Wakefield hands Stoneham first loss of football season

Wakefield 42
Stoneham 28

STONEHAM – Wakefield coach Mike Boyages never second-guessed his gut-instinct to go for the end zone on fourth and 7, his team clinging to a one-possession lead with just less than two minutes to play.

After calling a timeout to make a slight adjustment, Boyages sent quarterback Mike Miller to the field with the play, and the junior signal-caller executed perfectly.

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Miller hit tight end Alec Brown with a 17-yard touchdown pass on a seam route with 1:31 to play as Wakefield toppled No. 20 Stoneham, 42-28, Friday night.

“We figured we’d use our outside skills and at some point there was going to be a mismatch,” Boyages said. “We were going to throw all the way on the fourth down, but we didn’t know who to go to so we made an adjustment.”

Wakefield (7-1) moves into second place in the Middlesex (Freedom), only behind Burlington (7-1, 3-0).

Since Burlington beat Wakefield last week, the Warriors hope Stoneham beats Burlington next Friday for a shot at the conference title.

“We had to win this, or we would have been out,” Boyages said. “Now we have to root for Stoneham to beat Burlington, which is a tough task.”

Both teams struggled to contain the big play in the first half, but it was Wakefield which made the second-half adjustments, outmuscling Stoneham in the final two quarters.

Stoneham running back Darius McPherson (6 carries, 183 yards) rushed for a 71-yard score on the third play of the third quarter, giving Stoneham a 28-21 lead.

But before the third quarter came to a close, Miller hit wide receiver Bruce Brown for a 37-yard score, and a Sal Lo Brutto extra point tied the score, 28-28.

On Stoneham’s ensuing possession, Brown intercepted quarterback Andrew Cann’s pass.

Cann tried to get the ball to wide receiver David LaBossiere in the end zone, but Brown outjumped him.

“LaBossiere is a good player, so I had to watch out for him,” Brown said. “He has the same jumping ability as I do, but you just got to be patient and wait for the ball.”

Three plays later, Brown (7 catches, 190 yards) caught a 6-yard pass and broke 66 yards for the score, giving the Warriors a 35-28 lead with 6:16 left.

“Bruce is tough to cover,” Boyages said. “We go five across, and [Stoneham] has to play man-to-man and Miller is a good runner to keep them honest.”

On the next drive, Stoneham faced a fourth-and-6 from Wakefield’s 45-yard line, but Cann was sacked for a 7-yard loss.

A 10-yard run from Tyler MacDonald and a facemask penalty set up Wakefield’s final score, which landed in the record books.

Miller (17-33, 323 yards) broke the school record for touchdowns in a season with his fourth of the game, bringing his total to 15, one more than Tom McManama in 2005.