by Tom Malley
Despite their best efforts, the Blue Devils football season came to an end when they lost their annual Thanksgiving Day game against Plainfield, 22-21.
The Blue Devils came out hot, stringing together a 6-play drive moving the ball 61 yards capped by a 9-yard touchdown reception by senior wide receiver Pete Ondi. However, Plainfield responded with a 41-yard rush to the Westfield 29-yard line which eventually led to a touchdown and two-point conversion, the difference in the game.
The next Blue Devil drive was once again successful and also memorable, as senior running back James O’Rourke and senior quarterback Nate Mitchell broke school records for most carries and passing yards in a season, respectively.
The drive ended with a touchdown run by O’Rourke, giving Westfield a 14-8 lead as time expired in the first quarter.
"It means a lot to me that I now hold those records," said O’Rourke. "I have to give credit to my teammates though, because without them I wouldn’t have had a chance to do this."
Plainfield started with the ball in the second quarter, but the tenacious Blue Devil defense led by senior Mike LaFace held the potent Plainfield offense at bay.
With 3:18 left in the half, the Blue Devil offense built on its lead as O’Rourke ran 64 yards into the end zone. The momentum quickly turned a minute later as Plainfield responded with a touchdown. The score was 21-15 at the half.
Westfield started with the ball, but after Mitchell was intercepted, Plainfield began marching toward a score. O’Rourke abruptly ended Plainfield’s drive with a record-breaking interception in the back of the end zone.
The interception was the beginning of a long Westfield drive that ended in a failed attempt at a fourth down conversion on the Plainfield one-yard line. This resulted in Plainfield driving 99 yards for a touchdown with 9:31 left in the fourth quarter, giving them a 22-21 lead.
With time winding down, senior kicker Jon Gribbin faked a punt, and Plainfield was whistled for roughing the kicker, but on Westfield’s final attempt, they failed to convert, giving Plainfield the ball and the win.
Head Coach James DeSarno said, "I’m very happy with this season; this team overcame a lot of injuries, many first year starters stepped up and made huge contributions, and I loved how the team came together as the season went on."
The Blue Devils concluded its season at 7-3.