By Katie DeMasi
The WHS Blue Devils had a 17-0 victory over rivals SPF at their season home-opener Sept. 10. Despite the opposing team’s efforts to stop Westfield’s momentum, Westfield proved to be the more diligent team, capitalizing on every opportunity.
The first quarter was slow with both teams still assessing each other’s strategies. At the end of the quarter, senior Quarterback Nate Mitchell showed his full capabilities as a new quarterback, faking a throw to pull the SPF safety out of the endzone, allowing Quad-captain John Lanzano to run behind the defense, completing a 20-yard touchdown pass. Senior Placekicker Jon Gribbin made the extra point advancing the score to 7-0.
Seven minutes of the second quarter was taken up by a 43-yard drive by SPF which came to a hault when senior Defensive End Mike LaFace sacked the opposing team’s quarterback on the fourth down.
Westfield moved swiftly with a 57-yard drive in the last two minutes of the first half, with a perfectly executed 18-yard screen pass by Mitchell to Quad-captain James O’Rourke. “The timing was perfect. All our linemen released at the same time, and their linemen came charging at me which left [O’Rourke] wide open,” Mitchell said. The drive was complete when Mitchell connected with Lanzano in the endzone with another 20-yard pass, and Gribbin made the extra point. The score at the half was 14-0 Westfield.
Moving into the third quarter, SPF came close to scoring a touchdown after a 44-yard drive, but that plan was thwarted when Quad-captain Peter Ondi intercepted a pass at Westfield’s 8-yard line on the third down.
The third quarter was slow, with neither team able to get the ball into the endzone. In the fourth quarter, Gribbin kicked an 18-yard field goal, bringing Westfield’s lead to 17-0. SPF was unable to get the momentum going for the rest of the game and remained scoreless, so Westfield could claim their first win, and shut out, of the season.