Best of the West
Westies roll past NDWH 25-8
By MIKE MADERA
(September 9, 2022) - Armani Reid loves his teammates. The feeling is mutual for the first-year Westie.
Behind his long returns on special teams, Reid set the tone of the game early as West Haven rolled to a 25-8 victory over cross-town rival Notre Dame in a Southern Connecticut Conference contest at Veteran’s Field in West Haven Friday evening.
“We knew we had to do what we had to do,” Reid said. “I thought the runs helped with the momentum of the game. We had to get the jitters out. It doesn’t matter who does what. We do it as a team.”
West Haven’s victory secured the Soderman Bowl title for the second straight season, and it was also West Haven’s fourth in five years played as COVID took away the 2020 season.
While all eyes were on the West Haven offense to set the tone, it was the special teams and defense of the Westies which rose to the occasion early on. The play of the two groups set up Nick Conlan and company for 25 first half points.
After West Haven held on downs to start the contest, Reid ‘s long punt return gave the Westies possession at the Notre Dame 20. Six plays later, Deven Robinson ran in off the right edge from 10 yards out for a 6-0 West Haven lead with 6 minutes, 43 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
“We have two great punt returners back there,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said. “That return definitely set the tone of the game. I think our punt return team will be a weapon all year.”
The Westies then held Notre Dame again on its next possession and limited the Green Knights to just 38 yards of offense in the opening quarter.
“I think our secondary did a good job and our defensive line did a pretty good job,” Boshea said. “We put pressure on. We have basically four linebackers back and I think they all did a good job in that first half. (Notre Dame quarterback Matthew) Piechota is a very dangerous quarterback and we kept them in check.”
West Haven mixed its offense in the backfield and took a 12-0 lead on its third possession of the game when a 51-yard drive was capped when Jahzier Massey scored from one yard out with 8:27 left in the opening half.
While the Green Knights were down a pair of scores, they had ample opportunities to get back in the game. A golden opportunity was missed on fourth down when Piechota hit an open receiver for an apparent first down, but the pass could not be handled.
“We stunk in the first half,” Notre Dame coach Joe DeCaprio said. “There are no if and or buts about it. Special teams gave them their first drive. We can’t score. Our offense is the key. I thought our defense, believe it or not, especially in the second half, played well. I’m disappointed in our offensive performance. Six penalties on one drive. We had at least four dropped balls. We made too many mistakes to beat a team like West Haven.”
West Haven needed 10 plays to go 77 yards, capped by a Conlan to Aeden Coe 46-yard scoring strike with 1:12 remaining in the half for a 18-0 advantage.
“Teams aren’t used to West Haven throwing the ball,” Boshea said. “They might have to start getting used to it a little bit.”
With the Westies dominating the half, the Green Knights had another opportunity, but Piechota was intercepted by Avian Evans with 1:06 remaining in the half.
Just 22 seconds later, Conlan, who completed four passes for 89 yards and two scores in the opening half, hit Teriq Mallory for a 13-yard scoring strike and a 25-0 lead following the extra point by Raul Sanchez.
“They were big,” Conlan said of the two late scores. “We knew coming into the game we had to start off early and punch them in the mouth and that is exactly what we did. This is a huge win. We had to come out and show everyone we are not playing around and we are really going for a ring this year.”
Notre Dame was a different team in the second half as it used a safety and a 23-yard scoring strike from Piechota to Matteao Petruzziello to get within 25-8 with 8:09 remaining in the game.
The Green Knights, who out gained West Haven 154 to -1 in yards up to the touchdown, recovered the onside kick and were in striking distance once again. The next score never came to fruition as West Haven held on downs, then ran out the clock.Conlan finished with 105 yards passing and two touchdowns in the win for West Haven. Piechota finished 18-of-32 for 214 yards. He had an interception and also a touchdown pass in the loss.
Westies run past Amity
By MIKE MADERA
(September 16, 2022) - The West Haven football team improved to 2-0 with a dominant 59-14 victory over Amity in the home opener Friday evening at Ken Strong Stadium. The Westies used a balanced attack to cruise to the 45-point victory.
Nick Conlan was 7-of-8 in the air for 111 yards and three touchdowns, while Deven Robinson ran for 107 yards on four carries, Rui DaSilva ran for 70 yards, Jeremiah Francis ran for 59 yards, and Jah’zire Massey ran for 55.
The Westies got going on offense quickly in the contest, taking a 20-7 lead after one quarter. Francis gave the Westies a 7-0 lead with a 35-yard score, before Amity evened the game at seven.
That would be as close as the Spartans would get as West Haven scored the next 19 points to pull away. Robinson scored the first of his three touchdowns on a 38- yard run for a 14-7 lead, and Conlan hit Teriq Mallory for a 31-yard scoring strike and 20-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
When Conlan connected with Demarco Eady for a 54-yard touchdown pass early in the second, the lead was 26-7. Amity’s second touchdown pass of the game brought the Spartans within 26-14, but it was all West Haven after that.
Robinson scored on a 36-yard run, Massey ran in in from 11 yards out, and Conlan threw his third touchdown pass of the game, a 3-yard pass to Robinson right before the half for a 46-14 advantage.
Massey ran in from 10 yards out in the third quarter, and Rui DaSilva ran in from 72 yards out in the fourth for the final points of the game.
Westies top Guilford
WH improves to 3-0 with 47-20 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(September 23, 2022) - The West Haven football team is off to a quick start in the season. While Friday evening started slowly, the Westies rolled to a 47-20 victory over Guilford at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
After failing to get on the scoreboard in the first quarter, West Haven (3-0) took an 18-0 lead in the second quarter, before rolling to a 34-13 lead after three. Deven Robinson and Demarco Eady each scored twice in the victory.
Robinson used a 5-yard run to give West Haven a 6-0 lead, before quarterback Nick Conlan connected with Eady for a 45-yard scoring play and a 12-0 advantage. When Trevor Tompkins ran in from five yards out, the Westies held an 18-0 lead.
Guilford made things interesting with a late touchdown in the second quarter and got within 18-13 on the first score of the third quarter, but the Westies pulled away, scoring the next two touchdowns in the third and going on a 29-0 run.
Robinson’s one-yard run and the two-point conversion from Tompkins put West Haven on top 26-13, before Eady used a 44-yard punt return, coupled with Conlan’s pass to Avyon Graham on the conversion for a 34-13 advantage.
West Haven iced the game to start the fourth quarter when Armani Reid scored on a 38-yard strike from Conlan, before Jah’zire Massey scored on a 34-yard run for a 47-13 lead.
Westies blank Hillhouse
By MIKE MADERA
(October 1, 2022) - The West Haven football team is focused on one game at a time. That mindset has worked well for the Westies.
Behind three touchdowns apiece from Deven Robinson and Jah’zire Massey, and two touchdown passes from Nick Conlan, West Haven rolled to a 54-0 victory over Hillhouse Friday evening at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven. The explosive West Haven offense has now scored 101 points in its last two games.
West Haven (4-0) led 28-0 after one quarter and 48-0 at the half.
Robinson gave the Westies a 7-0 lead when he ran in from one yard out, Armani Reid helped increase the lead to 13-0 when he hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Conlan, and a 13-yard scamper by Robinson increased West Haven’s lead to 20-0. Massey close the first quarter scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run, followed by the conversion run from Trevor Tompkins.
Massey increased the lead to 34-0 with a 5-yard run to start the second quarter, and Conlan’s second touchdown pass, a 30-yard scoring strike to Massey increased the lead to 41-0.When Robinson ran in from 20 yards out, West Haven led 48-0 at the half.
West Haven’s final points came in the fourth quarter when Joey Copela ran in from one yard out.
WH thumps Cross 57-6
By MIKE MADERA
(October 14, 2022) - The West Haven football team improved to 5-0 with a 57-6 drubbing of Wilbur Cross Friday evening in New Haven. The victory sets up Friday evening’s showdown of Top 10 teams when the Westies host Shelton at Ken Strong Stadium.
The Westies saw eight different players score as the team led 21-0 after one quarter and 49-0 at the half to set up running clock in the second half.
West Haven scored three times on the ground in the opening quarter as Jah’zire Massey scored from 14 yards out, Demarco Eady scored from three yards out and Armani Reid scored from 12 yards out.
The Westies put the game away in the second quarter with two rushing touchdowns, a touchdown pass, and an interception for a score.
Jeremiah Francis gave West Haven a 28-0 lead with a 72-yard touchdown run, Teriq Mallory caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from Nick Conlan, and Deven Robinson ran in from one yard out. Avian Evans capped the first half scoring with an 85-yard interception return for a score.
Ethan Holy scored West Haven’s final touchdown with a 22-yard run, before Bryan Tillman ran in the two-point conversion.
Westies top Shelton
WH improves to 6-0
By MIKE MADERA
(October 21, 2022) - Rich Boshea and his West Haven football team have enjoyed the first five weeks of the season. Having outscored opponents by 196 points, the Westies, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCt Top 10 poll, worked to post five wins to open the season.
Boshea was well aware Friday evening’s contest against Shelton was going to be anything but easy. Despite an early cushion, Boshea proved to be right.
Holding off a furious Shelton comeback, West Haven held on for a 34-28 Southern Connecticut Conference victory over the sixth-ranked Gaels in front of a packed house at Ken Strong Stadium in West Haven.
“Shelton is too good of a team,” Boshea said after his team moved to 6-0. “You are not going to beat them by a lot. I was not surprised in any way that they came back. They fight hard. They are too well- coached. They have too many good players. They are never going to go down by a lot.
“We told our team it was going to be a great game and Shelton was going to fight until the end, which they did. Our kids, give them credit. They had to win a big game and now we have won two of them. They never doubted themselves. I am very proud of them.”
Leading by 14 points at the half, West Haven knew the Gaels would come out firing to start the third quarter. While the Gaels did so, West Haven’s Avian Evans recovered a fumble to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Jah’zire Massey for a 28-8 lead with 7:04 remaining in the third quarter.
The recovery by Evans was his second defensive gem in the last two possessions as he returned a Michael Kinik interception 72 yards for a score right before the half.
“Going into this game, I knew it was going to be a dogfight,” Evans said. “I made sure to keep my composure. That pick six right there, I was coming for it. I wanted it so much coming into this game. I told myself this is a statement game. We are here to win. We are here trying to get a ring.”
The Gaels never wavered, scoring the next 13 points and getting within 28-21 to end the third quarter. Kinik, who finished with 300 yards passing and three touchdowns, quickly found Kanye Tinney for a 52-yard scoring strike to get within 28-14.
After holding the Westies on three plays, Kinik hooked up with Ricky Feola for a 54-yard scoring strike to get within seven points with 3:26 left in the third quarter.
“It was just several mistakes we made in the first half,” Shelton coach Mike DeFelice said. “We have them behind the sticks and we get a personal foul to give them the first down. That’s one score we give them there, then obviously the pick six. We knew they had athletes all over the place. We just couldn’t give them opportunities like that.
“I told the kids what do you want to do in the second half? They came out and they fought. I was very proud of them in the second half because they didn’t give up. They started fighting. We went down even more and they rallied back, and we were right there. They are obviously a very good team. I was telling all the (West Haven) kids as I was walking through, go win (Class) LL because I think they can.”
With the Westies facing their first bit of adversity on the season, they quickly regrouped. The defense held Shelton on its next possession with a combined sack by Connor Holy and Kadear Dembele, before West Haven embarked on a 10-play, 51-yard drive which was capped by a 1-yard scoring run by Trevor Tompkins.
The drive saw a big play when the Westies picked up a first down on fourth-and-12 when quarterback Nick Conlan connected with Armani Reid to the Shelton five.
“The one down here to Reid was the biggest play of the game in my opinion,” Boshea said. “Nick did a great job on fourth down. He is the coolest sophomore around. He keeps his head and does great whether it’s first down, third down, or fourth down. It’s all the same to him.”
Kinik and company still would not let the Westies off the hook as he connected with Feola for a 52-yard gain, then hit John DeCamps with a 10-yard scoring strike with less than two minutes to go.
West Haven held on for dear life, recovering the onside kick and running out the clock for its sixth victory of the season.
“Our defense is good,” Demarco Eady said. “I have faith in them. “At the end, we played great defense.”
The first half may have seen 10 West Haven penalties, but it also saw big plays by the Westies. Three separate chunk plays by the Westies gave them a 22-8 lead at the half.
West Haven did not waste time taking an early lead, taking nine plays to move 66 yards for a 6-0 lead on the game’s opening possession.
Conlan, who threw his first two interceptions of the season in the opening half, converted a big third down pass when he hit Eady in stride for a 41-yard touchdown strike just 4:46 into the game.
“That’s my QB,” Eady said of Conlan. “That’s my QB for a long time. He knows where to throw it to and I go get it.”
The Gaels moved down the field on their opening possession only to see Aedan Coe come up with a big interception for West Haven.
Looking to go ahead by a pair of scores, West Haven and Conlan were thwarted when Tinney picked off Conlan’s first pass of the year, setting up Shelton at the West Haven 22.
Five plays and two West Haven penalties later, Shelton was on the board when David Dojlidko scored from two yards out. The Gaels then connected on the two-point conversion for an 8-6 lead.
That was the only lead for the Gaels in the opening half as West Haven answered immediately with a 7-play, 70-yard drive which saw West Haven overcome four penalties on the drive.
Conlan, who threw for 203 yards and three touchdowns, then picked up a bad snap and fired a 23-yard scoring strike to Coe over the middle for a 14-8 lead with 8:49 left in the half.
With both defenses coming up big and making important stops, the first half saw a big change of events in the final minute.
Looking to run out the clock deep in West Haven territory, Shelton switched it up and used a Kinik to Feola connection of 46 yards to the West Haven 48.
Two plays later, the Westies were up by a pair of touchdowns when Evans stepped in front of a Kinik pass and raced 72 yards for the score. Reid ran in the conversion for a 22-8 lead with 12 seconds remaining in the half.
The two teams combined for 723 yards of offense.
WH blanks Sheehan to improve to 7-0
By MIKE MADERA
(October 28, 2022) - The West Haven football team improved to 7-0 with a 52-0 victory over Sheehan Friday evening in Wallingford.
Trevor Tompkins scored twice, Nick Conlan threw a pair of touchdown passes and Avian Evans returned his third interception for a touchdown this season. Conlan’s two touchdown passes tied a school record of 14 in a season.
West Haven took a 16-0 first quarter lead when Tompkins and Deven Robinson sandwiched a safety with touchdown runs of seven and 41 yards.
The Westies put the game away with 21 points in the second quarter. Conlan hit Tompkins with a 6-yard scoring strike, Evans returned an interception 35 yards for a score, and Conlan connected with Teriq Mallory for a 12-yard scoring connection and a 37-0 halftime lead.
Jeremiah Francis ran in from four yards out in the third quarter and Joe Capela capped the scoring with a four-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Westies thump Harding
WH moves to 8-0 with 48-6 victory
By MIKE MADERA
(November 4, 2022) - The West Haven football team improved to 8-0 with a 48-6 victory over Harding in Bridgeport Friday evening. With the victory, the Westies sit in the second spot in Class LL with the upcoming battle against Hamden approaching.
The Westies took control of the game from the start and never looked back. Nick Conlan was 11-of-14 for 138 yards and two touchdown passes, Deven Robinson ran for 55 yards on five carries, Armani Reid scored three times, catching five passes for 50 yards, while Teriq Mallory had four receptions for 74 yards.
Defensively, West Haven had four interceptions, one apiece from Savien Daniley, Javar Smith, Avian Evans, and Terrance Sherard. West Haven outgained Harding 402-79.
West Haven took a 13-0 lead after one quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Conlan to Reid, and a 6-yard touchdown run by Robinson.
The lead increased to 21-0 to start the second quarter when Trevor Tompkins scored from three yards out, and Conlan hit Avyon Graham with the two-point conversion. A 58-yard run by Reid made it 27-0, before Jeremiah Christie-Francis scored from 18 yards out.
The Westies increased the lead and capped the West Haven scoring in the third quarter when Conlan hit Reid with a two-yard score, and Terrance Sherard returned an interception 32 yards for a score and 48-0 lead.
WH SCC Tier 2 champs with wild win over Hamden
By MIKE MADERA
(November 12, 2022) - In a season of highlights, the West Haven football team just keeps adding to them. Pushed to the brink, the Westies continue to respond.
Trailing by three points and with the hopes of an undefeated season quickly slipping away, the Westies responded.
Converting on a pair of fourth downs on the final drive, including the game-winner with 38 seconds to go, West Haven defeated Hamden 27-23 in a classic at Ken Strong Stadium Saturday evening.
The win helped the Westies improve to 9-0 on the year and gave the team the Southern Connecticut Conference Tier 2 title.
Hamden’s Kodjo Gassese connected on a 23-yard field goal with just over three minutes to go to cap a run of 23 straight point by the Green Dragons, before West Haven took over at its own 40 with 2:55 remaining in the game.
After Nick Conlan was sacked twice, the Westies were facing a fourth-and-12 where Conlan hit a sliding Armani Reid for a 13-yard gain. A 27-yard connection to Avian Evans followed before the Westies faced another game-changing situation.
“Being 9-0 feels real good,” Reid said. “The game-winning drive was just calm down and get our emotions together. They were getting sacks, but that is football. You are going to have them. We just knew we had to calm down. We know we have special play-makers in the backfield and on the outside. We did what we had to do.
“Honestly, this is what we do. It was a challenge. We got a challenge and we defeated the challenge.”
Again on fourth down, the Westies delivered. Conlan hit Reid in the far corner of the endzone for the go-ahead score and a West Haven victory.
“I knew Mani (Reid) was going to be out there,” Conlan said. “I trusted him. I knew I was going to throw it up to him and I hoped for the best.”
The game-winning drive was necessary as the Westies failed to hold on to a 20-0 lead and allowed Hamden back in the contest with missed opportunities.
West Haven set the tone of the game early as Demarco Eady returned the opening kick 80 yards for a 7-0 lead.
The Westies then drove to the Hamden 1-yard line on their opening offensive possession, but a fumble prevented the Westies from adding to the margin.
West Haven held and a short punt gave the Westies possession at the Hamden 15, where Deven Robinson ran in for a 14-0 lead with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
The Westies needed just four plays to score on their next possession, going 62 yards in four plays. Conlan hit Aedan Coe for 24 yards, then capped the drive with a 17-yard scoring strike to Eady for a 20-0 advantage with 41 seconds gone by in the second quarter.
That was it for the Westies until the final drive of the game. Hamden held West Haven to just 13 yards of offense the remainder of the quarter and just 60 yards of offense in the third quarter.
While the Hamden defense was doing its part, the offense took over and used a 21-yard connection from Jerard Gibson to Travion Singleton to get within 20-7 at the half.
The Green Dragons made it 20-14 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter on a 2-yard run by Tyshaun Davender, before tying the contest on their next possession when Gibson lofted a 72-yard scoring strike to Singleton with just over eight minutes to play to even the game at 20.The Westies continued to stall on offense, setting up Hamden’s go-ahead field goal, before Conlan and company rallied.
Perfect No More
WH falls to Fairfield Prep
By MIKE MADERA
(November 23, 2022) - Fairfield Prep coach Keith Hellstern has seen his team improve week to week. The Jesuits just may be where they need to be as the postseason approaches.
Known primarily as a running team this season, the Jesuits turned to its passing game, along with a stingy defense, to defeat top-ranked and previously undefeated West Haven 21-6 at Rafferty Stadium in Fairfield Wednesday evening.
The Jesuits (Tier I) took home the battle of the Southern Connecticut Conference Tier Champions with the win over West Haven (Tier 2). West Haven leads the series 17-10.
“We played a really controlled game, which is what we wanted to do,” Hellstern said after his team improved to 7-3. “West Haven is an exceptional team. They have a lot of talent on the field and they are explosive. We had to make sure we had to play to our strengths. We tried to do our very best to limit theirs. The boys put it together. I couldn’t be prouder.”
As press time, the game results tentatively pushed West Haven to the third seed, while the Jesuits were slotted fifth with games remaining on Thanksgiving.
The Jesuits played as perfect a game as possible, particularly in the first half by holding West Haven on downs twice inside the Prep 10. Conversely, Prep’s offense capitalized on its opportunities, taking a 14-0 lead first half lead and never looking back.
Leading 7-0 on a Malachi Mercer-Robinson 4-yard touchdown run 1 minute, 26 seconds into the second quarter, it appeared the Jesuits would take the 7-0 lead to the half.
The Jesuits flipped the script. Tyler Smith hit Timothy Hartnett for 40 yards to the West Haven 30, then two plays later, the duo connected again for a 25-yard score and a 14-0 lead with 41 seconds remaining in the half.
“That 40-yard pass, we were definitely running the ball consistently and that play-action into that throw was definitely a game-changer for us,” Smith said. “They thought we were going to run so that throw, two in a row to Tre (Hartnett), shout out to Tre, great catches, so that was the changer for us.”
The Jesuits continued their stellar effort in the second half, limiting West Haven, which came in averaging 45 points per game, to just 103 yards and a total of 217 in the game.
Fairfield Prep held West Haven to just 83 yards rushing in the game, and held West Haven quarterback Nick Conlan to just 134 yards on 19-of-29 passing.
“Our offensive line and our running backs did some mighty work,” Hellstern said. “They set the tone for us from a physicality stand-point up front for us and on the defensive line. We played really hard and contained a lot of weapons for them.”
Prep iced the game with 1:54 remaining as Mercer-Robinson scored his second touchdown of the game, this one from 24 yards out.
West Haven finally got on the scoreboard after a long kickoff return by Armani Reid set up the Westies at the Prep 30. Three plays later, Conlan hit Reid with a 13-yard scoring strike with 1:02 to go.
“They made all the plays and we didn’t,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said after his team fell to 9-1. “Hats off and credit to them. Prep played great. They made the plays and we didn’t. Prep just played great defense.”
The first half was all about possession and converting opportunities. Fairfield Prep was successful in both.
Holding West Haven twice on fourth down inside the Prep 10-yard line, the Jesuits flipped the script when they had the ball, scoring on drives of 90 and 97 yards.
After the offense watched for most of the opening quarter, Prep’s defense got the offense on the field by forcing an incomplete pass from Conlan on fourth down.
A bruising ground game, sprinkled with a pair of passes, produced the first points of the game when Mercer-Robinson scored from four yards out just 1:26 into the second quarter.
The Westies responded when Conlan ran 13 yards on 4th-and-6 to the Prep 19. Conlan hit Reid to the West Haven six, but the Jesuits forced two straight incompletions to force a turnover on downs.
With West Haven gaining only 114 yards of offense in the opening half, and Prep starting deep in its own territory, it looked as if the game would go to the half a one-score game.
The Jesuits flipped the narrative when Smith connected with Hartnett on a 40-yard pass play to the West Haven 30, before the duo hooked up again for a 25-yard touchdown reception with 41 seconds remaining in the half for a 14-0 Prep lead.
The Jesuits gained 218 yards in the opening half and 363 in the game. Mercer-Robinson ran for 82 yards and two scores, while Wally Wuchiski ran for 76 yards.
WH falls to Glastonbury in LL quarterfinals
By MIKE MADERA
(November 29, 2022) - Glastonbury head coach Eric Hennessy preaches to his team about getting better every day. Hennessy had to like what he saw from his team Tuesday evening.
Piling up 402 yards of offense and using a stifling defense, No. 6 Glastonbury upset No. 3 West Haven 17-7 in the Class LL quarterfinals at Ken Strong Stadium.
“Our defense, Coach (Pate) Ladas has done an amazing job all year getting our kids to get better every week,” Hennessy said after his team held West Haven to 227 yards of offense and improved to 9-2. “We have a mantra in our program, and that is we get one percent better every day. I really think our kids bought into that since day one. We just said we are going to bet better in some way each practice, just one percent better every day. They have continued to do that.”
Glastonbury, making its first postseason appearance since 2015, will travel to play second-seeded Greenwich, a 47-7 winner over Hamden, in the semifinals Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
“It is a great feeling” Glastonbury running back John Petrone said. “Coach always says CC kind of gets under looked and we are trying to bring that back. We want to show everybody the CC is back on top.”
The Guardians rushed for 293 yards on the night with Petrone racking up 138 of those yards. Glastonbury held the ball for all but 1:16 of the fourth quarter in securing the victory.
“That is us,” Hennessy said. “We are old-school. We believe in controlling the clock. We are fortunate to have, who I feel is the best player (Petrone) in Connecticut. He is not blazing fast. He is just a hard runner. He is old-school. He doesn’t leave the field. He plays at an All-State level at linebacker too.”
Leading by a touchdown, the Guardians iced the game when Alexander Hernandez, a former soccer player, easily booted a 36-yard field goal with 5:02 remaining for a 17-7 lead.
The Westies, making their first postseason appearance in five years, had one final opportunity to get closer but quarterback Nick Conlan’s pass on fourth down was knocked away, allowing the Guardians to run out the final 3:40 of the game.
“We just couldn’t get going,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said after his team finished the year at 9-2. “Teams were defending us a little different. We were never really able to establish the run. It is hard to just throw your way all the way down the field like that. We didn’t do enough. Glastonbury’s defense played really well.”
West Haven, ranked fifth in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, only had three possessions in the second half, but had a chance to take the lead on its first possession of the third quarter.
The Westies got to the Glastonbury 33, but the drive stalled, marking the fourth time the Westies were inside the Glastonbury 35 but failed to produce any points.
“I love them,” Boshea said of his team. “These guys have given us everything we have asked for all year. Everyone of these guys is a great kid and a warrior. I expect a lot of good things to happen to them the rest of their lives. You have to take your hats off to Glastonbury.”
The Guardians followed with an 8-play, 85-yard drive, capped with a 20-yard touchdown connection from Jack Anglim to Drew Curto with 2:03 remaining in the third quarter.
The opening half was one of missed opportunities for each team as turnovers and big stops were the name of the game in the opening 24 minutes. In between was a touchdown by each team to send the game to the half even at seven.
The Westies took an early 7-0 lead after an interception by Avian Evans on Glastonbury’s first possession of the game. West Haven needed three runs by Deven Robinson to go 42 yards, the last a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:32 left in the first quarter.
The Guardians wasted no time responding, marching 76 yards in nine plays, capped by an Anglim to Derek Thomas 11-yard touchdown pass to even the game at 7 with 20 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
The rest of the half saw the Westies denied on fourth down at the Glastonbury 23, and fumble at the Glastonbury 21 on their next possession.
The Guardians defense showed it was going to be tough to deal with right from the start as West Haven’s Demarco Eady returned the opening kickoff to the Glastonbury 23. The Guardians allowed only three yards, keeping the Westies off the scoreboard.
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; Byron Dickens '15; Anthony Godfrey '15; Anthony Godfrey '16; Byron Dickens '16; Kyshawn Togba '21
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
West Haven topped Notre Dame - WH, 25-8, Friday, September 9, 2022. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
West Haven topped Notre Dame - WH, 25-8, Friday, September 9, 2022. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Deven Robinson (11) scores as West Haven topped Notre Dame - WH, 25-8, Friday, September 9, 2022. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.
Aeden Coe (3) scores as West Haven topped Notre Dame - WH, 25-8, Friday, September 9, 2022. Photo courtesy of Todd Dandelske.