Trumbull holds off Wilton, 13-7

WILTON -- Wilton had its chances to knock off Trumbull in a season opening FCIAC matchup at Tom Fujitani Field on Thursday night.

However, the Warriors had three turnovers, including two botched punt returns, one in the first quarter that led to a touchdown and another in the fourth that allowed Trumbull to run out the clock, as Wilton fell to the Eagles 13-7.

Trumbull did all it could to keep Wilton in the game as well. The Eagles were whistled for five penalties, four in the first half, and turned the ball over on an interception in the second quarter. In spite of the miscues, coach Bob Maffei was pleased with the Eagles' season opening effort.

"We played okay, we made a lot of mistakes," Maffei said. "But we showed a lot of grit. Don't take any credit away from them (Wilton), they're going to be a good team."

Trumbull kept the ball on the ground for most of the game and got 97 yards on 19 carries out of senior running back Will Melvin. Junior Anthony Matera scored two rushing touchdowns and senior QB Mike Romano was 7-for-16 or 64 yards and one interception.

"Definitely we had some jitters," Romano said. "We were all excited to get out there on the road; we were excited when we came here."

"We played as a team," Melvin said. "We're just going all out; the line was blocking and the defense was hitting; we're just ready to go."

Wilton junior wide receiver Mike Francia mishandled the ball on a punt return early in the first quarter and a group of Trumbull players landed on it. The Eagles took over on the 30-yard-line. Melvin busted a 16-yard run to the right side before being brought down on the 14. Three plays later, Matera punched it in running up the middle to give Trumbull a 7-0 lead.

"I'm not going to blame the kid," said Wilton coach Bruce Cunningham, who coached his first game as head coach of the Warriors.

Wilton tied the score at the half off a six-play drive, which included a 36-yard reception from the 48-yard-line by senior running back Matt Baird.

With the ball on the 12, senior QB Jackson Wilbur found Francia up the middle for the game-tying score.

The Eagles scored on their first drive of the third, making the score 13-7. The Eagles took over on their 37. Two long runs, a 17-yard run by Romano and a 24-yard run by junior wide receiver Frank Gaines put the Eagles on the 13. Matera ran for the score.

Wilton botched its second punt return in the fourth quarter. With 7:18 left to play and the score at 13-7,

Trumbull was forced to punt. A Wilton player inadvertently touched the punt and again a mob of Eagles jumped on it and secured the victory.

"It was kind of tough in the first half," Melvin said. "But in the second it all came together."

Trumbull defensive back Jeff Johns intercepted a Wilton pass in the end zone in the second quarter. Johns limped off the field but, Maffei said Johns is okay and is nursing a bruised knee.

Trumbull 13, Wilton 7

TRUMBULL ............................................7 0 6 0--13

WILTON ...................................................0 7 0 0--7

T--Anthony Matera 11-yard-run (Matera kick)

W--Mike Francia 12 pass Jackson Wilbur (Scott Young kick)

T--Matera 5 run (kick failed)

Records: Trumbull 1-0, Wilton 0-1