Trailing by 9 entering the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Bay State Conference football clash at Wellesley, the Walpole Timberwolves scored 13 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes to stun the Raiders, 27-23.
Logan Keyes helped the No. 17 Timberwolves (3-0) remain unbeaten — while pinning Wellesley (1-2) with its second straight loss and first in conference play — after he scored the winning touchdown on a 19-yard run with 1:13 remaining.
”When I heard the play call, I was ready for the ball,” Keyes said emphatically. “As soon as I saw the end zone I just knew I needed to sprint 100 percent and get into the end zone.”
Wellesley went ahead, 23-14, on a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Vincent Ferrara with 33 seconds left in the third quarter. It capped a 10-play drive after a safety put the Raiders up, 16-14.
Walpole QB Corey Kilroy found Jamal Abdal-Khalaq from 8 yards out to cut it to 23-21 with 5:45 left in the game. The Timberwolves forced Wellesley to go three and out on its ensuing offensive series, setting the stage for Kilroy to direct the winning eight-play drive.
Andrew Falzone iced the game with an interception in the final seconds.
“The message in the fourth quarter was just don’t give up, anything can happen,” said Walpole coach Chris Sullivan.
Walpole took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on Kilroy’s 10-yard TD toss to Abdal-Khalaq. Walpole’s PAT failed, opening the door for Wellesley to wrest the lead away, 7-6, on Ferrara’s 45-yard second-quarter TD strike to Max Poirier.
Kilroy helped Walpole answer when he connected with Adal-Khalaq on a 22-yard scoring toss, but Wellesley tied it, 14-14, on Poirier’s 16-yard TD run just before intermission.
St. John’s College High 41, Springfield Central 24 — The defending Division 1 champion Golden Eagles (2-1) showed they were capable of playing with the best in the country by giving D.C. powerhouse St. John’s College High a close game at Berte Field.
Springfield led, 24-19, at the half with Nebraska-bound senior quarterback William Watson (15 for25, 204 yards, TD; 9 carries, 44 yards, TD) extending plays and producing against a secondary loaded with Division 1 recruits. Watson completed passes to eight different receivers and finished the game with a 50-yard bomb to Kevin Jackson (four catches, 101 yards) as time expired.
In the second half, St. John’s controlled the clock with a pair of scoring drives that lasted more than six minutes and ended with rushing touchdowns from highly-recruited junior running back Da’Juan Riggs (13 carries, 122 yards, 4 TDs).
“I think we can be effective against anybody,” said Springfield coach Bill Watson. “I don’t care who we play, I always feel like we have the best player on the field. [Watson is] my son, so I don’t like to fly his flag all the time, but I feel he’s the best in the country at his position. [Our] guys have been playing against the best in the country, so they’re not in awe of anybody.”
St. Sebastian’s 34, Governor’s Academy 12 — Behind the powerful arm of sophomore Ty Ciongoli, the Arrows snapped their season-opening streak of futility against Governor’s, avenging back-to-back losses on their home turf in Needham with an offensive explosion of big plays.
Ciongoli threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns in his first varsity start, launching the Arrows to the Independent School League victory.
Ciongoli started the game strong with a reliable target, finding his twin brother, Ace, on an 18-yard TD pass. In the second quarter, Ciongoli extended the play with his legs after being flushed out of the pocket and found senior John Boyle down the field for a 66-yard score.
“He plays older than a sophomore, for sure,” said St. Sebastian’s coach Dan Burke. “He knows the right reads to make and he’s really good at zipping the ball.”
Ciongoli connected with sophomore Kaelan Chudzinski for an 80-yard score to open the third quarter. The next frame, Ciongoli hit Zion Simmons on a 5-yard out route and the senior captain handled the rest, darting 55 yards to the house.
“Zion is a crazy athlete,” said Burke. “His yards-after-catch are crazy. He’s got breakaway speed, really deadly speed.”
The standout performance from Ciongoli provides a boost of confidence, but the Arrows (1-0) refuse to get ahead of themselves before a matchup with Nobles next Saturday.
“He’s a pretty even-keeled kid, we know it’s just one game and the whole team is already focused on next week,” Burke said. “It definitely settles some nerves down.”
Brooks 34, Groton 14 — Senior QB Michael Wolfendale was 5-of-8 passing for 85 yards and three touchdowns, and added a 54-yard rushing TD. Darnell Pierre had 20 carries for 122 yards. On defense, Nomar Tejada and Tristan Yepdo each had six tackles for Brooks (1-0).
Carver 43, St. John Paul II 0 — Junior Tyler Lennox had three touchdowns -- two rushing, one passing, junior Jameson Helms added two touchdowns for the Crusaders (1-2).
Central Catholic 34, St. John’s (Shrewsbury) 16 — Sophomore Blake Hebert tossed three touchdowns, propelling the No. 3 Raiders (2-1) to a nonleague win. Senior running back Markys Bridgewater rumbled for two scores on the ground, highlighted by a 71-yard scamper in the second quarter.
Dexter Southfield 56, Austin Prep 14 — Junior Darius Day made an impact in all three phases of the game, scoring on a 48-yard receiving touchdown, a 32-yard interception return and a 36-yard punt return to lift Dexter Southfield (1-0). Junior quarterback Joe McCauley was 8-of-9 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, tossing the 48-yard score to Day and another 68-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Dom Wadland.
KIPP Academy 42, Georgetown 20 — Due to injury, junior Morenel Castro stepped in at quarterback for the hosts, but it was his 70-yard punt return for a touchdown, and a 60-yard pick-six that got the ball rolling for KIPP (1-2). Castro was 4-of-4 passing, for 56 yards and a score, and had conversion rushes. Senior Vic Mafo had four carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Lowell Catholic 40, Lee 8 — Senior Nick Sawyer rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns for the Crusaders (3-0), who forced six turnovers and held Lee (1-2) to 150 yards of total offense in the nonleague game.
Peabody 40, Beverly 0 — Junior Shea Lynch racked up six touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rushing), punctuated by an 88-yard throw to Jayce Dooley and a 70-yard toss to Eli Batista for the Tanners (3-0) in the Northeastern win.
Roxbury Latin 17, Middlesex 7 — Sophomore Andrew Bingham threw two touchdown passes, classmate Marc Albrechtskirchinger drilled a 37-yard field goal, and John Thomas had a key interception to propel the visiting Red Foxes to the ISL win in Concord. Senior captains Harry Lonergan and David Sullivan delivered big plays on both sides of the ball.
Stoneham 46, Dennis-Yarmouth 12 — The visiting Spartans (3-0) put 38 points on the board in the first half of the nonleague matchup, led by Colin Farren (6 carries, 110 yards two TDs; 35-yard TD catch) and QB Jason Nutting (100-plus yards rushing and a TD).
Thayer 34, St. Mark’s 7 — Junior Nate Austin-Johnstone rushed for for 103 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, leading the Tigers (1-0) to an Independent School League win. Senior quarterback Grady Russo (3-for-5 passing, 72 yards, 2 TDs) amassed 105 yards and a score on three carries. Junior Malachi Mcclean, Angel Perez-Gonzalez, and CJ Talabi-Oats all recorded interceptions.
West Bridgewater 43, Nantucket 8 — Junior James Harris rushed for 87 yards and four unanswered touchdowns on eight carries as the Wildcats (1-2) picked up their first win of the year in a nonleague matchup. Junior Sam Salter picked up a fumble and returned it 10 yards to the house and senior Will DeLuca rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.
Kevin Stone reported from Wellesley, Nate Weitzer from Springfield. Cam Kerry and Lenny Rowe contributed to this report.