Photo: The Belmont High football team runs onto the field for the season opener vs. Wakefield.
It was a perfect night for the first football game of the Belmont High football season: A Friday night under the lights, the weather fall-like cool and clear with a Harvest full moon and before a
But it was also Friday the 13th and all the bad luck of that day hovered over the Belmont sideline as the home team never got on track on both sides of the ball as a young Wakefield High squad came away with a big win, 21-10.
“I really feel like we took ourselves out of that football game more than anything else,” said Belmont’s head coach Yann Kumin after the game.
President Kennedy is reported to have said after the Bay of Pigs fiasco: “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” In Belmont’s opener, it would fair to say that both sides of the ball could claim parental custody of this loss.
On the offensive side, Belmont’s running game never got into gear while its passing attack lacked the consistency needed to spread out the Warriors defense.
“Offensively, we just have to execute more than anything else. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Kumin. “We have to try to catch the ball, try to hit holes and execute on the offensive line. And these are the things that didn’t happen tonight.”
Offense highlights were few and far between. Senior Hampton Trout scored Belmont’s first points of the season hitting a second-quarter 43-yard field goal that would have been good from 50 plus yards. And running back Chad Francis finally found the right edge and raced 84 yards to cut the deficit to 14-10 just before the half.
The defense “dominated” said Kumin, containing the Warriors in the first 24 minutes with several sacks while containing the running game.
But it was two big first-half plays with the defense off the field by Wakefield’s Wesley Pierre that put Belmont behind the eight
On its second possession, Belmont was facing a 4th and 5 from the 24-yard line when senior QB Avery Arno’s pass over the middle was intercepted by a late-breaking Pierre who took the ball 65 yards to the Belmont 15 yard line with a little more than a minute to play in the first quarter. Belmont’s defense suddenly struggled to contain Wakefield which would convert a 3rd and 7 from the 12 and would score one play later on a 4 yard run by RB Tucker Stikeman early in the second.
Pierre’s second highlight reel moment came on the kickoff after Trout’s field goal cut the lead to 7-3. After a booming kick, it appeared Belmont’s special team had hemmed in Pierre along the right sideline. But a quick pivot to the left and Pierre would scamper 95 yards for the TD to up the score to 14-3 midway through the second quarter.
While Belmont’s defense was mostly stellar in the first half, Wakefield offense would turn the tables on the Marauders in the second as it moved down the field with some ease. Despite its first drive ending with a fumble inside the Belmont 10 yard line, the second would not be halted as Wakefield would concentrate on running sweeps with Stikeman rushing for his second TD
Without the dominating running attack from last season and pass attempts off the mark or dropped, a hoped-for Marauder comeback the crowd was anticipating never materialized.
“We got a lot of new starters this year so it’s just a question of consistency. So that’s what we’re going to do over the next couple weeks is try to move our consistency to the next level and get ready to go into the week,” said Kumin.
Due to a cancellation by teams Belmont had expected to play, the Marauders will next be on the field on Friday, Sept. 27 vs. Reading at Harris Field. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.