Kyle Teel’s two touchdown runs of 71 and 80 yards on Mahwah’s only two plays of the third quarter propelled Mahwah to a 28-20 win over Westwood.
First Quarter: Mahwah’s opening drive was cut short when Sean Pampin intercepted on his 28 and returned it 13 yards. Colby Laughton ran 44 yards to the 15 and Ian Borgersen scored on the next play with a keeper and Westwood was up, 7-0. Mahwah came right back on the following drive when Teel connected with Scott Tremblay for a 13-yard touchdown with 58 seconds left in the quarter to tie the game. Tremblay caught a pass for a first down two plays earlier to the 29, followed by a 16-yard run by Teel.
Second Quarter: Mahwah had a drive past the 50-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs. Westwood’s ensuing drive ended with a blocked punt that gave Mahwah the ball on the Westwood 48. The Thunderbirds took advantage with a 25-yard Teel touchdown pass to Nick Peltekian with 28 seconds left in the half.
Third Quarter: Westwood entered the third quarter with the ball and drove down the field, resulting in a 12-yard Borgersen-to-Kevin Ranoff touchdown pass, more than five minutes in. As soon as Westwood, tied the game, Mahwah regained the lead with a 71-yard touchdown run by Teel. After a Westwood punt, Teel did it again: this time an 80-yard score late in the quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Westwood wasn’t going to quit. They drove past the 50, but turned it over on downs. On their next series, they lined up to punt on fourth down, but Pampin passed to Silvio Piccinich for 29 yards to their 47 and a first down. Borgersen later found his brother, Will Borgersen, for 32 yards to the 1, just short of the goal line. Two plays alter, Will Borgersen sneaked in for the 1-yard touchdown, but the extra-point snap sailed past the kicker and holder, leaving it, 28-20 with just under two minutes to play. Westwood’s onside kick attempt was recovered by the Cardinals and ruled that way, initially. But the call was overturned when another official saw it as being recovered just before clearing 10 yards. Mahwah tried running out the clock, but was forced to punt, giving Westwood one last chance with 1:06 left and their chance was cut short when Peltekian intercepted.
Summary: Teel was the difference in the game with his two long touchdowns, 229 yards rushing, and two touchdown passes. He is another of those players who does not get the attention that similar players receive. In addition to the two long touchdown runs, his touchdown pass to Peltekian just before the half was big. With no clear favorite in either North Jersey Group 2 section, Teel’s presence gives Mahwah as good a chance as anyone.
Westwood gave an inspired performance and showed resilience after being down, 28-14. They have good, hard-working players, but Teel was the best player on the field and what Westwood did was not enough to overcome that.
On a down note, the officiating was very bad in the last two minutes. Just before Westwood’s last touchdown, they let over ten seconds run off the clock when it should have stopped. Even a member of the Mahwah chain crew admitted it to me. The Westwood coaches knew it and put up an argument, but to no avail. Then the ruling on the onside kick was a terrible call. I was close enough to the play to see that it cleared ten yards and the initial ruling confirmed that. Whatever possessed another official to reverse the call was a disgrace. Westwood eventually had the ball, with Mahwah intercepting, but the two actions by the officiating crew were terrible at that point of the game.