Eagles ground Hawks

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Woodland’s Sean McAllen (4) hits the hole as Wolcott’s Jason Pelletier (7) and Robert Onofreo (10) close in Sept. 26 in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles 26-7. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Sean McAllen (4) hits the hole as Wolcott’s Jason Pelletier (7) and Robert Onofreo (10) close in Sept. 26 in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles 26-7. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

BEACON FALLS — Woodland seemed poised to strike throughout the evening last Friday, but never could break through as Wolcott came into Beacon Falls and left with 26-7 win.

Wolcott (2-0) was led by quarterback Vincent Gambino, who connected on 18 of 23 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns.

“The key is Gambino, and one thing is certain: He worked his rear end from the end of last season to the beginning of this season,” Woodland coach Tim Phipps said. “He is extra-confident and made some great decisions. He does a great job of holding his team together.”

For a long time, Woodland (1-2) was like the hangnail that wouldn’t go away. Trailing 20-7, with Wolcott threatening to add the final blow late in the first half, the Hawks came up with two gems of defense, stopping Mike Audibert twice from the 1 to end the first half.

Woodland carried that momentum into the second half. The Hawks snuffed Wolcott on the first possession of the half forcing a three-and-out.

On the ensuing possession, the Hawks had the ball at midfield with the scent of a momentum shift wafting around home field. However, Wolcott stiffened.

Woodland’s Mike Kenny (9) looks for an open receiver as Wolcott’s Nathan Filippone (24) applies pressure Sept. 26 in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles 26-7. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Woodland’s Mike Kenny (9) looks for an open receiver as Wolcott’s Nathan Filippone (24) applies pressure Sept. 26 in Beacon Falls. Woodland fell to the Eagles 26-7. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

Woodland punted and on the next possession Audibert bolted 36 yards down the right sideline for a 26-7 lead.

Wolcott scored on its first drive, going 71 yards in eight plays with Gambino hooking up with Jason Pelletier for an 8-yard scoring strike. Woodland was not impressed.

The Hawks answered with a 42-yard bolt from Sean McAllen (15-76), after a 45-yard kickoff return from Jason Rodrigues to take a 7-6 lead. The end zone was forbidden territory the rest of the night.

“We answered one of (Wolcott’s) touchdowns, and I believe our guys fought and left it on the field,” Phipps said. “We made some mental mistakes and you have to be able to sustain drives offensively. They executed their game plan.”

Gambino hit Phil Lebel with a pair of TD tosses before the half and the Eagles defense did the rest holding Hawks to just 160 yards on the night.

Woodland will host St. Paul this Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.