FAIRFIELD — The New York Giants called their punishing rushing attack “smash-mouth” football. The Wilton Warriors have a different name for it.

They call it “ground and pound.”

Led by 125 yards from fullback Harvey Alexander and another 74 from quarterback Brian Calabrese, Wilton ran the ball 51 times, racking up a total of 249 yards as the Warriors stormed out to a comfortable lead and held off a late Mustangs charge in a 31-21 victory Saturday at Tetreau-Davis Field.

“When we’re doing things right, we can put up some big numbers,” Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham said. “It can put a strain on people, it really can. I thought we executed really well today and played pretty smart in the second half.”

Eight different Wilton players carried the football, putting together scoring drives of 78, 55, 43 and 68 yards. And when you add in Calabrese’s 106 yards passing, it was a solid offensive day all around for the Warriors.

“Typical ground-and-pound type game from us,” receiver Robert Hermann said. “Pound them into the dirt. It was a fantastic day. Running the football really set the tone for us and kind of opened up the play-action pass game to go along with the run.”

Hermann caught a 35-yard pass to set up the Warriors’ final touchdown but he was the star of the show on defense, intercepting Warde quarterback Matt Cerminaro four times as Wilton forced five Mustangs turnovers.

“I was just in good position,” Hermann said. “We saw that (Cerminaro) was a thrower and we knew he was going to try and sling all over us. Our front six did an outstanding job with pressure and we made the plays we had to make.”

Wilton scored touchdowns on its opening three possessions. Alexander scored on a 2-yard run to cap a seven-play drive and, after recovering a Warde fumble at the Mustangs’ 45, Wilton needed just six plays to score again as Calabrese found Joseph Scarfi for a 14-yard touchdown pass. Two Will Sullivan extra points made it 14-0.

It became 21-0 when Alexander powered into the end zone for a nine-yard TD run with 7:23 left in the second quarter, and a 38-yard field goal from Sullivan made it 24-0 Wilton at halftime. Alexander had 75 yards and Calabrese had 65 yards rushing at the break.

“The fullback in this offense has to be the workhorse,” Cunningham said of Alexander. “The quarterback makes the decisions and the fullback has to be the workhorse if you’re going to be successful.”

Warde, meanwhile, struggled throughout the first half, making four turnovers, managing just 49 total yards at halftime and earning two first downs — both coming on its opening drive.

But in the second half, Warde slowly started to find some rhythm, as Cerminaro scored on a 5-yard run and threw touchdown passes to Will Stearns (16 yards) and Qasim Danazumi (85 yards) to make a game of it late.

“We tried to go a little bit faster, Wilton seemed to get a little more tired and it equated to some points,” Mustangs assistant coach Brian Walsh said, filling in for coach Duncan DellaVolpe, who left the field immediately after the game, having to deal with what his staff called personal issues. “Our kids kept battling and will always come out and always work hard no matter what the score is on the board.”

Cerminaro rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown and completed 12 of 24 passes for 217 yards and two scores. He accounted for 283 of the Mustangs’ 307 total yards.

“We need to put him in a position where he doesn’t have to do that,” Walsh said of Cerminaro. “But when you get down early, it feels like the quarterback needs to make plays when all he has to do is play within the system. But the kid works his tail off. He works really hard.”


Wilton QB Brian Calabrese. The 5-foot-7 senior rushed 12 times for 74 yards, completed 5 of 7 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown and directed the offense to 31 points and 355 yards of total offense.


“He’s our go-to guy, he made some plays on both sides of the ball, especially on defense, He’s been around for a long time, third-year starting. We expect great things from him, he’s a great football player,” — Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham on Robert Hermann, who had a four-interception day.


Kudos to Wilton, which brought its band to the game. They cranked out music all day long. It would have been neat to see a back-and-forth song-off between bands but Warde’s was nowhere to be found.



WILTON 14 10 0 7 — 31

WARDE 0 0 0 21 — 21

WIL — Harvey Alexander, 2-yard run (Will Sullivan kick)

WIL — Joseph Scarfi, 14-yard pass from Brian Calabrese (Sullivan kick)

WIL — Alexander, 9-yard run (Sullivan kick)

WIL — Sullivan, 38-yard field goal

WA — Matt Cerminaro, 5-yard run (kick good)

WIL — Kyle Phillips, 1-yard run (Sullivan kick)

WA — Will Stearns, 16-yard pass from Cerminaro (run failed)

WA — Qasim Danazumi, 85-yard pass from Cerminaro (Cerimaro run)

Records: Warde (1-2, 1-2 FCIAC); Wilton (2-1, 2-1 FCIAC)