FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Fairfield Wildcats sixth-grade football team squeaked past Darien Blue, 8-6, during their regular season meeting in September. With the stakes much higher in Wednesday’s semifinals at Fairfield Ludlowe, the Wildcats posted another hard-fought victory, edging Darien 14-7.
David Summers hit Patrick Egan with a 27-yard pass in the second quarter for the go-ahead touchdown, and the Wildcats hung on to reach the championship game for the first time. The Wildcats will play Darien White this weekend for the league championship at a time and place to be announced.
“It was a very similar game,’’ Fairfield coach John Lawson said. “We put up one more touchdown than we did in the first game. I thought we might actually need another one.”
The Wildcats scored on the second play from scrimmage on a 72-yard run by Brian Howell. Darien marched back and took the lead with a touchdown and conversion, covering 70 yards in 13 plays. Darien had another golden opportunity when Fairfield fumbled on its next play, but Fairfield’s defense held inside its own 10.
The Wildcats came back on the next drive for the go-ahead touchdown. A 19-yard pass from Summers to Egan picked up a big first down, and Howell added a 37-yard run. Egan’s touchdown capped a 92-yard drive, and Howell took Summers’ pass for a two-point conversion.
The Wildcats’ defense came up big in the second half, stopping Darien at the Fairfield 15 in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Jack Palmieri recovered a fumble after Darien marched to the Fairfield 24. Will Stearns made a nice tackle to prevent Darien from getting a first down when it reached the Fairfield 30 late in the fourth quarter.
Howell had 158 yards rushing for Fairfield, and helped put the game away with runs of 13 and 20 yards in the final two minutes. “He’s been doing that all year,’’ Lawson said. “He can be tough to bring down.”
Fairfield has made vast strides under Lawson, in his first year as the coach. Fairfield lost in the quarterfinals last year as fifth-graders. “It’s exciting to get there,’’ Lawson said. “We expect it will be another tough game against Darien for the championship.”
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