Westies top Staples 33-23
By MIKE MADERA
(September 8, 2023) - Not many people expected the West Haven football team to travel to Westport and come away with a victory over eighth-ranked Staples. The only thing that mattered was the Westies believed.
Behind great special teams play which produced a touchdown, another score by way of an interception, and two touchdown passes from Nick Conlan to Armani Reid, West Haven rallied to top Staples 33-23 in the season opener Friday evening.
Conlan and Reid hooked up early for a 6-0 lead as the conversion failed, but a 19-yard touchdown by Staples gave the home team a 7-6 lead after one quarter.
The Westies had chances to get on the board in the second quarter, but a turnover stalled one drive and a missed field goal stopped another.
Staples went on a 99-yard drive to take a 14-6 advantage, and after a missed West Haven field goal and a stalled Staples drive, DeMarco Eady returned a Staples punt 79 yards to even the game at 14 with 32 seconds left in the first half.
Conlan then used his legs to get the Westies going again in the third quarter as he scampered 82 yards for a 21-14 lead.
With the game even at 21, Conlan and Reid hooked up once again. The 28-yard touchdown reception gave West Haven a 27-21 lead after three quarters.
Aedan Coe then came up with yet another big play for the Westies. With Staples threatening, Coe returned an interception 80 yards to give West Haven a 33-21 lead in the fourth quarter.
West Haven took a late safety as Staples ran out of time to mount a comeback.
Westies run by Law
WH improves to 2-0 with 47-14 win
By MIKE MADERA
(September 14, 2023) - Two games in and the West Haven football team has opened some eyes. After an upset over Staples in the opening week, West Haven returned to the field for its “home” opener at Veterans Field against Jonathan Law Thursday evening.
Scoring on its first possession, West Haven never looked back in a 47-14 victory over Law. With the victory, West Haven improved to 2-0 on the year.
The Westies set the tone from the start as Camren Kemp scored on a 48-yard run for a 7-0 lead. After West Haven held Law, quarterback Nick Conlan connected with Armani Reid for a 41-yard scoring strike and 14-0 advantage with 2:20 remaining in the opening quarter.
West Haven’s defense then took over, scoring for the second straight week. With Law driving, Coryon Harris returned an interception 95 yards for the score and a 21-0 lead.
Law got on the board with just over three minutes to go in the half, but Conlan threw his second touchdown pass of the half, connecting with Demarco Eady on a 47-yard scoring strike for a 28-7 lead with 32 seconds to go in the first half.
Aedan Coe scored on a 7-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for the Westies, capping a 12-play drive with 5:19 left in the quarter.
Coe was at it again just eight seconds into the fourth quarter when his interception return for a score gave the Westies a 41-7 lead.
The Westies then used their special teams to set up their final score as a blocked punt gave the Westies possession at the Law one, before freshman Tyrome Stevenson ran in on the next play with 10:08 left in the contest.
Kemp, Reid lead WH past Ridgefield
By MIKE MADERA
(September 22, 2023) - The West Haven football team is doing its best to avoid letdowns. Facing a winless Ridgefield team, the Westies were well aware of a trap game with Shelton and Hamden on the horizon.
The Westies had no such worries, jumping out to an early lead and rolling to a 42-7 victory over Ridgefield Friday evening at Veterans Field in West Haven.
Camren Kemp and Armani Reid each scored twice, and the West Haven defense allowed just a late second quarter touchdown in another impressive victory.
West Haven needed just two minutes to take a 7-0 lead as Kemp scampered 45 yards for a score just 2:02 into the game. After forcing the Tigers to punt, Reid raced 63 yards on the return for a 14-0 lead just 2:46 later.
Ya’Hinus Mercer increased the lead to 20-0 to start the second quarter, before Reid raced 43 yards for a 28-0 advantage with 7:31 left in the first half.
The Tigers got on the board with a 1-yard touchdown as time expired in the first half, but West Haven quarterback Nick Conlan restored order with a 68-yard touchdown run for a 35-7 advantage.
Kemp closed the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run with 5:29 left in the third quarter.
Westies top Shelton
Conlan, Reid lead WH past Gaels
By MIKE MADERA
(September 29, 2023) - West Haven senior Armani Reid and his teammates wanted to set the tone right from the start when the Westies traveled to play Shelton Friday evening.
Reid and company did exactly that, scoring early and never looking back, as second-ranked West Haven knocked off Shelton, the No. 6 team in the GameTimeCT Top 10 poll, 31-21 in a Southern Connecticut Conference contest at Finn Stadium in Shelton.
West Haven has now defeated a pair of top ten teams on the road, opening the season with a win at Staples.
Reid caught a pair of touchdown passes from Nick Conlan and finished with 109 yards receiving, and he also sealed the game with an interception as Shelton was trying to make a stunning fourth quarter comeback.
The balanced West Haven attack also saw Conlan run for 52 yards and throw for 172 yards and the two scores. Senior Camren Kemp ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns on 31 carries.
“It’s great,” Reid said after his team improved to 4-0. “I know when our receivers have the ball in our hands, our running backs are taking breaks, and when the running back has the ball in his hands, we are taking our breaks.”
That attack helped West Haven jump out to a 10-0 lead, but, despite holding a 34-16 play advantage and a 158-14 advantage in yards in the opening half, West Haven led just 10-7 as Shelton’s defense forced a late second quarter score.
“He always does a great job,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said of Reid. “He is a great player, a great high school player. He is always bragging he is a great corner also besides being a great receiver. His catch over here was absolutely enormous to get us down to the 1-yard line.”
West Haven outgained the Gaels 368-181 in the game, but the Westies had to hold on as Shelton controlled the fourth quarter.
“The kids didn’t give up,” Shelton coach Mike DeFelice said after his team fell to 2-2. “We had a couple bad breaks. The weather obviously was a factor. We had some missed snaps, but they had some missed snaps too. You can’t really put the blame on that. We have to overcome those things. We missed tackles. We missed some blocks. Those aren’t going to cut it against a good team.”
After West Haven was stopped on fourth down to open the fourth quarter, Shelton needed three plays to go 77 yards, capped with a 59-yard touchdown run by David Dojlidko 3:55 in the final quarter to get the Gaels within 24-14.
A mix up on the ensuing kickoff had the Westies start at their own 2-yard line, before punting. The Gaels again struck quickly, needing three plays to get within 24-21 when Dojlidko scored from 27 yards out with 4:44 remaining in the fourth.
“They lined up how we thought they were going to line up and played the defenses we thought they were going to play,” DeFelice said. “It was a few miscues. We had a good thing going and we lose yards. It was little things that compounded going against a good team.”
West Haven recovered the onside kick at its own 47, and after a beautiful catch and run by Reid to the Shelton 3, Kemp capped the scoring drive with a 1-yard run just 56 seconds after Shelton got within striking distance.
“He sees what I see,” Reid said of Conlan. “We talk before the play, after the play. It’s just having the right communication with your quarterback to make huge plays like that.”
The Gaels had one final opportunity, but Reid’s interception with three minutes to go sealed the West Haven victory.
“Shelton is never going to quit,” Boshea said. “They are going to keep fighting and make big plays. Last year, it came down to an onside kick. We’re just never going to beat them by a lot. They are too good to have that happen.”
The stressful fourth quarter for West Haven did not take away from the impressive start by the Westies as they led 24-7 after three quarters.
“Our defense played great all game,” Boshea said. “They (Shelton) are too good. Eventually, they are going to find a way to get it going a little bit. Our defense gave us enough time and they really kept us ahead. Tom Unger really does a great job with scheming and coming up with a defensive strategy.”
West Haven marched on a 16-play, 79-yard drive on its opening possession of the game and took a 7-0 lead when Conlan hit Reid for an 18-yard scoring play. West Haven outgained Shelton 94-5 in the opening quarter and took a 10-0 lead when Raul Sanchez nailed a 28-yard field goal with 8:17 left in the second quarter.
The Westies appeared headed to halftime in control, but a backward pass from Conlan was not covered and Kanye Tinney picked up the loose ball and raced 37 yards for a score with 1:01 remaining in the opening half.
West Haven did not seem fazed, marching 56 yards in 10 plays to start the second half. Conlan hooked up with Reid, who brilliantly remained in bounds along the sideline, and found the endzone for a 17-7 lead 4:42 into the third quarter.
Following a Shelton punt, West Haven needed just six plays to go 61 yards, capped with Kemp’s 9-yard score with 1:57 left in the third quarter.
Dojlidko finished with 144 yards and two scores on 15 carries for the Gaels.
THE HOME OF WEST HAVEN SPORTS
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