with sophomore punter Jon Marvan lined up to take the snap.Instead of punting, they ran a fake and Marvin powered forward, just barely getting the first down. With all that momentum, it seemed like Wellesley shot themselves in the foot with a holding penalty that moved them backwards. But at the start of the fourth quarter, Maiona threw a long touchdown pass to the corner of the endzone, putting Wellesley up, 14-6.
Soon after, nearly the same sequence of events occurred. Joey Knight picked off a pass that went off a Weymouth defender’s hands and returned it to the red zone. But, after a Wellesley penalty backed the Raiders up again, Miona again threw a long touchdown pass to the corner of the endzone. This time, the recipient was Teddy Komjathy.
From there, Wellesley’s defense gave up some yards, but there was clearly not enough time for Weymouth to make a comeback. With barely over a minute left to play, a fourth down stop effectively ended the game and moved the Raiders to 1-0, with a nice road win.
When asked about his quarterback, coach Jesse Davis responded simply: “He’s great. He’s good. We’ve got a lot to work on, but he had a good night.”
When asked whose performance stood out the most to him, the coach opted to applaud his defense, not any individuals. “The defense,” he said. “It was a bend-don’t-break mentality, and we made some adjustments at halftime. Our coaches did a great job. The kids bought in and they played hard.”
But above all else, it was his team’s effort that most pleased coach Davis.
“Weymouth was definitely ready; they came to play,” he commented. “We ended up making a couple more plays. We’ve certainly got a lot to work on, but our kids played with a lot of emotion. I’m very proud of the effort tonight.”