FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield Wildcats seventh-grade coach Buddy Zachery takes pride in his team’s defense. Even in Sunday’s 7-6 loss to Wilton in Fairfield County Football League play, the defense stood tall.
“Our defense is lethal,’’ said Zachery, who played football at Yale. “We lost this game on a turnover. We’re big, fast and athletic. We have the same personnel as last year. We just have to regroup after this one.”
Zachery was an assistant under Ned Batlin on last year’s sixth-grade league championship team, which posted nine shutouts and allowed only 12 points all season en route to a 10-1 record. After losing 6-0 to Wilton Black in the regular season, Fairfield came back to win the rematch, 12-0, in the title game. It was the second league championship in three years for Fairfield, which joined the FCFL in 2005.
A different Wilton team got the Wildcats on Sunday. Wilton scored its touchdown on a 32-yard interception return early in the third quarter, then kicked the extra point.
Fairfield’s offense could not cash in on several first-half opportunities inside the Wilton 20. The Wildcats got their touchdown in the final minute on a 22-yard touchdown run by Timmy Jacobi. They went for the win, running for the two-point conversion, but Wilton snuffed it out.
“We made some mistakes and it hurt us,’’ Zachery said. “We felt we were in the game, and defensively we did what we wanted to do. Offensively, we didn’t take care of business.”
Steve Ouellette, Tyler Festa, Ben Foster and TJ Grace led Fairfield’s line, while Kris Gjinaj, Matt Coda and Jack Hogarth were effective runners.
Zachery still believes his team will be in the mix for the championship hardware when the season wraps up in November. “We played a different Wilton team last year and lost to them, then beat them in the championship,’’ he said. “Maybe we’ll see a repeat of that. You never know. We have to get there first. You can’t look too far ahead.”