The anxiety of teams coming out of training camp is always high, but when your training camp keeps you off the field for 10 days, panic could easily set in.
That is exactly where the Wilton Warriors were after having their preseason workouts interrupted by an uninvited guest named Irene. But if the Warriors were supposed to be rusty, they forgot to show it Monday night.
Coach Bruce Cunningham's squad came out ready to play - and played well, defeating a formidable opponent in Bridgeport Central 33-20 in the season opener that had been postponed from Friday.
Senior quarterback Sean Carroll led Wilton down the field on its opening drive, culminating in a 20-yard TD pass to Alex Ward to put the Warriors up, 7-0.
Central came right back and on its next possession, as Frederick Tucker took the hand off from quarterback Deon Wiggins and rumbled up the right sideline 25 yards for a touchdown. Central completed the two-point conversion to go up 8-7 with 4:55 left in the first quarter.
The Warriors answered with a 70-plus yard drive, ending on a 25-yard pass from Carroll to senior wide receiver Rob Keers. Wilton missed the extra point and led 13-8 after the first quarter.
The Hilltoppers had a three-and-out on their next series, but Christopher Nolan intercepted Carroll’s pass intended for Ward.
That play set up a 23-yard TD run by Chad Lawrence. After a missed two-point conversion, Central was up 14-13 in a see-saw battle.
Wilton would not budge, as the Warriors answered again on Carroll's 32-yard TD strike to Ward.
After getting Central to relinquish the ball on downs, the Warriors found themselves at their own 25 and a ton of real estate in front of them. Carroll called his own number, broke several tackles and ran 65 yards to get inside the 10-yard line.
Carroll called his own number again three plays later as he muscled his way through the line for a 1-yard TD run and a 27-14 halftime lead.
“(Carroll's) the whole package, he can run, take the punishment and he has a great arm,” Central coach Dave Cadelina said.
The third quarter became a defensive standoff as both teams kept each other in check.
Central broke the scoreless second half on a 1-yard TD run by Anderson with 7:32 left. Once again, Wilton stopped Central’s two-point conversion attempt.
Wilton was forced to punt on its next possession, but Central had 12 men on the field and the 15-yard penalty resulted in a first down at the Hilltoppers' 40. The Warriors took advantage of the critical mistake as Connor Devane capped the clinching drive with a 12-yard TD run.
Up 33-20 with 2:17 remaining, the Warriors held Central’s offense in check to claim their first victory of the season and a much-needed confidence boost after a limited and interrupted training camp.
The Warriors (1-0) host St. Joseph (0-1) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. while Central (0-1) faces Staples (1-0).