FOOTBALL: Wilcox-Kaynor ground and pound, but turnovers prove fatal

WOODBURY — The Wilcox-Kaynor Tech Warriors fell to the Northwest United Chiefs 22-6 in a CTC game on Friday night at Nonnewaug High School. 

Wilcox-Kaynor fell to 1-2 with the loss, while Northwest, playing for the first time in two weeks, improved to 2-0.

Turnovers were an issue for the Wildcats. They threw three interceptions — two of them in goal-line situations and another for a pick-six.

Wilcox-Kaynor also lost a fumble. 

“We made some mistakes; we made some bad mistakes,” said coach Alonzo Relaford. “It was on us and we made some bad decision.”

Seniors Raysean Emerie and Brandon Alvarado were the workhorses for the Wildcats. Emerie recorded 100 rushing yards on 16 carries. Alvarado had 72 yards on 15 attempts.

Alvarado added 40 receiving yards and three receptions to surpass 100 total yards. 

Wilcox was gifted on the first play of the game. On the opening kickoff, Northwest United muffed the catch and Alvarado recovered at the 33-yard line.

A few passes to Alvarado and Malik Sanchez set Wilcox-Kaynor up first-and-goal at the 10.

After a few passing plays, the Wildcats faced foruth down at the 5. Alvarado took a QB draw home to give Wilcox, after a failed two-point conversion, a 6-0 lead just 3½ minutes into the game.

“It was huge [to score off of the fumble on the opening kickoff],” Relaford said. “We tried to set the tempo, but sometimes the tempo catches up with you and you start to think of other things.”

Northwest responded on its ensuing drive with a strong run game. Jacob Bourgoin had four carries for 16 yards and fellow senior John Paul Cuccia had three carries for 16. 

Cuccia finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle. He also ran for the conversion to put the Chiefs up 8-6 with 4:05 left in the first quarter. 

On their next drive, the Wildcats were forced to punt after one first down, but they did have a crucial stop in their next defensive series after the Chiefs gained the 3-yard line on a 26-yard pass from junior Ben Roden to sophomore R.J. Barksdale.

Wilcox-Kaynor stopped Northwest on back-to-back runs to set up third-and-goal from the 9, then forced two incompletions to get the ball back on downs. 

The Wildcats, though, couldn’t get anything done after their big stop. Worse, on third-and-10, Northwest made a big play. Bourgoin got a pick-six after perfectly reading a screen for an easy, untouched 5-yard return.

The two-point option run by Burgoin was no good. Still, the Chiefs led the Warriors 14-6 and carried the momentum into halftime. 

To begin the second half, Northwest got a little bit of luck that Wilcox-Kaynor had enjoyed early on. After the Wildcats gained a few first downs through a ground-and-pound attack, Emerie fumbled and Northwest recovered.

Wilcox-Kaynor did stop Northwest on the ensuing drive and, when the Wildcats got the ball back, they saw more success in their run game by Emerie and Alvarado. A key interception in the end zone, however, took  away a chance of tying the game.

To begin the fourth quarter, Northwest had the ball at the 40-yard line. After a first down from a pass interference call, Bourgoin scored his second touchdown of the night on a 19-yard run. 

The two-point pass was good and Northwest led 22-6 with 9:39 left in the game, a score that would hold the rest of the way.

Despite the loss, Relaford liked the way his backs ran the ball.

“I’m very impressed in Ray and Brandon; they did a very great job,” the head coach said. “Emerie has to hold the ball a little tighter, but they ran the ball hard tonight.” 

The Wildcats will get a chance to claim revenge. They host Northwest United on Oct. 22 at Falcon Field. In the meantime, Wilcox-Kaynor will make its home debut at Falcon next Saturday night against O’Brien Tech.

“O’Brien has always been an Achilles heel,” said Relaford. “They’ve always gotten us. They have a good program, but I think we match up with them very well. I think it’ll be a good game this year.”


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