Ervin Philips officially signed to play football at Syracuse University, February 6, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Read about Ervin's signing at GameTimeCt here
Ervin's thoughts on signing day:
On West Haven coach Ed McCarthy: "He has been more than a coach to me. He has really looked after me. He is a great guy. I appreciate it."
On why he went to Syracuse: "I fell in love with the coaching staff. A lot of teams wanted to move me to defense. They said it was my choice. I am going to be ready to play. I am going there ready to play."
West Haven star running back Ervin Philips gives oral commitment to play football at Syracuse. Read New Haven Register article here
West Haven football coach Ed McCarthy inching closer to wins record. Read New Haven Register article here
West Haven celebrates its goal line stand and win over Xavier, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven coaches, Ron Luneau (l.) and Mike DeVito (r.) congratulate Ed McCarthy on record-tying 321 wins against Xavier. McCarthy's son, James, is at right. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Goal line stand propels WH to 35-34 win over Xavier
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 18, 2013) – Ervin Philips is known for his electrifying runs and game-changing speed.
After Friday evening’s classic against Xavier, one can put another notch in his resume. With the help of Nyrell Moore, Philips and company may have saved their season.
The West Haven defense, which was pushed around for a majority of the night, made the biggest play of all, stopping Xavier’s Joe Carbone on a 2-point conversion attempt in overtime to defeat the Falcons 35-34 in front of a frenzied crowd at Ken Strong Stadium Friday evening.
West Haven stops Xavier to win 35-34, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“I helped on the play, but you have to credit the whole right side,” Philips said of the stop. “I just knew we needed a stop and we made the play.”
Not lost in the thrilling SCC Division I interdivision victory was the win allowedWest Haven head coach Ed McCarthy to tie former Ledyard coach Bill Mignault for the state record with 321 wins. McCarthy will have a shot to break the record when the Westies travel to play Hamden next Friday evening.
“That is secondary,” McCarthy said of the record after his team improved to 5-1. “You guys talk about it but we never mention it.
“Someday, I’ll look back and be very proud of it. This was our fifth win in a row after we suffered a loss in our first game which was the worst in team history. After that game, we said we were going to win the rest of our games and finish 10-1. We are half way there.”
Playing the Kansas tiebreaker in overtime with each team starting at the10-yard line,West Haven needed two plays to score when Philips ran in from 9 yards out and Tayvon Gibbs squeaked in the extra point.
That extra point loomed large as Carbone brought Xavier within 35-34 with a 1-yard score two plays later.
After calling a timeout and with Xavier dominating the West Haven line all night, head coach Sean Marinan opted for the two-point try.
Carbone looked on his way to the winning conversion before Philips, Moore and company made the stop short of the goal line, setting off a wild celebration by the Westies.
“We talked about it and said how long are we going to keep playing with them,” Marinan said after his team fell to 4-2. “We felt we had a little momentum at that point and my gut said to go for it.”
After West Haven quarterback Duane Gary evened the game with an electrifying 57-yard run just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, the final 11 minutes were about who would make the big play.
Duane Gary touchdown run against Xavier, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The biggest play may have come when West Haven forced a fumble on fourth down, recovered by Marquis Lockhart, stalling the Falcons at the West Haven 22 with 5:30 remaining.
The West Haven defense makes a big stop against Xavier, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven's defense, led by John Brolet (23), makes a stop against Xavier, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“What a great game,” Philips said. “We wanted to get this win for Coach Mac. “We knew we had to make a big play. I had to rally the guys. In the big games, big time players make big time plays.”
In a game which was tied on four different occasions, it was the running games of the two teams which proved to be the difference.
Xavier’s Carbone and Andrew Meoli combined for 342 yards on the ground and all five touchdowns. Meoli evened the game at 7 with a 1-yard run in the first quarter and Carbone evened the game at 14 with a 33-yard scamper with 13 seconds left in the first half.
Carbone’s 1-yard run to start the third quarter had Xavier in front 21-14 and his 2-yard run 5 seconds into the fourth quarter had the Falcons on top 28-21.
West Haven’s triple threat of Marshont Little, Philips and Gary ran for 378 yards and all five scores. Gary had the electrifying runs as his 49-yard burst opened the scoring with 1:38 left in the opening quarter and his 57-yard run one play after Carbone put the Falcons on top evened the game at 28 in the fourth quarter.
“This feels great,” Gary said. “We knew we could do it if we played all four quarters. This is really big. I had faith in our defense.”
Philips scored on a 57-yard run for a 14-7 lead and Little evened the game at 21 with a 43-yard score with 2:51 left in the third.
Marshont Little scores on a 43-yard touchdown run against Xavier, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske
Ervin Philips scored on a 57-yard run for the Westies against Xavier, October 18, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“This is a confidence booster,” Philips said. “We did not beat them in four years. We just came out on fire.”Carbone finished the night with 185 yards on 25 carries, while Meoli ran 29 times for 157 yards. Gary led the Westies with 171 yards on 13 carries, while Philips added 123 yards and Little 84 yards.
Sean Pesce presents West Haven coach Ed McCarthy with the Soderman Bowl trophy (top) before Jesse Ridgway (55) and Ervin Philips (r.) hold for all to see after West Haven defeated Notre Dame, 38-29, October 11, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Philips, Little and company defeat Notre Dame, 38-29
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (October 11, 2013) – Ervin Philips knew the importance of holding the trophy at the end of the game in the battle of West Haven Friday evening.
Philips and his teammates did something about it.
In the first ever Soderman Bowl between West Haven and cross-town rival Notre Dame, Philips and backfield mate Marshont Little combined to rush for 319 yards and scored 5 touchdowns as the Westies defeated the Green Knights 38-29 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I East contest in front of a packed house at Ken Strong Stadium.
Named after William Soderman, who received a Medal of Honor for his service inBelgium in 1944, and raising awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project, the meaning of the Soderman Bowl was not lost on the players.
“This game was really big,” Philips said after rushing for 179 yards and scoring one touchdown each on the ground and in the air. “We knew what we were playing for. I had to get my hands on that trophy.
“We are starting to build some team chemistry. We just needed to keep running and do what we do. Our defense stepped up too.”
Ervin Philips holds the Soderman Bowl trophy against Notre Dame, October 11, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The victory allowed West Haven coach Ed McCarthy to pick up his 320th career win and move within one victory of tying the state record for victories held by former Ledyard coach Bill Mignault. McCarthy can tie the record of 321 Friday when the Westies host Xavier.
“We have some playmakers,” McCarthy said after his team gained 418 yards and improved to 4-1. “We have some guys that can run.
“Erv (Philips) and Marshont (Little) really did some good things tonight. They keyed on Duane (Gary) and we were able to do what we like to do.”
After Notre Dame’s Cameran Tucker scored from 5 yards out with 5 minutes, 18 seconds left in the opening quarter for a 7-0 lead, the Westies scored twice, added a pair of two point conversions and never looked back in the second quarter.
Quarterback Duane Gary scrambled and hit Philips for a 7-yard score on fourth down, then ran in the conversion for an 8-7 lead 59 seconds into the second quarter.
On West Haven’s next possession, Little scored the first of his three straight touchdowns and Gary hit John Brolet with the conversion for a 16-8 lead with 6:59 left in the half.
Marshont Little scores from 4 yards out against Notre Dame, October 11, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“This was a really big game,” Little said after rushing for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns. “We needed that trophy. The line blocked for us and we just made some plays.”
The Westies kept it on the ground in the third quarter and took a 30-7 lead. Little had both touchdowns, the first a hard fought run up the middle for 11 yards and the second a 72-yard dash, after bouncing off a host of Green Knight tackles.
Marshont Little scores from 11 yards out.....
...then scores on a 72-yard run against Notre Dame, October 11, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“They went back to the same stuff they do,” Notre Dame coach Tom Marcucci said after his team fell to 1-4. “They have great players who make great plays.
“I am proud of my guys. They played hard to the end and represented the Notre Dame program well. The young guys played hard. They just had too many big plays.”
Notre Dame cut into the deficit in the third quarter when Christian Lupoli hit Drew Arciuolo for a 23-yard score.
Leading 30-15, the Westies responded and put the game away when Philips raced in from 33 yards out with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter.
Ervin Philips scores on a 33-yard run against Notre Dame, October 11, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Tucker added a 1-yard score and Lupoli hit Arciuolo from 19 yards out with 24 seconds to go, but it was not enough.Tucker finished with 62 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Lupoli was 8-of-12 for 86 yards for the Green Knights.
John Brolet's big hit causes a fumble against Guilford, October 4, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gary to the Rescue
Senior QB scores 3 times to help WH rally past Guilford
By MIKE MADERA
(October 4, 2013) – West Haven head coach Ed McCarthy could not have liked what he saw in the first half of Friday evening’s contest at Guilford.
Coming off two solid performances and looking for its third consecutive win, the West Haven was not on the right track during the first 24 minutes. Turnovers and not scoring in the red zone contributed to West Haven trailing by a touchdown to Division II opponent Guilford.
Whatever was said by McCarthy and his staff at the half seemed to work. West Havenresponded by scoring 35 unanswered points in the second half, on its way to a 42-14 beating of the Indians at Kavanaugh Field in Guilford.
The win improved West Haven’s record to 3-1, while a gritty Guilford team could not hang on and fell to 1-3.
Trailing 14-7 as Guilford’s Joe Nault ran in from 20 yards out in the first half, the Westies fired on all cylinders in the final 24 minutes.
Quarterback Duane Gary set the tone of the second half as he scored the first three touchdowns and finished the game with 138 yards rushing on just 10 carries.
Duane Gary scores from 27 yards out to cut West Haven's deficit to 14-13, then...
Gary finishes a 59-yard run for a score to give West Haven a 21-14 lead against Guilford, October 4, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With Guilford keying on Ervin Philips, Gary had room to run. The senior quarterback brought West Haven within a point as he scored on a 27-yard run, but the pass on the conversion failed.
The missed conversion was about the only thing the Westies did wrong in the second half as Gary followed with a 59-yard touchdown run. Philips ran in the conversion andWest Haven led 21-14 after three quarters.
West Haven’s running game wore down the Indians in the second half. Garycompleted his trifecta, racing in from 28 yards out to start the fourth quarter for a 28-7 lead.
The West Haven defense, which tightened up in the second half, then got into the action. Jesse Ridgway picked off a Guilford pass at the West Haven 38 and raced 62 yards for the score which sealed the contest.
Jesse Ridgway (55) intercepts a pass (top), then receives an escort to the endzone by Duane Gary (2, below) against Guilford, October 4, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Philips, who ran for 121 yards on 18 carries, capped the scoring with a 10-yard run late in the fourth quarter. Gary added the two-point conversion with a nifty run andWest Haven rolled to the 28-point victory after the slow start.
Guilford got on the board first in the opening quarter as Nault hit Tony Pensa with a 13-yard scoring strike. Marshont Little’s 18-yard run coupled with Jason Wilkerson’s extra point evened the game at seven before Nault’s score before the half gave the Indians their last lead of the night.
Marshont Little scores against Guilford, October 4, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Nault led the Indians with 50 yards on 16 carries, while David Knapp had 62 yards on 10 carries.
Read Dave Phillips' article on GameTimeCt.com here
Duane Gary scores from 29 yards out as West Haven defeats Cheshire, 48-20, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Back on Track
West Haven offense throttles Cheshire, 48-20
By MIKE MADERA
CHESHIRE (September 27, 2013) - Cheshire head coach Don Drust knew he would have to pick his poison Friday night against West Haven and its running game. With plenty of depth on the offensive side, the Westies presented numerous problems for the Rams.
Drust and his team saw that up close Friday evening at the Maclary Complex. With the trio of quarterback Duane Gary and backs Ervin Philips and Marshont Little combining for 278 yards on the ground, Cheshire was unable to contain the Westies in a 48-20 West Haven victory.
Gary may have had the biggest night and play as his 10-yard touchdown run as time expired in the first half gave the Westies a 27-13 lead in the Southern Connecticut Conference contest. The run followed a 75-yard kickoff return for a score by Zatrell Lyons, which broke a 13-13 tie and took some air out of the Rams.
"Both plays were big,” Gary said after his team improved to 2-1. “I knew we had to get in there. I think it sparked us. This offense can be really good. We have a lot of threats.”
Duane Gary scores on the last play of the first half against Cheshire, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gary finished with 107 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, while Philips ran for 95 yards and a pair of scores. Gary also threw a 55-yard touchdown strike to Philips in the second quarter which gave West Haven a 13-7 lead.
"I think this showed our balance,” Philips said after his team gained 373 yards of total offense.“We have a lot of guys who can score. It was huge to get the kickoff for a score and then we just did what we had to do. This is a big win for us.”
Ervin Philips scores against Cheshire, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Philips gave West Haven a 7-0 lead with 3 minutes, 44 seconds gone by in the game as he raced 28 yards for a score just one play after Norm Doss picked off Cheshire quarterback Josh MacNiven.
"They are a good team," Drust said of West Haven. "They are very athletic. You can't make mistakes against them. If you do, it's not a 5-yard gain, it's a touchdown.
"High school football is all about momentum. I think it swung a little bit, but we had our chances. We did not capitalize on the opportunities we had. We did not make some plays that were there for us."
MacNiven answered with a 6-yard touchdown run to tie the game on the first play of the second quarter for Cheshire.
West Haven wasted no time striking back as Gary responded by hitting Philips for a 55-yard score 3:17 later, before Tony Marcucilli's 1-yard touchdown run evened the game again at 13 for the Rams.
"We had some balance tonight, West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. "That is what we are trying to do. We know what the one guy (Philips) can do, but our fullback (Little) is tough too and our quarterback did some good things."
The momentum would end there for Cheshire. Lyons took the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to the house and West Haven had the momentum and a 20-13 lead.
"The kickoff was huge," McCarthy said as he moved within four wins of owning the state record. "Then we get the score right before the half. We were out of timeouts and I think he (Gary) just made the play up."
Lyons' score marked the first of five straight touchdowns for the Westies which stretched into the fourth quarter.
Gary increased the West Haven lead to 34-13 with a 29-yard score in the third quarter and Philips (12 yards) and Little (45 yards) put West Haven ahead 48-13.
Ervin Philips scores from 12 yards out against Cheshire, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Cheshire (1-2) was in this game through three quarters but turnovers hurt the Rams. John Brolet picked off MacNiven in the second quarter to set up Gary's score before the half and Marshall Davis also recovered a fumble.
"We knew we had to get the win today,” Brolet said. “We made some plays and we were able to score like we did.”
John Brolet with an interception against Cheshire, September 27, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
MacNiven finished 5-of-16 for 89 yards and Jack Cunningham raced for 98 yards in the loss for Cheshire.
Ervin Philips ran for 5 touchdowns, including this one from 1 yard out, as West Haven pounded Foran 57-25, September 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies pound Foran
Philips has 5 TDs in 57-25 win
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (September 20, 2013) - From the minute he walked on to the field, West Haven senior running back Ervin Philips had that look in his eyes. Philips was well aware of the importance of his team’s game against Foran.
When all was said and done, Philips delivered by racing for 199 yards and five touchdowns, including four scores in the first half, as West Haven bounced back from an agonizing loss to Greenwich with a 57-25 pounding of the Lions at Ken Strong Stadium Friday afternoon.
Ervin Philips scores one of his 5 touchdowns against Foran, September 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“This win is a confidence builder,” Philips said. “It was pretty low after losing last week. I thought we played great today.
“It was all about preparation. Coach told us we had to finish. Last game, we thought we had it. We did not finish. Today we did.”
The Westies (1-1) were on a mission from the start, gaining 377 yards in the opening half and scoring six touchdowns. Between Philips and quarterback Duane Gary, the two speedsters ran for 217 yards in the opening half and 272 yards in the game.
West Haven never punted in the contest, was stopped just twice on downs and accumulated an astonishing 573 yards of total offense. Gary attempted just two passes and connected on both for 76 yards as the Lions had no answer for an angry West Haven team.
“It was a bad week around here,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team ran for 497 yards. “It was not fun. We all felt badly for each other. We were actually glad the game was so close. We had to get ready quickly. Sunday night (after loss to Greenwich earlier in the day), we were watching film. The earlier game was good for us.”
West Haven wasted no time taking the lead in the game as Philips scored a highlight-reel touchdown from 58 yards out just 51 seconds in, then, after an Eli Gaskins fumble recovery, scored five plays later when Philips scored from five yards out for a 14-0 lead.
Ervin Philips races 58 yards for a touchdown against Foran, September 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Lions, who got within one touchdown 4 minutes, 41 seconds into the game on a Jake Kasuba to Zach White connection from 18 yards out, could not contain the West Haven ground game in the first half as the Westies ran for 336 yards in the opening 24 minutes.
“Number one (Philips), number two (Gary) and number three (Little) are the real deal,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “They are not a one man show. Their two backs are really good. They have an All-State receiver in number 14 (Zatrell Lyons). Their kids up front do a good job. That is a good club over there.
“I hate to lose but I am very proud of my kids. They hung in there. We were one tipped ball away from changing the complexion of the game.”
Philips gave the Westies a 21-6 lead with a 1-yard run with 3:58 left in the opening quarter and Gary followed with a 16-yard scamper 2:55 later for a 28-6 lead.
Duane Gary scores against Foran from 16 yards out, September 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Lions (1-1) sandwiched a pair of Kasuba touchdown passes to Sean Deegan (19 yards) and Connor Cadrin (34 yards) around a 26-yard Gary touchdown run as West Haven led 35-19. Philips’ fourth touchdown of the opening half with 1:39 remaining increased the margin to 42-19.
John Brolet (23) intercepts a 2-point conversion attempt by Foran, September 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Philips (2 yards) and Marshont Little (11 yards) added touchdown runs in the second half to offset a 16-yard scoring run by Foran's Andrew Khon.
Little finished with 108 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, Anton Graham ran for 75 yards and Gary ran for 73 yards and two scores for the Westies.
Kasuba was 23-of-42 for 302 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions.
Despite Ervin Philips' touchdown, West Haven fell to Greenwich, 22-21. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall to Greenwich in opener
By MIKE MADERA
GREENWICH (September 12, 2013) – With Ervin Philips spinning to the ground after making a spectacular catch inside the Greenwich 20-yard line, the West Haven football team, ranked fifth in the Register Top 10 poll, was poised to build on its lead over the Cardinals early in the third quarter.
By the time Philips got back to the huddle, three bolts of lightning flared across the sky, delaying the game between powerhouses West Haven and Greenwich in the SCC/FCIAC Challenge at Greenwich High with 8 minutes, 33 seconds left in the third quarter.
After waiting over an hour with West Haven leading 13-7, the decision was made to postpone the rest of the contest until Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. at the same site.
“It is a strange situation,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. “We have a couple of days. We will look over some film and see what we need to do as I am sure they will too.”
Ervin Philips runs against Greenwich, September 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With weather forecasts not favorable, the two teams hoped to get the game in. While the sky darkened in the first half, the rain held off until the lightning show.
This afternoon was a possible time to finish the game, but with the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, the final decision was to play Sunday.
West Haven was put in the same situation a few years back against Hamden, leading Friday night before playing poorly when the game resumed on Saturday in a late win.
“We came back the next day against Hamden and played like garbage,” McCarthy said. “They will hear about that the next two days.”
When play resumes, the Westies will have a first down at the Greenwich 18 on their first possession of the second half. The drive was set up after Marquis Lockhart recovered a fumble by Greenwich quarterback Jose Melo, which was the third turnover of the game for the Cardinals.
“It is weird,” Greenwich coach Richard Albonizio said of the stoppage in play. “I have never had it happen. They are a classy program with a classy staff. Their kids are great. We are both in the same situation. We have to do what is best for the kids.”
Before the weather issues, both teams had opportunities but could not hold on to the ball. Each team turned the ball over twice in the first half, with a fumble by West Haven quarterback Duane Gary returned 15 yards for a score by Kendrick Pozo with 6:03 left in the second quarter for a 7-0 Greenwich lead.
Gary atoned for the fumble by returning the ensuing kickoff to the West Haven 43. Three plays later, Philips was in from 40 yards out to even the game at 7with 4:55 left in the first half.
Duane Gary could not lead his team past Greenwich. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We had one of the most disastrous plays we have had to lead to their score, then he (Gary) shows the type of person he is with the big return,” McCarthy said. “He gave us good field position and it turned the game around for us.
“I thought Erv ran well. Our offensive line did not play particularly well. Duane (Gary) and Erv got a lot of those yards on their own. We have to correct that.”
West Haven took a 13-7 lead with 1:21 left in the half as junior Marshont Little raced 31 yards for the score. The extra point was wide to the left, keeping the lead at six.
“We are playing a very good team,” Albonizio said. “They have two terrific backs. They are not good. They are excellent. They are tough to bottle up. We need more offense too.”
Philips has 125 yards on 15 carries when the game resumes
Norman Doss had a fumble recovery and John Brolet an interception for West Haven.
(September 15, 2013) – When play resumed on Sunday afternoon, everything appeared to favor a Westie victory. With West Haven driving before the lightning storm, a touchdown on the initial drive by the Westies could have put them in great position.
That did not happen. Instead, the Westies missed on a field goal attempt andGreenwich’s Austin Longi caught the attempt and raced 88 yards for the score. When Peter Heerdt kicked the extra point, Greenwich led 14-13 with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
The Westies responded and took their final lead with 30.7 seconds left in the third quarter. A 14-play, 73-yard drive was capped when Little scored his second touchdown, this one from 5 yards out. Gary then hit Brolet with a two-point conversion pass for a 21-14 lead.
Marshont Little (3) scores to give West Haven a 21-14 lead over Greenwich, September 15, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The fourth quarter decided the game. West Haven’s defense did not allow Greenwichin the end zone, including a goal line stand.
When the Westie offense could not move the ball on the ensuing possession, instead of risking a blocked punt, the Westies took a safety with 2:35 left to cut the lead to 21-16.
Longi’s return on the ensuing kick gave Greenwich possession at the West Haven 36. Melo converted a fourth-and-1 with a 2-yard scamper, then hit Longo for 24 yards to the 1-yard line. Longi scored on the next play to send the Westies to defeat.
Philips finished with 137 yards on 31 carries, while Little added 79 yards and a pair of touchdown runs.
Despite a goal line stand, West Haven fell to Greenwich 22-21. Marshont Little (3) and Jesse Ridgway (55) aid the play. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
John Brolet (23) and the Westies hope to be in the playoff mix in 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Full Speed Ahead
Westies looking for title run
By MIKE MADERA
It has been a little over nine months since the West Haven football team was involved in a game that counts. That will all change on Thursday when the Westies travel to play Greenwich in the season opener for both teams.
The time away from the football field has seen change for the Westies. The last time head coach Ed McCarthy’s team took the field, a short-handed group was thoroughly defeated by Staples in a Class LL quarterfinal game.
“We want to get in the states,” McCarthy said. “The last two times we got in we were the number eight seed. We have gotten some pretty tough draws. We not only want to get in this year, but we want to do some damage. We know what we are up against. We are playing some pretty tough teams.”
The 2013 season comes with much hype. There is McCarthy six wins away from becoming the all-time wins leader. Entering the season with 316 wins, McCarthy needs five wins to tie the record held by Bill Mignault and six to break it.
Then there is the hotly pursued and talented senior running back Ervin Philips who recently gave an oral commitment to play at Syracuse University next fall. Philips formed a potent tandem with Eddy Williams last season as the Westies seemed to run at will.
“I think he was ready (to commit),” McCarthy said of Philips. “Syracuse had everything he wanted. They recruited him as a running back. That’s where he wants to play and that’s where he feels most comfortable.
“I know this is crazy but we are asking him to do even more than what he has done. We need him on offense and we are also going to have him play a half of a game on defense. We do not want to spread him too thin. We need his talents out there.”
Ervin Philips(l.) will be one of the key components for the West Haven football team in 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With Williams off to college, Philips, one of the team’s three captains, will have other speedsters to play with as well as adjusting to a new quarterback. While that quarterback is not new to the system, the position is a different one as senior Duane Gary has moved from the backfield to under center for the 2013 season.
With Gary’s speed at quarterback and Philips in the backfield, the Westies will look to catch opposing defenses with some quick strikes. That is not all opposing teams will need to worry about.
Duane Gary (l.) will take his speed and his talents behind center as the quarterback hopes to lead the Westies to a state title in 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We need to keep the two little guys (Philips and Gary) healthy,” McCarthy said. “The key is keeping them healthy. They are two veteran players who can go all the way at any time.”
The Westies also have another stud in the backfield as senior halfback Anton Graham has come over from Platt Technical School and will provide another weapon for the Westies.
The key player in the running game may not be any of the three aforementioned players. Instead, junior fullback Marshont Little can be the difference maker as the 5 foot – 7 inch, 146 pound fullback will be counted on to open the holes for the quick trio.
Gary will also have weapons to throw to. Junior Tayvon Gibbs is a nice target at 6 feet, 228 pounds at the tight end position. The split end position will see a rotation of senior John Brolet and juniors Jason Wilkerson and Zatrell Lyons. Lyons has also come over from Platt Tech and is 6’– 1”, 161 pounds.
“We have quick strike ability,” McCarthy said. “We have guys who can go all the way. We are going to score some long ones.”
The offensive line is still a work in progress for the Westies and McCarthy and company will look to have that resolved before traveling to Greenwich.
Seniors Dante Emanuel (6-0, 277) and Matt Jones (6-1, 300) will play the tackle positions while seniors Eli Gaskins (5-11, 215), Norm Doss (6-0, 180) and Jesse Ridgway (6-2, 211) will be the guards and senior Dave Cinti (6-3, 280) will be at center.
Senior Jesse Ridgway (32) will anchor the West Haven defense from his linebacker position. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies were exposed on defense last year and hope to have that aspect solved. The linebacker crew looks to be the strong point for the Westies as Ridgway and Nyrell Moore are returning starters and Gibbs, who is also the team’s punter and kicker, was moved from the defensive line to the linebacker spot.
“They (linebackers) are definitely our strong point,” McCarthy said. “We have three guys who are returning starters.
“We think we had a great winter in terms of lifting. A lot of guys’ weights are right on. Most of the veterans put on 12 to 15 pounds.”
Sophomore Adrian Jaynes (5-9, 196) will also play linebacker. Jaynes is one of three players to come to high school from the highly successful midget team, with the others being sophomores Marshall Davis (running back) and Marquis Lockhart (defensive line).
With numerous players performing on both sides of the ball, the Westies will be rotating several players in and out of the secondary and defensive line. On the line, Cinti, Gaskins, junior Juwan Rollins, Lockhart, Emanuel, Jones and junior Tom Wilkerson (6-3, 169) will be rotated in the game.
“Our secondary and defensive line will be battling for spots,” McCarthy said. “The whole team does not have a lot of depth. Last year, Eddy Williams was the only guy to play both ways. This year we have guys going one and a half ways.”
In the secondary, a host of players will also come in and out of the game. Philips and Gary will see time in the defensive backfield as will Brolet, Little, Lyons, Graham and senior Tyree Burke (5-10, 172) who has come in from Canada.
Along with Philips, Gaskins and Ridgway are the team’s three captains. All have impressed McCarthy.
“We have good, solid captains,” McCarthy said. “Eli has worked really hard. He did not start his freshman year, but he got bigger and has worked harder. Jesse has started for three years. He has a lot of experience.”
West Haven opens the season Thursday, September 12 at Greenwich at 6 p.m.
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
Nyrell Moore (4) makes a tackle against Fairfield Prep, Thanksgiving Day, 2014. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Nyrell Moore to be honored in April
By SUSAN MISUR
SPECIAL TO WESTIE BLUE
A West Haven High School football player who plans to attend the University ofConnecticut next year and major in civil engineering has been named a scholar-athlete by a local chapter of a national organization.
Senior Nyrell Moore will be honored by the Gene Casey-New Haven County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame at a banquet in April as the scholar-athlete for the WHHS football team for this year. According to the organization, Moore and recipients from other schools have “met the criteria of scholastic achievement, leadership and extra-curricular activities and excellence in football.”
The honor requires that a chosen student has a GPA of at least 3.4 out of a 4.0 scale and high SAT scores. WHHS typically chooses the football player with the highest academic achievement of anyone on his team. Since an athlete must meet the strict criteria to be selected, a school is not guaranteed to have a nominee each year. School nominations also aren’t automatically accepted by the organization and must be reveiwed.
“This is for kids who are elite academically and have football skills, too,” WHHS Athletic Director Jon Capone said.
Moore, son of Detria Pritchett and James Moore, has been with the Blue Devils for three years as a middle and outside linebacker, having played with the West Haven Seahawks in the Southern Connecticut Pop Warner League during his freshman year. He spent last summer at Yale University and University of New Haven football camps, while also working as a coach at the Edward L. Bennett rink with kids aged 6-14 on a street hockey team.
He said that while he has loved playing football, he’s also been focused on doing well in his classes, including his advanced placement (college-level) courses this year in biology and human geography.
“I don’t want to be stuck. I want to have options,” he said, adding that his mother’s encouragement and watchful eye has influenced his education.
Moore recently learned he’s been accepted to UConn for next year and said he’s been leaning toward attending the school for a long time because it’s close to home and boasts a large campus. And though he has an interest in nanotechnology, he’s interested in studying civil engineering.
“I took a trip to Sikorsky with the football team for a tour, and civil engineering really interested me,” he said.
While Moore lived in Wallingford for a few years when he was young, he moved before starting school and has spent his entire academic career in West Haven. He’s looking forward to college, but also reflecting on the strong bonds he’s formed with friends and teammates over the years.
“I’ll miss high school a little bit and everybody I grew up with,” he said. “I’m going to go out into a new world and meet new people, of course, but it won’t be the same.”
WHHS football Coach Ed McCarthy said Moore proved his skills on the field during his time with the Blue Devils.
Zatrell Lyons gave West Haven a 7-0 lead over Fairfield Prep with a 29-yard touchdown reception, December 7, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
End of the Road
WH falls to Prep in Class LL semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
TRUMBULL (December 7, 2013) – Since falling to Staples in the quarterfinal round of the 2012 postseason, one goal has been on the minds of the West Haven football team and that was winning a state championship.
Looking to get to the title game, the Westies fell just short, dropping a heart-breaking 29-28 decision in the CIAC Class LL semifinals at McDougall Stadium at Trumbull High Saturday afternoon.
Costly mistakes on special teams and offense proved vital in the season-ending loss which dropped the Westies to 10-3.
“They played their hearts out,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. “I am very proud of them. We just came up short.”
Trailing 29-26 and driving for the potential game-winner, West Haven watched its season end as quarterback Duane Gary’s pass was intercepted by Brendan Beiser with 1 minute, 6 seconds remaining.
Prep quarterback Colton Smith ran out of the end zone as time expired, but it was not enough for the Westies.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Philips said. “We had a great season. We have come a long way. We just fell short.”
The game had started in fine fashion for the Westies as they took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter when Gary hit Zatrell Lyons with a 29-yard score on fourth down.
After holding the Jesuits, West Haven was pinned in its own end and Gary was tackled in the end zone for a safety with 4:35 left in the half. Nine plays later, the Jesuits led 9-7 when Smith scored from 9 yards out with 1:06 left in the half.
West Haven answered by shocking the Jesuits with a 65-yard score by Gary with 17.1 seconds left in the half. The Westies went for two, failed, and led 13-9.
On the second play of the second half, West Haven used another 65-yard for a score as Philips raced in for a 19-9 lead just 57 seconds into the third quarter.
“We made some plays,” Philips said. “We just didn’t make enough.”
Ervin Philips scores on a 65-yard run against Fairfield Prep, December 7, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The tide then turned in a span of 2:13 as Prep scored twice for a 22-19 lead. Smith scored from 3 yards out to put the Jesuits up three, before John Delisanti raced for a 65-yard score on a punt return.
“We had some plays in the middle of the game which ultimately cost us the game,” McCarthy said. “The game got away from us a little in the third quarter.”
Two possessions later, the Westies again were on top. Philips connected with Lyons on a 37-yard pass and Marshont Little scored from 3 yards out on the next play for a 26-22 West Haven lead.
Marshont Little gave the Westies their last lead of the season with a 3-yard run against Fairfield Prep, December 7, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Prep answered and scored with 3:53 left as Nick Crowle converted a fourth down, then capped a 59-yard drive with a 28-yard score for a 29-26 advantage.
“We could not hold them on fourth down,” McCarthy said. “That was a big play.”
“We needed to make more plays,” Philips said.
West Haven had one final drive and looked as if it would win the game. Gary ran 22 yards to the Prep 34 and the Westies were at the Prep 25 with just over one minute left.
But. Beiser came up big and the Jesuits ended the West Haven season.
“We thought we had it,” McCarthy said. “He (Gary) just under threw the ball. He has made five thousand great plays for us this year. It was not just that one play. We made too many mistakes.
“They made one more play than we did. I am incredibly proud of these kids. I do not want them to hang their heads. Incredibly proud.”
Read article courtesy of Game Time Ct here
Read article courtesy of Connecticut Post here
See highlights of the game courtesy of WTNH Sportz Edge here
WH falls 29-28 in Class LL semifinals
By MIKE MADERA
TRUMBULL (December 7, 2013) – Following a Thanksgiving Day loss to Fairfield Prep, the West Haven football team hoped to get another shot at its Southern Connecticut Conference rivals.
That shot came in the CIAC Class LL semifinals Saturday afternoon at Trumbull High. In what will go down as an instant classic, the Westies fell one play short of a berth in the championship game, falling to the Jesuits once again, 29-28.
“They played their hearts out,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team ended the year 10-3. “I am very proud of them. We just came up short.”
In the initial meeting between the two teams, Fairfield Prep quarterback Colton Smith and running back Nick Crowle combined for nearly 400 yards of offense on the ground.
Knowing they needed to contain the duo, the Westies this time held Smith to 111 yards and Crowle to 98 for a 209 yard total. Unfortunately for the Westies, the pair came up big when they needed to, in particular during the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 26-22, and starting at their own 41, the Jesuits made several big plays on the winning drive, including Crowle’s 2-yard run on fourth-and-1. Smith then ran three times for 20 yards before Crowle delivered the dagger with a 28-yard score with 3 minutes, 53 seconds remaining to put the Jesuits on top 29-26.
“We could not hold them on fourth down,” McCarthy said. “That was a big play.”
Needing just a field goal to tie the game, West Haven was in prime position to do some damage, starting on its own 42.
A 27-yard run by quarterback Duane Gary got the Westies to the Prep 34 before two runs by Ervin Philips and another by Marshont Little had West Haven at the Jesuits’ 23.
After Philips was stopped for a 2-yard loss and with the clock nearing the one minute mark, the Westies went for the end zone. Zatrell Lyons had a step on the defense, but Prep sophomore Brendan Beiser stepped in front of Lyons and effectively ended the Westies’ season with an interception.
“We thought we had it,” McCarthy said. “He (Gary) just under threw the ball. He has made five thousand great plays for us this year. It was not just that one play. We made too many mistakes.”
While the Westies will think about an interception inside the Prep 10-yard line in the final minute of the game with West Haven driving for the potential game-winner, there were several key moments in the contest which could have swung the tide in West Haven’s direction.
Leading by a touchdown with 4:35 left in the first half, the Westies gave Prep nine straight points, including a safety when Gary was tackled in the end zone and a touchdown by Smith from nine yards out with 1:06 left in the half.
While West Haven answered with a 65-yard score by Gary with 17.1 seconds to go in the half, the nine points in a span of 3:29 would prove costly in the end.
Philips increased the lead to 19-9 with a 65-yard run on the second play of the second half, but the game started to resemble the Thanksgiving contest as Smith and Crowle took over and a breakdown by the Westies cost another score.
After Prep threw the ball 16 times in the first half, the Jesuits embarked on a 13-play drive in their opening possession of the second half, using just one pass. The combination of Crowle and Smith combined for 72 yards on the drive, with Smith scoring from 2 yards out.
“We just made too many mistakes,” Philips said. “We had a great season. We have come a long way. We just fell short.”
The play which will eat at the Westies until next August came on special teams. After being forced to punt, West Haven gave up a 65-yard return to John Delisanti for a score and a 22-19 Prep lead with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
“We had some plays in the middle of the game which ultimately cost us the game,” McCarthy said. “The game got away from us a little in the third quarter.”
The Westies answered with a big play as Philips hit Zatrell Lyons with a 37-yard pass and Marshont Little scored from 3 yards out on the next play, but Prep’s next drive would crush West Haven’s season.
“They made one more play than we did,” McCarthy said. “I am incredibly proud of these kids. I do not want them to hang their heads. Incredibly proud.”In their final game for West Haven, Gary ran for 114 yards and a score, while Philips ran for 125 yards and a touchdown. Each threw a touchdown pass to Lyons, withGary’s scoring pass coming on fourth down early in the second quarter.
Duane Gary (2) returns a Hall fumble 96 yards for the score, December 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Hall of a Win
Gary, Philips propel WH in CIAC Classs LL win over Hall
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HARTFORD (December 3, 2013) - With possibly 24 minutes left in their high school careers, Ervin Philips and Duane Gary were not going to let the season end. Trailing by one point and with West Haven looking flat in the first half, Philips and Gary ignited the Westies to the tune of 30 third quarter points, leading No. 6 West Haven to a 51-26 victory over No. 3 Hall in the quarterfinals of the CIAC Class LL state tournament Tuesday evening at Hall High School.
With the win, West Haven gets a chance to avenge a Thanksgiving Day loss to Fairfield Prep when the two teams meet again Saturday in the semifinals at a site and time to be determined.
“We just came out flat in the first half,” Philips said after rushing for 144 yards and four touchdowns. “We should have been doing that all along. We knew we could come back.”
Trailing 14-13 to start the third quarter, West Haven wased no time taking the lead for good, scoring three times in 3 minutes, 22 seconds. Philips capped an 8-play, 55-yard drive on West Haven's first possession with a 3-yard score for a 19-14 lead just 3:16 in.
After forcing Hall to punt, West Haven used a 41-yard run by Anton Graham to set up Philips with a 9-yard score just 1:12 later for a 27-14 lead when Philips hit Gary on the conversion.
“We have some playmakers,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team held a 240-110 yard advantage in the third quarter “It was just a matter of making the plays.”
The Warriors (9-2) never backed down and were in position to make the game a one touchdown contest when quarterback Tom Honyotski immediately moved Hall to the West Haven 3-yard line. The momentum completely turned to West Haven when Javone Bellamy fumbled and Gary made his second fumble recovery, this one in the endzone.
On the next play, West Haven pulled away. Gary hit Zatrell Lyons in stride for an 80-yard touchdown and a 35-14 lead after Philips ran in the conversion with 5:22 left in the third quarter.
“We did not want the season to end,” Gary said after throwing for 122 yards. “The coaches asked us if the bus ride home was going to be a long one or a happy one. We wanted to keep playing. We came out a different team in the third quarter.”
Duane Gary dives for extra yardage against Hall, December 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gary capped the 30-0 run in the third quarter with an 8-yard score for a 43-14 lead with 8.6 seconds to go.
“Honestly, I thought we came out flat to start the game,” McCarthy said after his team improved to 10-2. “We are a tired team. We are not the same team we were two weeks ago.
“I just think the kids did not want to go home. They did not want the season to end. Other than the 96-yard fumble recovery in the first half, we did not do much.”
The Warriors showed they were not going to be an easy opponent quickly in the game when Honyotski threw for 70 yards on Hall's second drive and hit Octovio Thomas with a 30-yard scoring strike with 3:59 left in the opening quarter. West Haven evened the game on its next possession when Philips scored from 4 yards out just 1:02 into the second quarter.
“This is great for our program,” Philips said. “We have not won a playoff game in a long time.”
Ervin Philips gets in the endzone to even the game at 7, December 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Honyotski looked as if he was going to put Hall on top on the Warriors' next possession, but Hall fumbled and Gary scooped up the loose ball and raced 96 yards for the score and a 13-7 lead with 9:27 left in the half.
“I am just trying to be a leader out there,” Gary said. “I am just trying to pick up my team. I was always taught to play hard until the whistle blows. That's what I did.”
Honyotski, who finished with 407 yards in the air and three touchdowns but was victimized by numerous dropped balls, put Hall on top with 2:54 left in the half when he connected with Robert Parra on an 11-yard score for a 14-13 lead.
“It's not often you can say their guy threw for 400 yards and you won,” McCarthy said. “They have good team speed and all their receivers are good. They have a good scheme. You are not going to win too many games giving up 400 yards.”
John Brolet (23) defends against Hall, December 3, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
See highlights of the Hall game courtesy of WTNH Sportz Edge
Ervin Philips scores on a 47-yard reception to give West Haven a 14-2 lead over Fairfield Prep, November 28, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies fall to Prep; will go on road in postseason
By MIKE MADERA
FAIRFIELD (November 28, 2013) – Nick Crowle has seen his share of lean years at Fairfield Prep. In his senior season, Crowle was not about to let Thursday morning be the last time he put on the Jesuits’ uniform.
Rushing for 104 yards and three touchdowns, including the back breaker with 2 minutes, 41 seconds remaining, Crowle helped his team back to the postseason with a thrilling 29-20 victory over West Haven at Alumni Field in Fairfield.
The victory, which snapped West Haven’s five-game winning streak in the series, lifts the Jesuits to the seventh seed in Class LL, where they will travel to play second-seeded Glastonbury in the opening round of the postseason Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m.
West Haven, which lost control of a home game in the postseason with the loss, drops to the sixth seed and will travel to play third-seeded Hall of West Hartford, also at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
“This feels great,” Crowle said. “It has been four years of long, hard work with this in mind.”
The Westies could not stop the combination of Crowle and quarterback Colton Smith as the pair rushed for 398 yards and all four touchdowns. Smith was particularly damaging to West Haven’s home playoff hopes as he continually carved up the West Haven defense for big chunks of yards art crucial times.
“This is big for our program,” Smith said after rushing for 294 yards on 32 carries. “We knew they were a very good football team.
“This is a huge win for us, especially on Thanksgiving, There is nothing better. We knew all the alumni were going to be here. We wanted to win for them.”
Trailing 20-2 in the second quarter, the Jesuits turned to Smith, Crowle and the offensive line to turn the game around.
A 7-play, 80-yard drive was capped when Smith broke several tackles and raced 27 yards for the score. When Smith hit Andrew Ostrosky with the conversion pass, Prep trailed 20-10 with 5:13 left in the first half.
As big a part as the running game played in the win for the Jesuits, it was the defense which made perhaps the biggest play of the game with 1:49 to go in the first half, stopping West Haven quarterback Duane Gary on the Prep 1-yard line on fourth down to keep the deficit at 10 at the half.
Duane Gary was stopped on fourth down later in the second quarter, but scores here for a 20-2 West Haven lead against Fairfield Prep, November 28, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We have given up the fewest points in the league,” Fairfield Prep coach Tom Shea said after his team improved to 9-2. “That was a big play there. It stopped whatever momentum they could have had with the score.”
The Jesuits scored on their opening two possessions of the second half and never looked back as they held the Westies to just 42 yards in the second half, while gaining 228.
Fairfield Prep needed just 6 plays to go 66 yards to start the second half, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run by Crowle to cut the deficit to 20-16.
After West Haven punted on its opening possession, the Jesuits took the lead for good with a 31-yard touchdown run by Crowle with 4:31 left in the third quarter for a 22-20 lead, capping an 82-yard drive.
“They are a great football team,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team fell to 9-2. “They are one of the premier teams in the state, without question. They deserved to win this game. We didn’t. They took charge of the game.”
The Westies never got on track in the second half as their best possession brought them to the Prep 38 in the final minutes. West Haven was hurt by three fumbled snaps in the second half and minus-9 yards of offense in the fourth quarter.
“Their defense is really good,” McCarthy said. “We also fumbled three handoffs on base plays in the second half.”
West Haven, which leads the series 14-4, opened the game in impressive fashion, jumping out to a 20-2 lead. Ervin Philips, who rushed for 80 yards on 15 carries, gave the Westies an 8-0 lead with a 1-yard run just 2:40 into the game.
Ervin Philips gives West Haven an 8-0 lead with a 1-yard score against Fairfield Prep, November 28, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After the Westies held the Jesuits deep in West Haven territory on Prep’s opening possession, Gary was tackled in the endzone for a safety, cutting West Haven’s lead to 8-2.
The Westies increased the lead to 14-2 when Gary hit Philips with a 47-yard touchdown strike on third-and-long just 1:54 into the second quarter. Tayvon Gibbs’ extra point hit the left upright, keeping the lead at 12.
The Jesuits were doing little to show they were ready for the postseason as a fumble on their next possession was recovered by Marshont Little, setting up Gary’s 1-yard score and a 20-2 lead with 7:57 remaining in the first half. The conversion again failed on the pass, proving costly at the end.
Marshont Little recovers a fumble with Frank Cushing (64), Jesse Ridgway (c.) and Juwan Rollins (52) looking on, November 28, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Gary finished the game 7-of-10 for 98 yards and one touchdown pass.
Little too much for Gaels
Junior propels Westies with 2 interceptions and 2 TD’s
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (November 15, 2013) - West Haven's Marshont Little had never been to the postseason before. Little, who transferred from Wilbur Cross, took it upon himself to make sure his drought ended.
Intercepting two Shelton passes, including one at the West Haven 12 with Shelton looking to take the lead for the first time with 7 minutes remaining, Little helped the Westies to a 35-26 victory over the Gaels in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I battle at Ken Strong Stadium Friday evening.
“I have never been to the postseason before,” Little said after also rushing for a pair of scores. “We just had to make a play. We got that halftime speech and made the plays in the second half.”
With the win, West Haven, ranked No. 4 in the Register Top 10 poll, improved to 9-1 and clinched a berth in the postseason. Shelton, which continues to fall on hard luck, fell to 6-4 despite giving the Westies all they could handle.
“When we walked off that field in Greenwich, who would have thought we would clinch before Thanksgiving?,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said about the loss in the season opener. “We are in the dance. It is a credit to these kids. They have worked very hard.”
With all the momentum on Shelton's side to start the second half, West Haven responded on the opening drive when Little rushed in from 3 yards out to cap a 7-play, 65-yard drive just 2 minutes, 14 seconds into the third quarter.
The Gaels, as they did at the end of the first half, wasted no time scoring as a 12-play drive, which went 80 yards, saw a fourth down conversion and a 21-yard scoring strike from Mark Piccirillo to Shane Corcoran. Shelton was stopped on the conversion and West Haven held on to a 28-26 lead with 5:10 left in the third quarter.
“They would not go away,” McCarthy said of the Gaels. “They are a very proud program. They have lost some tough games. They gave us all we could handle.”
Shelton appeared to be going in for the go-ahead score as the fourth quarter began. Little had different thoughts as he picked off Piccirillo with 6:58 to go, setting up Duane Gary's 9-yard score 3:37 later for a 35-26 West Haven lead.
“We are really disappointed in our record, but not in our play,” Shelton coach Jeff Roy said. “We have come out and battled every Friday night. The kids never stopped fighting. They never blinked.
“They have some great backs over there. They are tough to stop.”
The Gaels had one last opportunity at the upset, but decided to go for a 31-yard field goal with 48 seconds remaining in hopes of getting the ball back. When Joe Zoppi's kick sailed wide, West Haven escaped with the win.
“It certainly was that type of (playoff) atmosphere,” McCarthy said. “Piccirillo was unbelievable. He put the ball where he wanted to all game.
“We have a lot of guts. Marshont came up with two big interceptions and he kept them honest up the middle. He played a great game.”
The game started in fine fashion for the Westies as a combination of good defense and an opportunistic offense helped the team to a quick 13-0 lead in the first quarter.
Just four plays into the game, the Westies made a big play when Little intercepted Piccirillo, giving the Westies possession at the Shelton 43. Seven plays later, Ervin Philips put the Westies on the scoreboard with a 20-yard touchdown run with 4:52 gone by in the game.
West Haven forced the Gaels to punt on their next possession and the Westies needed just three plays to take a 13-0 lead. Gary hit Tayvon Gibbs for 22 yards and Little capped the 44-yard drive with a 7-yard score.
The Gaels had no offense to speak of in the opening quarter, gaining just 31 yards, but the second quarter was a different story. After stopping the Westies on fourth down at the Shelton 13 with 4 minutes left in the first half, the Gaels turned the game around with three scores in the final 3 minutes.
Piccirillo hit Michael Pingree with a 77-yard strike down the left sideline to cut the deficit to 13-7 with 2:48 left in the half, but the Westies appeared to be back on track, needing just two plays and 15 seconds to take a 21-7 lead. Gary hit Zatrell Lyons for 41 yards, Philips scored from 6 yards out and Gary ran in the conversion for the two touchdown lead.
The Gaels were not done as Piccirillo hit Pingree for a touchdown from 25 yards out with 48 seconds to go and the Gaels recovered a squib kick at the West Haven 20. Three plays later, Piccirillo ran in from 1-yard out, but Gary blocked Zoppi's extra point to keep West Haven on top 21-20 at the half.
Piccirillo finished 19-of-28 for 287 yards and 3 touchdown passes. The Shelton quarterback also ran in for a score.
Philips ran for 133 yards and two scores on 22 carries, while Gary had 90 yards on the ground for West Haven.
See more highlights of the Shelton contest courtesy of WTNH Sportz Edge here
Ervin Philips scored 5 times and rushed for 267 yards against Hand, November 8, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Philips scores 5 times in 46-35 win over Tigers
By MIKE MADERA
WEST HAVEN (November 8, 2013) - Ervin Philips has vivid memories of the last time his Westies played Hand a year ago. When a two-point conversion attempt just sailed off the finger tips of Philips in the final moments, the Westies fell to the Tigers by one point.
Philips needed all of one play to make sure the Westies did not feel the same way when walking off the field as he raced for a 64-yard touchdown on the first play of the game, leading the Westies to a 46-35 victory over the Tigers in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I East battle at West Haven's Ken Strong Stadium.
Ervin Philips scores on a 64-yard run on the first play of the game against Hand, November 8, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
With the victory, West Haven improved to 8-1 overall, and clinched the division with a 4-0 record. Hand, which took a serious hit to its playoff hopes, falls to 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the SCC Division I East.
“All summer we worked hard for these games,” Philips said. “We lost by one point. We used that as motivation. We wanted to beat these two teams (Hand and Xavier) that we hadn't beaten. We worked hard to do that.
“I just wanted to carry the team on my back. I just wanted to respond and make big plays. The offensive line did a great job opening holes.”
Philips, who also recovered a Hand fumble in the endzone and an onsides kick, ran for 267 yards and five touchdowns on 26 carries. The senior star ran for 162 yards in the first half and was at his best in the second half, scoring on runs of 11, 27 and 4 yards.
“How good is he?,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy asked about Philips. “He recovered an onsides kick and a fumble and does what he does running the ball. He is the best player in the state.
“This is a great win for us. We pointed to this game all summer. They had us on our heels with their tempo, but we were able to hang on. They are a good team and are going to be very good.”
The Tigers came out ready to play in the second half and scored on the opening possession when Conor Dowd scored from 16 yards out. West Haven needed just 5 plays to respond as Philips gave West Haven a 26-14 lead with an 11-yard run.
The Tigers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the momentum was back with the Westies as Philips scored on the next play from 27 yards out with 7:03 left in the third for a 33-14 lead.
“We did not tackle well,” Hand coach Steve Filippone said. “We did not tackle well because they have some of the best backs in the state. Erv is the best back in the state and that is no offense to Arkeel Newsome. He is in a class with him and (Harold) Cooper. He is the best back for what he does for his team.”
Philips' fifth score increased the lead to 40-14, before the Tigers used an 8-yard scoring strike from Nicolas Van Dell to Tom Wilson and a 3-yard run by Van Dell to get within 46-27.
“We are a very young team,” Filippone said. “We have six sophomores starting. We are still learning. These games will help us grow for the future.”
West Haven's defense, led by John Brolet (23) and Nyrell Moore (4), made big plays against Hand, November 8, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
After Van Dell evened the game at 7 in the opening quarter with a 6-yard run to cap a 9-play, 85-yard drive, Philips again had an answer.
His 30-yard run off tackle capped a 5-play, 65-yard drive with 2 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The Westies missed the extra point, keeping the lead at 13-7.
West Haven increased the lead to 19-7 with 4:03 remaining in the first half. Quarterback Duane Gary, who rushed for 126 yards, capped a 15-play drive, which saw a 17-yard run by Anton Graham, with a 2-yard score. Philips was denied on the conversion, keeping the West Haven lead at 12.
Duane Gary scores on a 17-yard run against Hand, November 8, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Van Dell finished the game throwing for 221 yards.
Zatrell Lyons comes down with a big catch against Hand, November 8, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven fans, (from l. to r.) Tory Lavery, Allyson Hemstock and Ava Gambardella, cheer on the Westies against Hand, November 8, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
For video of the Hand-West Haven game courtesy of WTNH Sportz Edge, look here.
Duane Gary threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in a 50-7 win over Wilbur Cross, November 1, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Westies pound Cross with Hand up next
By MIKE MADERA
EAST HAVEN (November 1, 2013) - With Hand-Madison on the horizon, West Haven coach Ed McCarthy was hoping his team was not looking past its tilt with Wilbur Cross.
Senior quarterback Duane Gary made sure of that.
Involved in four first half touchdowns, Gary led his team to a 50-7 Southern Connecticut Conference Division I East victory over the Governors Friday afternoon at Frank Crisafi Field in East Haven. The win improved West Haven to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in the division with the battle against the Tigers coming Friday evening.
The West Haven line controlled both sides of the ball in a 50-7 win over Wilbur Cross, November 1, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“We work hard in practice all week,” said Gary who ran for a pair of touchdons and threw for two more in the first half. “We play together. Our line has been excellent. They have been blocking well. We were focused on this game.”
West Haven set the tone of the game in the first half, holding a 261-56 advantage in yards and a 35-7 lead. When all was said and done, the Westies held Cross to just 71 yards of offense while gaining 507.
“Our defense has stepped up a lot,” senior Jesse Ridgway said. “We have played teams with two great backs the last two weeks and stepped it up. We have to keep stepping up to another level.
“We are going into a new season. We have Hand, Shelton and Fairfield Prep coming up. We have to keep playing like this.”
Jesse Ridgway (55) and the West Haven defense allowed only 71 yards in a 50-7 win over Wilbur Cross, November 1, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The Westies took a 7-0 lead just 3 minutes, 30 seconds into the game when Ervin Philips ran in from 24 yards out just four plays after the Westies recovered a Cross fumble.
“Our defensive coaches have really done a great job,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said. “Ted Czepiga, Ron Luneau and Mike DeVito have really coached these kids up well. They are getting more confidence. We changed over the summer from a 3-4 to a 4-3 and the kids are really starting to feel more comfortable.”
After holding the Governors on their next possession, West Haven needed just three plays to take a 13-0 lead. Gary hit Philips with a screen pass and the speedy back did the rest, racing 55 yards for the score with 5:34 left in the opening quarter.
Cross, which gained only 41 yards in the first quarter, was held again on its next possession. This time the Westies needed four plays once agin as Gary hooked up with Philips on fourth down for a 35-yard touchdown with 1:58 to go in the opening quarter.
Ervin Philips scores on a 35-yard pass from Duane Gary (top) and on a 24-yard run (bottom) in a 50-7 win over Wilbur Cross, November 1, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
“This was a pretty big game for us,” Gary said after running for 78 yards and throwing for 137. “We knew they had good athletes. We could not sleep on them.”
The Governors (3-5, 0-2) quickly made it a game as Elijah Long raced down the left sideline on the ensuing kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown, cutting the West Haven lead to 21-7.
Gary needed the final 3:07 of the opening half to ice the contest. The senior quarterback capped a 13-play drive with a 23-yard touchdown on fourth down, then capped a 9-play drive with a 2-yard score and a 35-7 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the first half.
“We have some big play players,” McCarthy said. “We want to keep the ball in their hands. Cross has some really good players. They are close. Unfortunately in our league, it's tough. Put them in any other league and they are 8-2. They are going to win some games.”
West Haven's defense stepped up and put points on the board on the Governors' second offensive play of the second half as the Westies tackled Stevie Swinson in the endzone for a 37-7 lead.
Two plays later, Anton Graham raced in from 30 yards out for a 43-7 lead and Philips capped his day with a 1-yard score late in the third quarter for a 50-7 advantage.
Graham finished the night with 102 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries. Philips ran for 59 yards and two scores for the Westies.Swinson led Cross with 42 yards on 12 carries.
See highlights of the West Haven - Cross game courtesy of WTNH Spotz Edge here
Ervin Philips (l.) and his teammates dump ice water on head coach Ed McCarthy after McCarthy broke the state record with 322 wins against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photos courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Simply The Best
McCarthy sets Connecticut record with 322 wins
By MIKE MADERA
HAMDEN (October 25, 2013) – With Ervin Philips and Duane Gary relegated to the sidelines for the second half of a romp over Hamden, the two seniors had ample time to figure out how they would execute the ice bath for head coach Ed McCarthy.
Well aware McCarthy had one eye on the sidelines and the other on the game, the duo waited until the final seconds ticked away, and, along with the rest of the team, quickly gave McCarthy the victory bath in recognition of a cherished milestone.
After 43 years leading the way on the sideline, including 31 at West Haven, McCarthy has set the Connecticut record for wins by a high school football coach.
With their 49-7 Southern Connecticut Conference Division I win over Hamden Friday evening at Hamden High, the Westies secured McCarthy’s name in the record book with 322 career wins, surpassing the previous mark set by former Ledyard coach Bill Mignault.
“I will reflect back when it is all over and really be proud of what was accomplished,” McCarthy said after picking up his 230th win with the Westies. “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.”
McCarthy, who started his head coaching career at St. Joseph-Trumbull and won 92 games there, had to wait one more week than he would have liked to set the mark. A season-opening loss to Greenwich has put the Westies in a must-win mode and the team again responded Friday evening with its sixth straight victory.
West Haven (6-1), ranked No. 7 in the Register Top 10 poll, scored 29 seconds into the game, then finished with 43 unanswered points to cruise to the win.
“It is fitting he holds the record because no one respects, enjoys or loves high school football more than Eddie,” said McCarthy’s assistant coach of 28 years, Rich Boshea.
“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.”
On a night of a milestone, the Westies were dominant, holding Hamden to 100 total yards while gaining 439. Philips scored three touchdowns and ran for 117 yards on 11 carries, playing just the first half.
“It is great he has the most wins as a coach,” Philips said. “It is a great thing just to be part of it. He has helped me elevate my game. He is a funny guy, a great guy. He is a good person who will help out anyone.”
Philips scored on West Haven’s second play of the game when he raced down the right sideline for a 49-yard score and a 6-0 lead.
Hamden’s only shining moment came when Antonio Collins recovered a West Haven fumble at the West Haven 18 and Hamden scored three plays later on Maliek Williamson’s 5-yard run for a 7-6 lead with 6:09 left in the first quarter.
“They scored that quick one on the second play and that hurt,” Hamden coach Todd Dowty said. “We were able to come back with the touchdown, but they got a couple of quick ones. That was big.
“He (McCarthy) has been a stalwart in Connecticut football for years. He runs a very successful system. He gets players to come out. Eddie does a great job. It is quite an accomplishment to put together that record. My congratulations to him.”
West Haven held Hamden to just 27 yards for the remainder of the first half and took over the game. Anton Graham scored from 17 yards out and Philips followed with a 14-yard score for a 22-7 lead just 51 seconds into the second quarter.
Philips’ third score of the game, an 8-yard run with 6:35 left in the half, increased the margin to 29-7. Gary hit John Brolet with a 28-yard score and Marshont Little ran in from 11 yards our for a 43-7 halftime lead.
Ervin Philips with an 8-yard touchdown run against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
The big lead allowed West Haven to get everyone in the game, including freshman Tim McCarthy, who played the entire second half at quarterback on his father’s record-breaking night.
“It is a well deserved honor,” West Haven athletic director Jon Capone said. “He puts a lot of hard work into breaking everything down. A lot of people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. They only know what happens on Friday night. It is a year round preparation.”
Gary finished with 43 yards rushing and 28 yards passing, Chris Franco had 78 yards on the ground and Little had 55 yards rushing.Hamden, which started the season with two wins but is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, fell to 3-4. Williamson carried 10 times for 73 yards and a score for the Green Dragons.
Tyree Burke (11) blocks a punt against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Tyree Burke scores on a 40-yard run against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Freshman Tim McCarthy (20) played the entire second half on a night his father, Ed McCarthy (r.), sets a Connecticut high school record against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Marshont Little scores from 11 yards out against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Ed McCarthy conducts postgame interview after breaking Connecticut high school record with 322 wins against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Anton Graham with a 17-yard touchdown run against Hamden, October 25, 2013. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
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