Tim McCarthy hits Zatrell Lyons with a 9-yard scoring strike against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Double click to see full screen.
Teammates still working together to help Gerald "Jay" Rice
By MIKE MADERA
(August 10, 2015) - Three decades ago, Gerald “Jay” Rice was a star player on two consecutive West Haven state championship football teams in 1986 and 1987.
From his safety position, he was a leader on the field. He made big plays. He hit with the ferocity of the toughest defenders. He was the true example of a team player. There was not one play Rice was afraid of or did not expect to make.“
He was an athlete,” long-time friend and former teammate Dan Montesi said. “He would come up from that safety position and lay it on people. That was a great team we had. Everyone on that team was close.”
Now, that close-knit team has one more battle to get through together.
Rice, 46 years old and a 1988 West Haven graduate, is in the fight of his life. Diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2014, Rice is looking to the strength and courage he had on the gridiron to help him beat this disease.
Jay and Amy Rice. Photo courtesy of Amy Rice.
An avid weight lifter, Rice, who was a driver at CDI for 14 years before being forced to stop working a few months back, started to notice something was not right when his right side, which is his dominant side, was weaker and lagging behind while working out and doing other activities. After several medical visits in which no determination was made on the symptoms, Rice was finally diagnosed with ALS.
“I was in the gym working out and my thumb started to bother me,” Rice said. “When I went to turn the lock on the house door or start the car, my thumb was weak. I started to notice my wrist was getting weak. I noticed my muscles looked like they were contracting.
“I thought I was getting older and maybe I was working out too hard. But, I started to notice my left side was getting stronger than my right. That was never the case. I kept getting spasms in my right arm.”
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis can affect 20,000 Americans with the disease at any given time. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
“We went back and forth with doctors for two years and even last year, they said it was ALS, then they said it wasn’t,” Rice’s wife Amy said. “On paper, we got the diagnosis in February. We were pretty sure what it was. We just needed the doctors to confirm it. Right now, he cannot feed or dress himself. Walking is very difficult. He has had some falls. He cannot lift himself up because he can’t use his arms.
“We are trying to get some insurance for this. We went to CVS to fill a prescription and we never got it. He can’t be without his pills. One month of pills is $2,100. We are trying to find prescription insurance. He is on Medicare now. He should not be alone at any time. I call from work and he doesn’t answer and I wonder if he fell and if he is okay. We have to make adjustments to our house.”
With Rice in this battle, lifelong friends have immediately stepped in to help. Montesi, along with classmate Paul McMahon and others, have organized a fundraiser for Rice in hopes of helping with the costs the family will now incur.
With medical expenses including occupational therapists, visiting nurses, wheelchair, scooter, a stair lift and much more, the expenses are expected to go well into six figures.
“To me, in my work career and in everything I have done, I have always felt very strongly about the West Haven bond we have,” McMahon said. “This has brought that out. So many people from the community are willing to help with this. We will do anything we can to help Jay. The community has really come together. I think it has brought out the good in all of us. We want to be able to do as much as we can for him.”
As seen in the New Haven Register in October of 1986, Jay Rice (42) makes a tackle against Hamden.
Montesi, who credits Stacey Rahl of the ALS Association Connecticut Chapter for her guidance and work in helping the family in Rice’s treatment and support, has also been instrumental in helping the Rice family get the proper coverage in terms of medical care as well as being there personally to assist with anything the family needs. Along with others, Montesi is leading the way to help support Rice financially.
“He has been absolutely amazing,” Amy said of Montesi. “As soon as he found out, he talked with Jay and me to see what we needed. He calls and texts all the time to see how we are doing. He has set up the fundraiser. He has been wonderful with everything he has done. Jay and Dan had not talked in a few years and once he (Montesi) found out, he just came right in and helped. He’s been amazing.”
A fundraiser will be held Saturday, August 15, 2015 at Z’s Corner Café, 407 Campbell Avenue in West Haven from 4 p.m.–7 p.m. Tickets for the benefit are $40 apiece and include food, beer and soda.
A raffle and 50/50 will be held and all the money raised that night will go directly to the Rice family. Tickets may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling Montesi at (203) 641-6324. Donations are also encouraged.
“It’s tough,” Montesi said of the disease. “He is in need of an electric scooter as well as other things. It is disheartening to see him go through this. Everyone has stepped up. West Haven is such a close knit community. I made one phone call and everything is coming together.
“We talked to Johnny Z (Ziada) about having a benefit and he offered his place. Everyone is pushing the event. Our goal is to raise as much as we can for the long haul. In talking with the people at ALS, expenses for medical care can go up to $200,000. We want to do what we can to help with this. (Former teammate) Larry Dorsi has been a big help. (Former teammate) Todd Dawid has been big in terms of helping with the medical side. Paul McMahon and my cousin Dave Cerillo have helped tremendously. Jay does not have the resources we might have.”
The work of all his former teammates and lifelong friends has not gone unnoticed by Rice.
“It means a lot to me,” Rice said. “It goes to show you the camaraderie and tightness of the group we had. Guys who graduated before and after me are all coming together. It is a real tough time and people are coming together from out of state to support me. It is really big for me. It lifts my hopes and spirits.
“I played sports in West Haven. It is its own little community. You play football and win a championship with guys and you have a bond with them. We are all close no matter if we haven’t see each other in a year. When we do, it is like we saw each other yesterday and pick things right back up.”
An FDA approved drug called riluzole can gradually slow the progression of the disease in some people. Scientists have made tremendous progress in learning about ALS, but there is not a cure at this time to reverse or stop the disease.
ALS, which usually affects people between the ages of 40 and 70, is progressing quickly with Rice, forcing him to stop working a few months back. The Rice family needs to make its home handicap accessible to allow Jay to be able to care for his daily needs and be comfortable in his home with his family.
“We want to do everything we can to help Jay be ready for the next hurdle,” McMahon said. “Dan Montesi has done just an incredible job leading the way with this.”
The family, which has seen Rice’s monthly pills cost over $2,100, also has the added costs of co-pays and deductibles for Jay’s weekly doctor and physical therapy appointments, and has also been told a stair lift in the house will cost approximately $15,000.
A Go Fund Me page has been set up for donations at www.gofundme.com/HelptheRiceFam.
Boshea to be named Head Coach
Long-time assistant ready to take helm
By MIKE MADERA
(June 8, 2015) - Rich Boshea, West Haven’s assistant coach under legendary head coach Ed McCarthy for the past three decades, was notified Tuesday afternoon he is being recommended for the football program’s varsity head coaching job at West Haven High. McCarthy, who officially retired last month, is the state’s all-time winningest coach with 332 victories.
Following McCarthy’s retirement, a selection committee was put in place and following the search process, Superintendent of Schools Neil C. Cavallaro has recommended the long-time assistant.
According to the West Haven Public Schools press release, with the high school football season just three months away, spring practices set to begin, and looking for a smooth transition, Cavallaro has requested the appointment be made by a Board of Education vote at the board’s next scheduled meeting, which is reported to be Monday evening.
Long-time assistant coach Rich Boshea is being recommended for the head coaching position. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Rich emerged head and shoulders above the rest throughout the process, and I’m confident we will have the Board of Education’s support in appointing him as the next head coach,” Cavallaro said in the release. “A big advantage is that he’s already working in the high school right now.”
Boshea, a security guard at the high school, emerged at the top of the list after interviews were held with the four candidates last week.
“West Haven was always the only place I ever wanted to coach,” Boshea said in a statement.
Boshea has been a mainstay in the program since 1985, where he was the team’s freshman coach. In 1991, Boshea became the offensive line coach and he has remained in that capacity along with holding other responsibilities under McCarthy.
“He’s worked hard behind the scenes as an assistant, and it’s important to remember this is a year-round job because of practices and conditioning sessions,” West Haven athletic director Jon Capone said in the release. “His dedication to the program speaks for itself. He’s ready to lead this program and maintain the excellence that has been established over the years.”
Boshea was named the Connecticut High School Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year in 2002, the same year the Westies won their last state championship.
Boshea, who was inducted into the New Haven Gridiron Club’s Hall of Fame in 2007, is a 1979 graduate of West Haven High who went on to play collegiately at Widener University, where he was a member of its 1981 Division III national championship team.
Boshea has put his time as a security guard at West Haven to good use, mentoring student-athletes, learning the class schedules and keeping track of the student-athletes performance in the classroom.
“I place an emphasis on school work as much as football,” Boshea said in the statement. “I want the kids to know I care about them as more than just a football player. There’s no better day than going to watch a former Blue Devil play college football. This year, I saw one playing at WestConn, another at Central, and two going head to head at a game at Merrimack. We have 17 kids playing in college right now.”
Boshea, who has built a solid relationship with West Haven alumni, also plans to get former players involved.
“These are guys the current players looked up to when they were in eighth-grade,” Boshea said in the statement. “They come back and give the kids feedback and tell them they’re doing a good job, and it means a lot to them and shows how successful you can be if you work hard.”
Could be the End of an Era
Reflections aplenty for Ed McCarthy
By MIKE MADERA
(November 27, 2014) - With a 21-14 victory over Fairfield Prep Thursday morning, the storied career of head coach Ed McCarthy may have come to an end after 44 years and 332 victories. The state's all-time winningest coach has not decided whether he will retire or come back for another season.
If Thursday's game against the Jesuits was indeed his final time coaching, McCarthy leaves with plenty of memories. Those around him also have their thoughts on the legendary coach.
“I played against him and I have played for him,” Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea said of McCarthy. “In my 41 years knowing him, he has been very good to me.
Connecticut is really going to be losing someone special. He gave 44 years of his life helping kids and he made contributions that go beyond all his victories. He has impacted so many kids and will leave a huge void in Connecticut football if this is it.”
West Haven's Ed McCarthy (l.) and Fairfield Prep's Tom Shea (r.) prior to the game, November 27, 2014.
"I have worked with him for four years and I have been able to pick up many of the lessons he has taught the kids," West Haven assistant hockey coach and physical education instructor Jim Lafo said. "Those lessons are not only in school and sports, but mainly life lessons."
"I know Coach Mac as two people," West Haven assistant hockey coach John Ascenzia said. "To me, he is known as Coach Mac or the Doctor. I know him as the Doctor."
"I wish him all the luck in the future," Herb Johnson, Jr. said before he did the chains on Thanksgiving Day. "I have known coach Mac a long time and I have learned a lot from him."
Another member of the chains also bid a fond farewell to McCarthy.
"I just want to wish him good luck," Alan Ginsberg said. "He did a great job."
Former players also weighed in on McCarthy.
"My dad's senior year was coach Mac's first year," Tom Lawrence, Jr. said. "Obviously, he has built a great tradition here. He is one of my favorite coaches ever. He has such a passion for the game. If this is his last game, all the best to him. If it is not, I am sure he will do some damage next year and get into the playoffs."
McCarthy's assistant coaches are amazed at some crucial intangibles McCarthy has mastered.
"He knows how to motivate on game day like no one I have ever seen," assistant coach Ron Luneau said.
"I have never seen anybody with the ability to get a team ready to play at game time like him," West Haven assistant coach Rusty Dunne said. "I have never seen anything like it. He is tremendous at making certain the right people have the football at crucial times in the game. That is not an easy thing to do."
Ron Luneau (l.) and Rusty Dunne (r.) prior to the game against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014.
Ed McCarthy Jr. (l.) hugs his father Ed McCarthy (c.) with Rich Boshea (r.) looking on after West Haven's win against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014.
"His sincerity and love about West Haven football is endless," former assistant coach and long-time friend Bert Siclari said. "That will last forever."
Bert Siclari (c.), Rich Boshea (second from right) and Tim Nixon with Ed McCarthy (l.) on sidelines of 2002 state championship game against Greenwich. Photo courtesy of Marilyn McCarthy.
Ed McCarthy (l.) after winning the 2002 state championship over Greenwich with sons Tim McCarthy (c.), Ed McCarthy Jr. (r.) and James McCarthy in stroller. Photo courtesy of Marilyn McCarthy.
1982 state champions at St. Joseph-Trumbull. Photo courtesy of Marilyn McCarthy.
McCarthy has seven state titles under his belt as he won three in a row at St. Joseph from 1980-1982 and four at West Haven in 1986, 1987, 1989 and 2002.
Westies dash Prep's playoff hopes
By MIKE MADERA
(November 27, 2014) - Could the Jesuits get in the postseason with a win and would West Haven coach Ed McCarthy, the state’s winningest coach, get one last win in what may possibly be his last game of his storied coaching career?
Brandon Sebastian’s 17-yard touchdown run with 36 seconds gone by in the fourth quarter answered those questions as the score gave West Haven the lead for good in a 21-14 West Haven victory at Ken Strong Stadium.
The West Haven victory in the Southern Connecticut Conference Division I contest ended any hopes of a Prep return to the postseason and avenged two West Haven losses to the Jesuits last season, including the last in the Class LL semifinals.
“We talked during the week about all the big wins we have had and this one is right up there,” McCarthy said after his team finished the season 6-5. “The kids came out and played a great game. It is a great way to end the season. All the other stuff will take care of itself.”
The “other stuff” McCarthy was talking about was whether he had coached the last game of his 44-year career. McCarthy, who now has 332 career victories, has yet to decide if he will be back for another season.
Ed McCarthy Jr. (l.), Tim Nixon (second from left), Ed McCarthy (second from right) and Rich Boshea (r.) look on as the Westies defeat Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I played against him and I have played for him,” Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea said of McCarthy. “In my 41 years knowing him, he has been very good to me.
Connecticut is really going to be losing someone special. He gave 44 years of his life helping kids and he made contributions that go beyond all his victories. He has impacted so many kids and will leave a huge void in Connecticut football if this is it.”
Brandon Sebastian celebrates one of his two touchdowns against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven trailed by seven points at halftime, but played well on defense, holding the Jesuits scoreless in the final 24 minutes. Fairfield Prep twice got inside West Haven territory in the second half, including the Westies' 10-yard line in the fourth quarter, but West Haven turned the Jesuits and quarterback Colton Smith aside.
“We came up with some big plays today,” McCarthy said.
Trailing 14-13, the Westies turned to a trio of sophomores to come away with the victory. With quarterback Tim McCarthy and running back Anthony Godfrey picking up valuable yards, it was Sebastian who came up with the biggest play of the game.
Sebastian broke through the line, then raced untouched 17 yards into the endzone just 36 seconds into the fourth quarter. Godfrey then ran in the two-point conversion for a 21-14 lead.
"With those three, it is a good place to start,” Ed McCarthy said of the team’s future.“They came up big. Brandon Sebastian is a real talent. He is very versatile. Godfrey likes to get hit, then he runs harder.”
The run for Sebastian, who finished with 126 yards rushing, was his second touchdown of the game. The sophomore’s first score came just 1 minute, 53 seconds into the third quarter when he broke through the left side of the line and raced 80 yards for the score. The extra point was blocked and Prep held on to a 14-13 lead.
"They are a very dangerous team,” Shea said after his team fell to 7-4. “We just did not tackle them. It is disappointing. We had high expectations (this year). We just did not get it done.”
The game started in fine fashion for the Westies as they drove 76 yards in four plays, capped with a 57-yard touchdown run by Marshont Little for a 7-0 lead just 1:36 into the contest.
Marshont Little races 57 yards for a touchdown against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
That would be all the offense for the Westies in the opening half as the Jesuits’ defense stiffened and West Haven gained only 67 yards the remainder of the half.
It was the Fairfield Prep defense which turned the game around in the opening half as an interception by Connor Bercik was returned to the West Haven 5-yard line. The Jesuits needed just one play to even the contest as Allen Gibson plowed in from 5 yards out with 3:57 remaining in the opening quarter.
After West Haven was stopped inside Prep’s territory the Jesuits took the lead for good on their ensuing drive. An 11-play drive, which saw three completions by Smith, ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Bobby Haskins 3:22 into the second quarter for a 14-7 lead.
Tim McCarthy gets ready for action against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Godfrey finished with 88 yards on the ground and Little ran for 87 yards in the win for West Haven.
Smith was 15 of 28 for 127 yards and Joe Ganim ran for 79 yards in the loss for the Jesuits
Westies fall to Gaels
Shootout ends in 38-28 loss
By MATT CILBRITH
(November 14, 2014) - The West Haven Blue Devils were unable to knock off the undefeated Shelton Gaels Friday night at Finn Stadium. After only being down by three points at the half, West Haven’s defense was unable to stop Mark Piccirillo and the Gaels offense, as the Gaels would roll on to win 38-28, remain undefeated, and clinch a spot in the Class LL playoffs.
The first half was nothing but offense as the game had seven consecutive scoring drives between the two teams. The first defensive stop came with under one minute left in the first half when West Haven quarterback Tim McCarthy was picked off by Kevin Robinson. The first half ended with the Gaels leading the game 24-20 after a Joseph Zoppi 26-yard field goal.
Zatrell Lyons (14) scores on a two-point conversion against Shelton, November 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Brandon Sebastian had two of West Haven’s three rushing touchdowns in the first half, and Mark Piccirillo threw for one touchdown and ran for another for the Gaels.
“We played hard,” said West Haven head coach Ed McCarthy. “They are a great team. Piccirillo is a great player obviously. He is the show. He does so many great things. They are hard to prepare for.”
Coach Ed McCarthy (l.) and his son Tim McCarthy (2) go over a play against Shelton, November 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven was stopped on its opening drive of the second half after McCarthy was picked off again, this time by Samuel Kirk.
Five plays later, Piccirillo threw his second touchdown pass of the game. This one was a 30-yard pass to Peter Hoff, who stormed down the left sideline, breaking tackles and beating the West Haven defenders, putting Shelton up 31-20.
The Blue Devils answered back just two minutes later on a three-yard run by Marshont Little, who ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Godfrey ran in the two point conversion to get the Blue Devils back within a field goal.
Then, the Blue Devils defense did what they were unable to do in the first half, stop the Gael’s offense.
West Haven's Marshont Little runs for a big gain against Shelton, November 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the ball back, the Blue Devils drove down field getting to Shelton’s 33-yard line before they were stopped.“We were a play away,” said Ed McCarthy. “We had the ball on a fourth and four and didn’t convert it, and that was the game.”
Following the turnover on downs, Piccirillo drove his team down the field again and capped it off himself with a one yard run that put the Gaels up 38-28 with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.
The real dagger for the Blue Devils came on the ensuing kickoff as Little fumbled the ball for West Haven and Shelton recovered.
McCarthy said his team turned the ball over too much and the amount of penalties the Westies took slowed them down. West Haven had five total penalties in the game for a total of 45 yards against.
“Mark is just an awesome high school football player,” Shelton head coach Jeff Roy said of Piccirillo. “Running, throwing, calling audibles, making plays. He does it all as a high school kid. He’s a tremendous football player and a tremendous kid.”
McCarthy said it was hard to question the team’s game plan considering it had plenty of yards and never punted the ball. West Haven just did not have enough touchdowns.
The teams were close in total offensive yards as Shelton had 443 to West Haven’s 380. The Blue Devils were led by their three-headed rushing attack of Little, Sebastian, and Godfrey who totaled 300 of the team’s yards.
Brandon Sebastian (10) runs against Shelton, November 14, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven will face Fairfield Prep in its final game of the season on Thanksgiving Day at 10:30 a.m. at Ken Strong Stadium.
Westies ride arm of McCarthy to win
By MATT CILBRITH
(November 7, 2014) - The West Haven football team defeated the Daniel Hand Tigers 21-0 at the Surf Club in Madison Friday evening. Quarterback Tim McCarthy came out slinging in this game as he threw for 250 yards, completing 17-of-28 pass attempts, and two touchdowns.
"First pass I threw, I knew I felt good,” said McCarthy. “I knew I was going to have a good night, and I know Zatrell (Lyons) catches everything that I throw to him. We were able to adjust. We wanted to run the ball, but they (Hand) were doing really good. But, we adjusted and we did what we had to do.”
Tim McCarthy led the Westies to a 21-0 win over Hand, November 7, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Tim McCarthy led the Westies to a 21-0 win over Hand, November 7, 2014. File photo courtresy of Todd Dandelske.
It was a turnaround effort for the Blue Devils’ defense as well. After allowing 38 points to Wilbur Cross in a loss last week, the defense came up with a shutout and three interceptions against the Tigers.
“We just came out with a lot more hunger for defense,” said Zatrell Lyons who reeled in two interceptions in the game. “We knew last week the big problem why we lost was we couldn’t stop them from scoring on defense. So, we put a big emphasis on that all week in practice, making big stops when needed.”
The Blue Devils’ defense was giving Tigers’ quarterback Nicolas Van Dell a hard time all night, sending tons of blitzes at him and forcing him out of the pocket. West Haven also did a good job stopping the run, limiting the Tigers to just 71 yards on the ground the entire game, which put the Tigers in a situation to throw the ball more.
“He’s such a great passer and a great runner,” said West Haven coach Ed McCarthy about Van Dell. “We just wanted to contain him. We didn’t want him to beat us on 60-yard runs. But, we are really proud of the way the kids played.”
The Blue Devils struck first in the second quarter when Brandon Sebastian took the ball on the first play of the drive and went 67 yards down the field into the end zone. Sebastian would finish with 83 yards on 9 carries.
Brandon Sebastian led the Westies to a 21-0 win over Hand, November 7, 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Following the Blue Devils’ first interception by Elijah Todd, who caught the ball after it was batted in the air by the defensive line, Tayvon Gibbs missed a 30-yard field goal that clanged off of the upright with just under two minutes remaining in the half.
On the Westies’ first drive of the second half, they drove 67 yards down field on just four plays to score. McCarthy threw the ball down the right sideline to Anthony Godfrey for a 50 yard touchdown pass to put the Blue Devils up 14- 0.
West Haven's Anthony Godfrey (28) scores and flips the ball to the official, in a November, 2014 contest. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven's 29 total pass attempts in the game were much higher than they have averaged all season. That being said, Tim McCarthy still finished with a completion percentage of 61% even after throwing the ball 28 times.
“A lot of them were ‘safe passes’, but the wind was a factor,” said Ed McCarthy. “But, he has gotten better every game. We are really proud of him.”
After stopping Hand on two drives, West Haven scored again for a 21-0 advantage.
The McCarthy-Lyons connection would finally score on a 9-yard fade pass in the back left corner of the end zone to put the Westies up three touchdowns just over a minute into the final quarter. Lyons caught seven passes for 122 yards in the game.
“We really wanted a big win against one of the top teams in our conference, and they don’t get better than Hand,” said Tim McCarthy. “We wanted to finish out a game as we hadn’t in previous games, and we did this time.”
West Haven had over 400 yards of total offense, while holding Hand to just 174 yards. The Blue Devils (5-4) will look to build on this win as they go on the road again next week to face the undefeated Gaels (9-0) of Shelton at 7 p.m. next Friday night.
Westies fall on Senior Night
Cross owns 4th quarter in 38-36 win over WH
By MATT CILBRITH
WEST HAVEN (October 31, 2014) - West Haven’s senior night was spoiled by Wilbur Cross, as the Governors handed the Westies a 38-36 loss in a game that came down to the last play. West Haven had the ball on its 37-yard line with only nine seconds remaining in need of a score.
Tim McCarthy threw the ball to senior Zatrell Lyons on a curl. Lyons caught the ball, then pitched the ball to Brandon Sebastian swinging around Lyon’s left side, but Sebastian could not handle the pitch, the ball hit the turf, and Cross recovered the ball with only three seconds remaining in the game to seal the Governors’ victory.
“We fought hard, but we played dumb and had a lot of penalties,” said West Haven coach Ed McCarthy after his team fell to 4-4. “We always play hard, but we don’t always play smart, and tonight, we definitely didn’t play smart.”
The game started as a defensive battle, only about 100 total yards of offense combined for by both teams. The only score of the first quarter was a safety against the Governors.
Tom Wilkerson (81) puts the pressure on Cross quarterback A.J. Consiglio, October 31, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With Charles Comstock back to punt deep in his own end, the snap sailed over his head and out of the back of the end zone to give West Haven a 2-0 lead less than a minute into the game.
The second quarter was a different story as four consecutive touchdowns were scored in just four possessions, two for each team.
The Governors got into the end zone first. After Cross forced a three and out, quarterback A.J. Consiglio took over the ball with his offense at his own 44-yard line.
Consiglio’s first play of the drive was a 44-yard pass to his tight end Kolbe Hartman. A couple of plays later, Consiglio ran a quarterback keep and punched the ball in from the 1-yard line for an 8-2 Cross lead after the 2-point conversion.
“The offense was awesome tonight,” said Consiglio after the Governors improved to 6-2. “Stevie Swinson really stepped up for us, running the ball. The offensive line blocked really well. Recivers catching the ball, making the big plays, coaches making the right call. All around, the offense did good.”
The Blue Devils answered back with a three-play drive which was capped off by a 35-yard run by Sebastian.
Brandon Sebastian scores on a 35-yard run against Wilbur Cross, October 31, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Consiglio marched back onto the field and got the Governors on top again with a 50-yard bomb down the right sideline to Jason Atteberry.
The scoring trend continued on the very next drive for the Blue Devils as they used four minutes on the ground. Nine rushing plays on the drive, five coming from Anthony Godfrey, included the touchdown 2-yard run to tie the game up at 16-16 with 3:30 remaining in the first half.
Anthony Godfrey scores on a 2-yard run against Wilbur Cross, October 31, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Godfrey was the Blue Devils’ best rusher, and arguably their best player all night. He ran the ball 20 times and racked up 140 yards on the ground.
“He played great,” said McCarthy of Godfrey. “He’s a great player and he is just going to get better.”
On the Blue Devils’ first play after halftime, they drove down field and scored on a 3-yard touchdown run from senior Marshont Little. West Haven led 22-16 after Cross blocked the extra point.
Cross answered West Haven’s score with a long, grueling six minute drive which ended on a 3-yard touchdown run by Swinson to regain the lead for the Governors at 23-22.
The lead switched hands again as Godfrey ran the ball hard on the next West Haven drive. The offense continued to feed him the ball and Godfrey got in the end zone to give the Blue Devils a 28-23 lead with 30 second remaining in the third quarter.
The game came down to the fourth quarter, where Consiglio and the Wilbur Cross offense was able to score two consecutive touchdowns and ultimately beat the Blue Devils.
West Haven also had a fumble and a turnover on downs in the fourth which allowed the Governors’ offense to capitalize.
The schedule the rest of the season does not get any easier for the Blue Devils. West Haven will play its next two games on the road against Daniel Hand and Shelton, before returning to Ken Strong Stadium on Thanksgiving Day to play Fairfield Prep.
Westies blank Hamden, 34-0
By MATT CILBRITH
WEST HAVEN (October 24, 2014) - The West Haven defense kept the Hamden Green Dragons completely off the scoreboard Friday night in a 34-0 win at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven. The shutout was the team's first since 2010, where the Westies did so twice, including once against Hamden.
"The defense was great," West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team improved to 4-3. "Our defense actually really played well the past two weeks, even though we lost. We shut out Xavier in the first half of our last game. Unfortunately, we couldn't pull out the win in that one too."
The West Haven defense refused to let the Green Dragons get going on offense early. On Hamden's first five possessions, the Green Dragons had three 3-and-outs, an interception by Adrian Jaynes and a fumbled snap recovered by West Haven.
"It was really important to get those turnovers," said senior linebacker Chris Franco. "Usually, when you win the turnover battle, you win the game, and it worked that way tonight."
Adrian Jaynes (5) makes a tackle against Hamden, October 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Blue Devils' rushing attack could not be stopped by the Green Dragons. The Westies' first drive only took two runs to score, a 46-yard run by Anthony Godfrey, and a 14-yard touchdown run by Marshont Little. A successful two-point conversion run by Brandon Sebastian put the Westies up 8-0.
Brandon Sebastian runs in the conversion against Hamden, October 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After the interception by Jaynes, the Blue Devils took advantage of the short field position and drove 20 yards, capped off by a two-yard run by Little to put the Westies up 14-0 after a missed extra point with 4:15 remaining in the first quarter.
"It was really good," said Little about the team getting the run game established early. "I thought my team needed me out on the field to keep the flow of the game going. We kept our defense on the sideline to stay rested so we could keep them (Hamden) to a doughnut (zero points).
The Blue Devils finished with over 200 yards on the ground, 108 yards from Godfrey and 84 yards from Little.
Godfrey got his first touchdown of the game just under one minute into the second quarter, punching the ball in from one yard out to give West Haven a 21-0 lead.
Green Dragons' quarterback Fran Bonadies struggled to drive the team down the field against the West Haven defense. Bonadies finished the first half with nine completions, but only moved the ball 47 yards on those completions.
Bonadies would end up finishing the game 15-for-27, throwing for 145 yards, but he also threw four interceptions in the game.
Coach McCarthy said last week was the first week the team adopted its new defensive scheme, and even though it isn't mastered yet, it worked for West Haven against Hamden.
"Coming off a couple of losses, we wanted to be really physical," said Franco. "Defense wins championships. Defense wins games. You hear that all the time, so we came out ready to play tonight."
On West Haven's first drive after halftime, the team took the ball 71 yards on seven plays for a touchdown. Godfrey had a touchdown run called back by a holding call, but on the next play, he took the ball 20 yards into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game, giving West Haven a 27-0 lead two minutes into the third quarter.
West Haven's special teams made an impact in the game as well. After stopping Hamden on the possession following Godfrey's touchdown , West Haven's Marquis Lockhart blocked the punt and fell on the ball to recover for the Blue Devils.
West Haven took advantage of the good starting field position yet again and scored with a four-yard run from Little, getting his third touchdown of the game to put the Blue Devils up 34-0.
Marshont Little scores one of his three touchdowns against Hamden, October 24, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The West Haven defense took care of the game from here. On Hamden's final three possessions, the Blue Devils intercepted the ball every drive,one by Zatrell Lyons, one from Sheilan Velazquez and the last one from Jaynes, his second interception of the game coming with the last few seconds of the game ticking off off the clock to end the game.
"Turnovers are a huge part of the game and we had a lot of them which was great," said McCarthy. "We really needed a win. We have four really good teams to end the season against. With that being said, we are getting better every week."
West Haven looks to improve on its 4-3 record next Friday night against Wilbur Cross in West Haven at 7 p.m.
Westies fall to Xavier
Falcons too much in 27-7 win over WH
By MIKE MADERA
(October 18, 2014) - The Xavier football team has a good memory. One year after West Haven made a goal line stand to preserve a victory over the Falcons, Xavier got its revenge.
Paced by a second half in which the Falcons scored 25 unanswered points, Xavier remained undefeated with a 27-7 win over the Westies in the first game ever at Larry McHugh Field at Xavier High School.
In front of a large crowd, the Falcons overcame a start filled with missed opportunities and sent West Haven to its second straight loss, dropping the Westies to 3-3 on the year.
Zatrell Lyons and the West Haven offense could not get going in a 27-7 loss to Xavier, October 18, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After West Haven held the Falcons on fourth down inside the five, Xavier responded with a tackle of Brandon Sebastian by Edwin Luster in the end zone for a 2-0 first quarter lead.
The Falcons missed a chance to extend the lead when Andrew Verre missed a 41-yard field goal wide and West Haven capitalized when Anthony Godfrey raced in from four yards out with 56 seconds left in the first half for a 7-2 West Haven lead.
While the Westies took that score to the half, the Falcons did not wait long to take over the final 24 minutes.
Anthony Godfrey scored West Haven's lone touchdown in a loss to Xavier, October 18, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Ted Duarte's 3-yard run followed by John Sullivan on the two-point conversion gave the Falcons a 10-7 lead.
West Haven could not capitalize after converting a fake punt on fourth down and Xavier responded with a 62-yard touchdown reception by Sullivan, which was called back by a holding penalty.
The Westies had trouble with the Xavier defense all afternoon and never got going in the second half.
Following a West Haven punt, Verre atoned for his earlier miss with a 47-yard field goal and a 13-7 Xavier lead late in the third quarter.
The Falcons extended the lead in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard touchdown reception by Robert Baldo and wrapped up the scoring when Collin McCarthy hit Mike Scherer for a 27-7 lead late in the fourth quarter.
West Haven head coach Ed McCarthy (l.), Larry McHugh (c.), and West Haven athletic director Jon Capone (r.) at the field dedication of McHugh at Xavier High School, October 25, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read article from GameTimeCt here.
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Tim McCarthy hits Jason Wilkerson with a 7-yard touchdown pass against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Double click to see full screen.
Tim McCarthy (Class of 2017) with a message for coach Ed McCarthy. Double click to view full screen.
State Champions - 1968 (Ranked No. 1 in Ct, No. 4 in the country, 9-0), 1972 (No. 1 in Ct., 10-0), 1986, 1987, 1989, 2002 (No. 1 in Ct., 12-0)
Retired numbers - Bert Siclari (Class of 1969) #71; Jerry Gambardella (Class of 2000) #21
All-State Players - Joe Gianotti '32; Bill Irons '39; Harry “Red” Bailey '39; Frank Cole '40; Jack McWeeney '42; Ken Provost '44; Gerry Apuzzo '46, '47; Jim McNulty '47; Fred Robinson '48; John Anquillare '59; John Poe '61, '62; Vin Sgro '67; Ted Williams '68; Mel Labelle '71; Don Herzog '72; Gene Staehly '72; Dave Rettig '73; Brian Nugent '74; John Verderame '75, '76; Mike Keyes '77; Bob McMillan '79; Ron Conyers '83; Rob Thompson '84; Dan Montesi '86; Chuck Bradley '87; Eric Thimas '89; Darian Colman '90; Rob Farnen '93; Craig Dicks '96; Gene Segaline '97; Ulish Booker '97; Jashawn Brown Robinson '01; Rob Jackson '02; Tommy DeMorro '02; Desmond Lymon '03; Jim Fitzpatrick '05; James Alford '06; Erik Matos '06; Dave Cinti '13; Ervin Philips '13; Zatrell Lyons '14
Ed McCarthy Jr. (Class of 1995). Double click to view full screen.
Anthony Godfrey gives West Haven a 21-0 lead against Hamden, October 24, 2014. Video courtesy of Matt Cilbrith. Double click for full screen.
Marshont Little 1-yard touchdown run against Hamden, October 24, 2014. Video courtesy of Matt Cilbrith. Double click for full screen.
Brandon Sebastian 61-yard touchdown run against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Double click to see full screen.
Brandon Sebastian with an 80-yard touchdown run against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014.
James McCarthy (Class of 2018) with a message for coach Ed McCarthy. Double click to view full screen.
Green with Envy
Westies fall in classic to Notre Dame
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 10, 2014) - Needing one more play to clinch a victory over cross-town rival West Haven, Notre Dame coach Tom Marcucci knew exactly who to call on.
Junior quarterback Christian Lupoli’s 26-yard run on third-and-long with just over one minute remaining in the game sealed a 40-33 Notre Dame victory in the Second Annual Soderman Bowl at Veteran’s Stadium in West Haven.
“I thought he played a great game,” Marcucci said of Lupoli. “All of our guys responded well. It was an unbelievable first half and my guys came of age against a really good football team. I am proud of my guys.”
In a SCC Division I East game which saw 711 total yards of offense, including 438 in a wild first half, the Green Knights needed every one of those yards to come back from an early 12-point deficit. Notre Dame then turned to its defense in the second half to preserve its first win over West Haven in three years.
Presentation of a check to the Wounded Warrior Project. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The biggest play came from Zach Cofrancesco with 3:05 remaining in the game. After Zatrell Lyons’ punt return gave West Haven possession at the Notre Dame 40, West Haven quarterback Tim McCarthy looked for the tie, but Cofrancesco stepped in front of the pass and pulled down the interception at the Notre Dame 14, sealing West Haven’s fate.
“We played much better in the second half”, Marcucci said after his team evened the Soderman Bowl series and improved to 3-2. “We did not give up the big plays, except for the tipped ball for the touchdown. They have good athletes everywhere. We were able to make some plays.”
Cofrancesco’s interception sealed a comeback which saw the Green Knights take a 33-26 lead in the third quarter on a Josh Witkowsky 1-yard run with 3:38 remaining.
The Westies answered 41 seconds into the fourth quarter, going 67 yards in five plays, capped by a fantastic catch by Lyons off a tipped ball through two defenders for a 56-yard score.
West Haven's Zatrell Lyons makes a great grab through two defenders on his way to a 56-yard touchdown against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven never had time to celebrate. Just three plays later, Tajon Toms raced in from 59 yards out to provide the final margin of victory.
“They made more big plays than we did,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team fell to 3-2. “Our defense gave up a lot of yards. It seemed like they were in second and three or four all game. It was a heck of a game with a lot of big plays. They made more.”
After West Haven scored on its first two possessions on touchdown runs of 2 and 61 yards by Brandon Sebastian for a 12-0 lead, the Green Knights scored the next 19 points.
Brandon Sebastian (10) scores on a 61-yard touchdown run against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lupoli showed he would be a handful for the West Haven defense as he connected with Nico Ragaini for a 12-yard score, then watched as Toms recovered a Notre Dame fumble in the endzone on the next drive for a 13-12 Notre Dame lead.
Ragaini, only a sophomore, came up big as well. With West Haven driving on its next possession, Ragaini stepped in front of a McCarthy pass and raced 67 yards for the score and a19-12 lead after one quarter of play.
“We are a resilient team,” Lupoli said. “We worked hard in practice all week. We know how important this game is. They are our cross-town rivals.”
West Haven evened the game 2:46 into the second quarter when McCarthy hit Lyons for a 9-yard score, but Prince Brooks answered with a 1-yard touchdown to put the Green Knights on top 26-19 with 4:41 remaining in the first half.
Zatrell Lyons scores on a 9-yard pass against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
McCarthy again gave West Haven life, connecting with Jason Wilkerson on a 7-yard scoring strike with 1:14 left in the half to tie the game at 26.
Jason Wilkerson scores on a 7-yard pass play against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Lupoli led the Green Knights with 135 yards rushing on 19 carries and 110 yards passing. Sebastian led West Haven with 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
On the Move
Sophomores sparking Westies
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 7, 2014) - With the graduation of Ervin Philips, Duane Gary, Jesse Ridgway and company, the 2014 season was supposed to be one of rebuilding for the West Haven football team. Problem is, someone forgot to deliver the Westies the message.
Led by a terrific group of sophomores, including quarterback Tim McCarthy and running backs Brandon Sebastian and Anthony Godfrey, the Westies have inserted some youth to help veterans such as senior running back Marshont Little and wide receiver Zatrell Lyons.
Zatrell Lyons has had a big season thus far for the Westies. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"Obviously, they have a chance to be really good,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said of the sophomores. “I told a couple of them that in a perfect world they would be playing J.V. chomping at the bit for next year. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I think in the long run, they will be better off for it.”
Entering Friday evening’s contest against cross-town rival Notre Dame at Veteran’s Stadium in the Soderman Bowl, many did not think the game would have any meaning other than city bragging rights.
With the Green Knights 2-2 and looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Westies have managed to make all the right moves to start the season at 3-1.
“We knew Greenwich was going to be a tough game to open up with,” Ed McCarthy said. “We knew Cheshire had a very senior-oriented team. They have been building that team for three years. They were really good as sophomores two years ago and they have become a very good senior class. We expected the Greenwich and Cheshire games to be very difficult and they certainly were.”
In the three victories, the Westies have shown no sign of inexperience, defeating Greenwich to avenge a loss from one season ago, then defeating a high-powered offense in Foran and a diverse offense in Guilford.
With the graduation of several key players on offense, points on the scoreboard for the Westies were a concern entering the season. The play of McCarthy, Lyons, Sebastian, Godfrey and Little has made life miserable for opponents.
“We have seven crazy games ahead of us,” Ed McCarthy said. “Our offensive line is getting better. That was the real question going into the year. We think they are getting better every game. Our skill guys are very good. Hopefully, they can carry us a little bit.”
Tim McCarthy has shown no signs of playing the position behind center for the first year as he opened games against Greenwich and Foran with long touchdown passes to Lyons. McCarthy has thrown for 494 yards and six touchdowns, with four of those touchdown passes and 310 of those yards going to Lyons.
Tim and Ed McCarthy. Photo courtesty of Todd Dandelske.
Complimenting the passing game is a three-headed running attack which has shown no signs of slowing down. While Little may be the experienced runner, Sebastian and Godfrey have added plenty of highlights in the first four games.
Little has run for 408 yards and four touchdowns with his hard running, while Sebastain has added 374 yards and five touchdowns, and Godfrey has two touchdowns on the ground.
Brandon Sebastian (10) scores against Guilford with Tim McCarthy (2) looking on, October 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The offense has scored 142 points thus far entering Friday’s tilt with the Green Knights. All those points have been necessary as the defense works to get in synch.
Chris Franco has been a key player on the defense with 51 tackles. Franco’s best game may have come in week two when the senior linebacker was all over the place, finishing with 21 total tackles, 10 unassisted.
Junior Adrian Jaynes has 45 tackles, junior Marquis Lockhart has 44 tackles and Tayvon Gibbs has 23. Sebastian has also played well defensively for a team which has allowed 99 points.
Marshont Little against Guilford, October 3, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"The defense is really young,” Ed McCarthy said. “They are playing really hard. We think the defense is starting to get more confidence. The offense has carried us so far.
“Chris Franco is a first-year starter. He played J.V. last year. He was very good on special teams last year. Adrian Jaynes and Marquis Lockhart have played well. Our three linebackers have all played well. Lockhart played defensive end last year.”
Not to be lost in the mix has been the special teams play. Constantly searching for a reliable kicker over the last few years, the search has found Gibbs, who has been nothing short of phenomenal early in the year. Gibbs has 24 points thus far in the season.
Guilford no match for Westies
WH rebounds from first loss of year in thumping of Indians
By MATT CILBRITH
WEST HAVEN (October 2, 2014) - On a short week, coming off a tough loss against Cheshire, the West Haven Blue Devils dominated in their game against the Guilford Indians at Ken Strong Stadium Thursday night.
With over 400 total yards on offense, West Haven ran its way to a 41-7 victory, improving its record to 3-1.
Sophomore running back Brandon Sebastian led the team in rushing with 150 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Brandon Sebastian (10) follows the blocking of Zatrell Lyons against Guilford, October 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"The line executed their blocking really well,” said Sebastian. “Without them, I couldn’t have made the plays I made. Everyone executed their assignments.”
The Blue Devils’ defense was able to keep the Guilford offense off the field, mainly by stopping the Indians’ option run offense. West Haven captain and defensive lineman Tayvon Gibbs said the defense did what they had to do.
“We just want to maintain this going forward,” said Gibbs. “Everyone needs to play their game. We want to just keep it going and keep the momentum.”
The Blue Devils’ defense held Guilford to just 89 yards in the first half. Junior quarterback Jack Jankura ran the Indian’s option based offense, but only finished the night with 49 yards rushing.
Jankura didn’t play the second half after getting driven into the ground hard on a sack by West Haven defensive end Marquis Lockhart on the last play of the first half.
“We knew playing their option, that if we could stop the quarterback run option, we would be fine,” said Gibbs.
The Blue Devils got started early, scoring on their first possession of the game. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the offense took advantage of the good field position driving 38 yards in just five plays for a touchdown. Senior running back Marshont Little had two carries for 36 yards on the drive.
Marshont Little keeps his feet in bounds, on his way to a touchdown against Guilford, October 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
On West Haven’s next possession, Little had three more carries, gaining 18 yards and finishing off the drive with his second touchdown of the night, putting the Blue Devils up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. Little finished with 100 yards rushing and the two rushing touchdowns.
“They looked a lot better,” said West Haven coach Ed McCarthy talking about the team’s offensive line. “We think our backs are very special. We forget that (Brandon) Sebastian and (Anthony) Godfrey are sophomores sometimes because they are so talented.”
West Haven quarterback Tim McCarthy only had to the throw the ball twice the entire game, gaining 25 yards through the air. The ground attack took care of the rest, scoring all six West Haven touchdowns.
Anthony Godfrey had a 25-yard touchdown run in the second quarter which gave the Westies a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Anthony Godfrey scores on a 25-yard run against Guilford, October 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Four plays into the second half, Sebastian broke for his first big run of the night, a 47-yard touchdown run which he took right up the middle.
On West Haven’s first play of its next possession, Sebastian exploded up the middle again and ran 90 yards for the touchdown, barely being touched on his way into the endzone. The run gave West Haven a 35-0 lead after Sebastian also ran in the two pint conversion with only 2:42 remaining in the third quarter.
The Blue Devil defense made sure the Guilford offense remained on the sidelines. Coach McCarthy said the defense played “not bad” Thursday night as it only allowed 211 yards of total offense to the Indians.
“It’s very difficult on a short week to play an option offense against a good quarterback like they have,” said McCarthy. “We didn’t give up big chunks of yards, but they were able to drive down field on us pretty good.”
The Indians did lack the big play factor Thursday night. With West Haven’s varsity offense on the field, Guilford’s longest play from scrimmage was just 14 yards.
“Everyone worried about their assignments,” said Sebastian who also plays on defense for West Haven. “Playing the option, one man takes the quarterback, another takes the running back, and that’s what we did instead of having everyone try and do everything.”
Guilford quarterback Casey Huffman threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to running back Mike Filley in the fourth quarter. The Indians first and only touchdown of the game came with just over five minutes remaining in the contest, making the score 41-7 in favor of the Blue Devils.
West Haven looks to ride the momentum of this win as it goes to the other side of West Haven next Friday night to play cross-town rival Notre Dame of West Haven.
“It wasn’t a fun week around here after losing,” said coach McCarthy. “But, we can enjoy this win for a couple days, but Saturday we are going to start getting ready for ND."
The Blue Devils take on the Green Knights, Friday, October 10 at 7 p.m. at Veteran's Stadium in West Haven.
See highlights from WTNH SportzEdge here.
Westies suffer first loss of Year
Cheshire too much for WH
By MATT CILBRITH
WEST HAVEN (September 26, 2014) - In the high school football game of the week at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven, the eighth-ranked Blue Devils fell to a very physical Cheshire Rams team, 42-28.
Physicality was the story going into the game with both teams known for their strong rushing offenses. West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said the game was physical to say the least, and the team had a feeling their opponent was going to be this difficult.
“From the two teams they (Cheshire) played, it was hard to gauge how physical they were. But, we feared that they were that good,” said McCarthy.
Things did not go as planned for Tim McCarthy (2) and the Westies against Cheshire, September 26, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Blue Devils tried mounting a comeback but fell short. Down 42-20 with only 1 minute, 37 seconds remaining in the game, wide receiver Zatrell Lyons got the ball on an end-around and threw the ball to Brandon Sebastian for an 82-yard touchdown, his second of the game.
After a two-point conversion, West Haven failed to recover the ensuing on-side kick attempt and Cheshire ran out the clock, ending the game at 42-28.
Brandon Sebastian scores late in the game against Cheshire, September 26, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Rams did a good job in the trenches on both sides of the ball. On offense, they rushed for 400 yards as a team.
Quarterback Josh MacNiven only threw the ball five times all night for 29 yards. Senior running back Andrew Yamin led the Rams rushing attack, racking up 228 yards on the ground and four touchdowns. Seniors Jack Cunningham, 108 yards rushing, and Colin Thorne, 70 yards rushing and two touchdowns, were also big factors in the game.
The Cheshire defense stood tall as well Friday night, holding an explosive West Haven offense to just 116 yards in the first half, allowing the Rams to jump out to a 28-14 lead.
“The defense played well,” said Cheshire Coach Don Drust. “We wanted to play downhill because we knew with them (West Haven) that they have some athletes. We missed some tackles and some assignments, but we just kept playing hard and stayed physical.”
Yamin scored the first touchdown of the game as Cheshire drove down field 80 yards before Yamin plunged into the end zone on a nine-yard touchdown run.
“The line was awesome tonight,” said Yamin talking about his offensive line. “We ran hammer all night. They knew what was coming and the line still played like that.”
Yamin said it was crucial the Rams drove down field and scored on their first possession like that.
The Westies came back at the end of the first quarter with a touchdown of their own. After a 15-yard penalty called on Cheshire for a late hit on quarterback Tim McCarthy, Marshont
Little ran for a 53-yard touchdown, capping off a 71-yard drive.
Yamin was not done. On the second play of the ensuing drive, Yamin exploded for a 62- yard rushing touchdown, putting Cheshire back on top, 14-7.
Coach Drust said his team did what needed to be done in every football game, win the battle up front.
“In any football game, I don’t care who it’s against, it starts up front against every team,” said Drust. “Our team came in with the mentality that we were going to work our tails off.”
Zatrell Lyons scores for West Haven against Cheshire, September 26, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Cheshire held the lead for the rest of the game in the upset over the newly-ranked Blue Devils. Coach Drust said this was a big win, but it was just as important as every other win.
“Coming into West Haven and playing Coach McCarthy and this West Haven team was a big win,” said Drust. “I say every week I want to go 1-0. This week, I went 1-0. I can enjoy it for now, but then get ready for next week.
See highlights at WTNH SportzEdge here
Read Mike Pucci's article on GameTimeCT here
McCarthy leads Westies past Foran
4 touchdown passes key in 38-28 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(September 19, 2014) - West Haven quarterback Tim McCarthy is well versed in the team's offense. Needing one play to set the tempo of the game, McCarthy began a big night, throwing four touchdown passes as the Westies defeated Foran 38-28 at Vito DeVito Field Friday evening.
The win allowed West Haven to start the season 2-0, setting up an early showdown against undefeated Cheshire next Friday in West Haven.
Tim McCarthy (l.) and Zatrell Lyons (r.) celebrate Lyons' 70-yard touchdown reception on West Haven's first play from scrimmage against Foran, September 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"I love the way we have done that two games in a row," McCarthy said in regards to his second straight contest throwing a touchdown pass on the game's first play. "We want to get the ball in Zatrell's (Lyons) hands."
After West Haven's defense held Foran on three plays to start the game, McCarthy, only a sophomore, hit Lyons for a 12-yard pass on the first West Haven play from scrimmage. Lyons did the rest as he raced untouched the final 58 yards for a 70-yard touchdown and a 7-0 West Haven lead just 10 minutes, 33 seconds into the contest.
The Lions wasted no time tying the game as Jake Kasuba, Pat Fitzgerald and Stephen Longley combined to give West Haven fits early in the game.
Kasuba hit Fitzgerald for 17 and 22 yards on the drive, before Longley capped a 62-yard scoring drive with a 3-yard run with 6:16 left in the first quarter to even the game at seven.
"I am proud of the way the kids hung in there," Foran coach Jeff Bevino said of his team after the Lions opened the season 0-2. "We have a lot of young kids out there."
West Haven struggled on offense its next two possessions after McCarthy's touchdown pass, but McCarthy, who threw for 216 yards and four touchdowns, got the team rolling again in the final seconds of the opening quarter.
On a drive starting at the West Haven 45, McCarthy hit Marshont Little for 22 yards and capped the five-play drive with 5.7 seconds remaining in the quarter when he hit Tayvon Gibbs with a 21-yard scoring strike.
Tayvon Gibbs scores against Foran, September 19, 2014 with Anthony Godfrey (28) looking on. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"They have some athletes on that team," Bevino said of West Haven.
Foran looked as if it would even the game with two minutes remaining in the first half as Kasuba looked to have an open receiver in the endzone on fourth down. The play was thwarted when Gibbs knocked down the pass at the last second.
That defensive play swung the momentum in West Haven's favor the rest of the game as McCarthy needed just six plays to go 86 yards, capped with a 50-yard scoring strike to Lyons with 38.3 seconds remaining in the half.
Zatrell Lyons catches a 50-yard touchdown pass before the half against Foran, September 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We wanted to set the tone on defense," West Haven's Chris Franco said after making numerous tackles in the opening half. "We wanted to come out with some intensity to start the game. We know he (Kasuba) is a great quarterback. We wanted to make it harder for him."
Chris Franco (34) makes a tackle against Foran, September 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven pulled away on the opening possession of the second half, going 55 yards in 10 plays. McCarthy hit Gibbs for 23 yards on the drive and capped it with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Little with 7:51 left in the third quarter. The Westies failed on the two-point conversion, but led 27-7.
Foran finally edged closer with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter when Longley raced in from 13 yards out, but the Westies squashed any thoughts of a comeback when Little raced 54 yards for the score on the next play from scrimmage for a 35-14 West Haven lead after Gibbs caught the conversion attempt.
"Foran did a great job taking away our running game in the first half," West Haven acting coach Rich Boshea said after coaching in place of an under the weather Ed McCarthy. "Their defensive line stuffed our offensive line. We were able to get Tim some time and Zatrell is a big play maker for us.
"They took away the run early, but once we got going with the passing game, it was tough for them to stop both."
Rich Boshea coached the Westies against Foran as coach Ed McCarthy was under the weather, September 19, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Longley got Foran within 35-21 with 8:19 left in the game to cap a 70-yard drive, but Gibbs drilled a 30-yard field goal with 4:01 to go for a 38-21 West Haven lead.
Gibbs' field goal proved to be big as Kasuba hit Fitzgerald with a 6-yard scoring strike with 1:41 remaining, but Foran never got the ball back.
Kasuba finished 18-of-32 for 170 yards and two interceptions for the Lions and Longley had 105 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the loss.
Little rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown for West Haven, while Brandon Sebastian ran eight times for 62 yards.
Westies hold off Greenwich
Lyons, McCarthy, Sebastian lead opening day win
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 12, 2014) – Ed McCarthy and his West Haven football team did not need to be reminded of last season’s opening game against Greenwich in which the Westies saw the Cardinals rally late to pull out the victory.
With Greenwich having all the momentum and rallying in the third quarter Friday evening, seniors Zatrell Lyons and Chris Franco made sure there would be no bitter ending this season.
Lyons’ interception helped hold off a late Greenwich charge, Franco helped with a goal line stand two minutes later and sophomore Brandon Sebastian scored 3 minutes, 52 seconds into the fourth quarter to help the Westies defeat the Cardinals 35-22 in a SCC-FCIAC Challenge contest at Ken Strong Stadium.
“I just want to lead the team,” Lyons said after he finished with two interceptions on defense and 118 yards receiving on offense. “We have big plans. We have a lot of talent here. We are going to surprise some people.”
The Cardinals looked as if they would steal the contest for the second straight year as Ryan Pasquali scored from one yard out and Austin Longi ran in the conversion to cut the deficit to 28-20 just 2:37 into the second half.
Lyons stopped Greenwich with an interception on the next drive and Franco stopped a fourth down play inside the five on Greenwich’s next possession.
Two possessions later, Sebastian scored his second touchdown of the night on a 36-yard burst to give West Haven a 35-20 lead.
“They say there are no great wins in September, but I think this might be one,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after the first game of his final season. “We are a young team and we beat a very good veteran team.”
Coach McCarthy likes his sophomore class and that group was on display Friday evening. The group, including quarterback Tim McCarthy and running backs Sebastian and Anthony Godfrey, were involved in the first four touchdowns of the game.
“We talked before the game about having poise and keeping our heads up if a play did not go our way,” Tim McCarthy said. “Our defense made some big plays.
“It is an awesome feeling knowing sophomores were involved in our first four touchdowns. Brandon (Sebastian), and Anthony (Godfrey) are talented players. It is fun to play with them.”
While Lyons made the big play on defense, he was also part of the play which set the tone of the first half for the Westies as they took a 28-12 lead.
On the first play from scrimmage, McCarthy found Lyons, who outmuscled the Greenwich defense for the ball, then raced 61 yards for the score just 16 seconds into the game.
Zatrell Lyons scores on the first play from scrimmage against Greenwich, September 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"This is a tremendous feeling,” Tim McCarthy said after completing 8 of 18 passes for 142 yards. “We worked on that play. I know wherever I put the ball, Zatrell is going to catch it.”
The touchdown pass was the first of two McCarthy was part of in the opening quarter as he also capped a 65-yard drive with a 1-yard plunge with 4:10 left in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead.
Tim McCarthy (2) celebrates his rushing touchdown against Greenwich, September 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Longi, who proved to be West Haven’s nemesis in last season’s loss, set out to do the same again on Friday as he scored from nine yards out with 2 minutes left in the first quarter. Greenwich did not connect on the conversion, which would haunt the Cardinals all night.
“They did not do anything we did not expect,” Greenwich coach Rich Albonizio said after his team put up 434 yards of offense. “We did not play with a lot of emotion early on. They were a better coached team that we were.”
Sebastian, gave West Haven a 21-6 lead with a 3-yard score 2:46 into the second quarter, before Longi’s 6-yard run brought Greenwich within 21-12 as another conversion failed with just over five minutes remaining in the opening half.
The Westies continued their trend of sophomores scoring as Godfrey capped 75-yard drive with an 8-yard scoring run with 2:37 left in the half.
Anthony Godfrey scores against Greenwich, September 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
"We have a good, young group,” Ed McCarthy said.
The Westies had 240 yards of offense in the first half, but only 92 in the final 24 minutes, including just 9 yards in the third quarter.
“They really bottled us up in that third quarter,” Ed McCarthy said. “They picked up the intensity and the pressure. They were very successful.”
Marshont Little led West Haven with 108 yards on 19 carries, while Sebastian finished with 66 yards on the ground.
Greenwich quarterback Matthew Marzullu was 11-of-22 for 203 yards and Longi finished with 165 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
Read article from Connecticut Post here
Ready To Go
Westies upbeat for 2014 season
By MIKE MADERA
(September 11, 2014) - The West Haven football team is well aware of the whispers. With the graduation of star players Ervin Philips, Duane Gary, Jesse Ridgway and company, not many from the outside have the Westies playing in the postseason. They key word is outside.
Inside the locker room of this young team, the Westies believe they have plenty of talent. The question is can that talent bloom quick enough with West Haven's schedule.
If the Westies are going to play in the postseason once again this year, the key will be the offense. Graduating a majority of its offense in Gary and Philips (1,812 yards, 29 touchdowns), the Westies will now turn to a new tandem behind center.
Sophomore Tim McCarthy, son of West Haven's legendary coach Ed McCarthy, will take over the reigns at quarterback in 2014. The talented McCarthy will have to guide his team and keep the team on track.
Tim McCarthy will have plenty of options, including senior split end Zatrell Lyons, who enjoyed a breakout season last year with 545 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Lyons is a big target at 6 feet - 1 inch and McCarthy will be looking to him often.
Zatrell Lyons will play a key role for the 2014 Westies. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With Philips graduated and playing at Syracuse and Gary off to college as well, the rushing attack for the Westies turns to new faces. Leading the 2014 group is senior Marshont Little.
Little saw plenty of game action last year as he added to the running game with 824 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. Expected to carry the load this season, Little is another offensive threat for the Westies.
Marshont Little will be expected to carry the load in the running game for West Haven in 2014. File photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
While Little is known on the high school level, fresh faces will be looking to turn heads in 2014. Six-foot sophomore Brandon Sebastian is a solid player who McCarthy will rely on offensively as is fellow sophomore Anthony Godfrey, who should also make some noise at the running back position.
Six foot, 300-pound senior Juwan Rollins anchors the offensive line along with 6-1, 298-pound sophomore Byron Dickens.
Seniors Tayvon Gibbs, Frank Cushing and Elijah Todd anchor the defensive line with Little and Sebastian leading the secondary and junior Adrian Jaynes leading the linebackers.
West Haven opens the season September 12, 2014, hosting Greenwich at 7 p.m.
Also see preview at GameTimeCT
The West Haven Veterans Affairs Medical Center recently named the West Haven High School Football Alumni Association as its Community Organization of the Year for 2013.
The honor was given because of the continued efforts of the group toward patients and residents of the local medical center, including the tribute at the 2013 Notre Dame-West Haven football game, and invitations during the season to attend other Blue Devils' home games. The award was given at a reception at the Villa Capri in Wallingford.
Surrounding WHFAA representatives Bert Siclari (front left) and Dave Rettig (with plaque) are officials Al Montoya, Mark Frazee and an unidentified official.
Hail to a Legend
West Haven football coach Ed McCarthy to retire at season's end
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (August 27, 2014) – The time has finally come. Entering his 44thseason as a head football coach, 32 at West Haven after spending 12 at St. Joseph, Ed McCarthy has decided to call it a career.
After thinking about it for quite some time, the state’s all-time winningest coach, now 68, will coach his last games this season.
“It’s time,” McCarthy said. “Forty-four years as a head coach is a long time. I still love every aspect of it, but it’s time. I hope I have left the program in good hands.”
Ed McCarthy gets congratulated after record-tying win against Xavier by assistant coaches Ron Luneau (l.) and Mike DeVito (c.), with son James (r.) looking on. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
McCarthy, with 326 wins to enter the season, is also a physical education instructor at the high school. He will continue in that capacity through his retirement from the gridiron.
“I will keep going with that,” McCarthy said. “It is not time for that (retirement) yet.”
McCarthy surpassed former Ledyard coach Bill Mignault to set the state record with 322 wins in a victory over Hamden in West Haven’s seventh game of the 2013 season. His team added four more wins following the record-breaker, but fell short of a state title, losing to Fairfield Prep in the Class LL semifinals.
"I will reflect back when it is all over and really be proud of what was accomplished,” McCarthy said after picking up the record-breaking win October 25, 2013. “I look back to all the coaches that were before us and what they did. It is really something I will be proud of.
“I have had great players and tremendous assistant coaches. And I have been able to have good health. Some others were in the prime of coaching and had to give it up. I have been fortunate.”
Former West Haven star and current Syracuse University player Ervin Philips (l.) dumps ice on Ed McCarthy after McCarthy's record-setting win, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
That time of reflection is drawing closer now with the announcement this will be McCarthy’s final campaign. McCarthy is hoping to add a few more pieces of hardware to his already impressive collection as the legendary coach has won four state titles with West Haven (1986, 1987, 1989 and 2002) and three with St. Joseph (1980-1982).
“There have been a lot of great memories,” McCarthy said. “The championships here and certainly you go back to St. Joe’s. They all rank up there.
"I love the game of football and I love all football people.That includes coaches, officials and members of the press."
McCarthy, a 2002 West Haven High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, has had plenty of memories in his four decades on the sidelines, but this season may be his most fulfilling.
McCarthy will go out in style as his son Tim is a sophomore and is expected to be the team’s starting quarterback, while his youngest son, James, is a freshman and is in the program on the freshman team.
The legendary coach, who has four kids including a daughter, Kerry Olivieri, also coached his son Ed, Jr. in the 1990’s with his senior year coming in 1994.
“It’s been special,” McCarthy said in regards to coaching his three boys. “Looking back with Eddie (Jr.), I probably didn’t realize it at the time. He played three years as a kicker, then played his senior year at quarterback. He had a really good year. After 20 years, I think it is more special to me now.
“With Timmy, I think it might be tougher on him than me. As we speak right now, he is doing very well. I think he is going to be a really good player. James is just coming through the system and that’s special as well.”
Tim McCarthy knows first-hand how much time his father has spent away from the family due to coaching. The West Haven starting quarterback, who is quick to credit the job of his mother, Marilyn, would not change a thing.
“It’s awesome playing for him,” Tim McCarthy said. “I have been waiting to play a game here with him since I was on this field when I was one and sitting on the sidelines. It is tough. I did not expect it seeing he had not said anything.
“My mom has been unbelievable in every way you can imagine. She is doing everything at home to make sure we have everything in order while me and James are here with him playing football. It is great just to be able to play for him.”
Tim McCarthy, (l.) had a chance to play in his father's record-setting game, October 25, 2013, and will get a final season with the legendary coach. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
When asked what he plans to do in the next phase of his life, McCarthy is not going to stray too far, summing it up in typical McCarthy fashion.
“I hope to be West Haven’s biggest fan,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy’s run has been helped along the way with his loyal assistants. Among the many in over four decades, Bert Siclari coached 20 years through the 2002 season and Rich Boshea is still by McCarthy’s side 29 years later.
“That has meant a lot,” McCarthy said. “They have had great dedication. I have always said on my tombstone it should say two things. I have had more great assistant coaches than anybody. They have been top notch all the way. Some of these coaches I have become best friends with. I am also proud of the relationships I have with opposing coaches, officials and members of the media.The second thing is no one has coached more good football players than me.”
Boshea, who McCarthy is strongly endorsing to succeed him for the head coaching job, is sad as not only is a mentor retiring, but McCarthy is also someone Boshea calls a true friend.
“I am sad to see him go,” Boshea said. “After 28 years, we are personally intertwined too. I try not to look at it as I am seeing him go because I will see him. But, it is certainly going to be different without him here all the time.
“One of the big things he taught me is to respect the game. He understands the game is bigger than he is and the kids come first. He tries to filter down to the kids that the game comes first. He wants the kids to respect the game. He has never made the game about him. He doesn’t allow the show boating. It is always about the game first.”
Rich Boshea, who coached three games in 2011 when McCarthy fell ill, is being strongly endorsed by McCarthy to be his successor. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Boshea summed up his thoughts of McCarthy following the record-setting win last season.
“It is fitting he holds the record because no one respects, enjoys or loves high school football more than Eddie,” said Boshea after the win over Hamden.
“I feel a part of it. I can say, for many years, I coached with the winningest high school coach in Connecticut ever. That’s great to be a part of.”
McCarthy, who has a great relationship with his players, is quick to point out he has had great players along the way. Included in that group are former NFL player Ulish Booker, present player Rob Jackson and the up and coming Ervin Philips, who is presently in the backfield at Syracuse University.
Members of the McCarthy family (l. to r.) Tim, James, Ed and Marilyn take a photo with former West Haven star and former member of the Washington Redskins, Rob Jackson. Photo courtesy of Marilyn McCarthy.
All credit McCarthy for the work he put in on and off the field. To this day, Jackson still considers McCarthy a father figure with all the help McCarthy provided as Jackson worked his way from junior college to Kansas State University to the Washington Redskins.
“Those guys are special,” McCarthy said. “I would like to think we have done that for a lot of guys whether it is in their jobs or careers. That is what it is all about really. That has been fulfilling.”
Philips can offer the same sentiments.
“He has helped me elevate my game,” Philips said last season. “He is a funny guy, a great guy. He is a good person who will help out anybody.”
McCarthy will have plenty of time to reflect on his career after what he hopes is a playoff run into December. With running back Marshont Little in the backfield and Tim McCarthy behind center to lead a balanced attack, West Haven has the potential to make big plays on offense.
“We will play hard,” McCarthy said of the 2014 campaign. “We will compete every week. We are very, very young, but very talented. We have some good young players. Can we do it physically? That remains to be seen.”
McCarthy says he wants to be West Haven’s biggest fan, but to those who know him, there is plenty of time for that.
Entering his 44th and final season, McCarthy and his team have a state title to pursue.
Marshont Little with a 57-yard touchdown run against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014.
Brandon Sebastian 2-yard touchdown run against Notre Dame, October 10, 2014. Double click to see full screen.
Brandon Sebastian scores on a 17-yard run against Fairfield Prep, November 27, 2014.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
Anthony Godfrey scores against Guilford, October 2, 2014. Video courtesy of Matt Cilbrith.
Marshont Little scores against Wilbur Cross, October 31, 2014. Double click to see full screen.
Tim McCarthy hits Zatrell Lyons for 9-yard score against Hand, November 7, 2014. Video courtesy of Matt Cilbrith. Double click to view full screen.
Anthony Godfrey scores to even the game at 16 in the first half against Wilbur Cross, October 31, 2014. Double click to see full screen.