Westfield 31 St. Joe’s (Metuchen) 20
Westfield improved as the game progressed and won their opening game, 31-20 over St. Joe’s (Metuchen). They won the battle up front on both sides of the ball by running the ball on offense and the defense pressuring St. Joe’s quarterback Christian Solino.
First Quarter: On the game’s first play. St. Joe’s quarterback Solino found Lucas Mannello for 50 yards to the 23-yard line and two plays later, the two connected again for 13 yards. A draw by Solino gave the Falcons first-and-goal on the one and he scored two plays later. Jeremy DeCaro intercepted at midfield setting up St. Joe’s with good field position, but were forced to punt. Their next possession resulted in an interception on a tipped pass by Senu Glasco, who was on the ground at the St. Joe’s 39. Westfield advanced to the 17, but their fourth down pass was just beyond the receiver in the end zone.
Second Quarter: Westfield was awarded possession on a ruling I am not clear on. Nonetheless, they had the ball on the St. Joe’s 31. They ended up on the board when Aidan Scheper kicked a 25-yard field goal. Westfield’s next possession put them in front when Daniel Hanlon recovered a shotgun snap on the 31 of St. Joe’s and went in front on a 7-yard run by Justin Colby. Westfield had another opportunity when Owen Shakal recovered a fumble on a pass reception on the 38 of St. Joe’s. Once again, Colby scored on an 11-yard run to make it 17-7 with just under two minutes left in the half. Just when St. Joe’s was losing momentum, they put together a drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown through a pile in the middle by Omari Jones with 29 seconds left in the half, a drive when Colino was 5-for-5 passing.
Third Quarter: Nobody scored in this quarter with Westfield having one drive that ended with a missed field goal attempt. The Blue Devils
Fourth Quarter: St. Joe’s took the lead when Jojo Huntley went 50 yards with a recovered fumble. Their lead did not last long after Westfield went on an 89-yard drive that ended when Trey Brown found a wide open Trey Constantinou for a 28-yard score and made it 24-20 with 6:35 left. Glasco had his second interception that was returned 53 yards to the 2-yard line and Dylan Wragg scored on the following play with 3:20 left. Tyler Sontz intercepted for Westfield and his return to the 11 was 64 yards. Wragg fumbled two plays later and St. Joe’s recovered on the four, but they ran out of time on their ensuing drive.
Summary: It was an inexperienced Westfield that improved as the game progressed. The Blue Devils only played two games last year and even the experienced players didn’t gain much experience last year. The offensive line of left tackle Brandon Love, left guard Jonathan Giglio, center Duke Edmondson, right guard Nick Mase, and right tackles Jack Price and Max Romano paved the way on the ground for Colby gaining 100 yards on 20 carries and Wragg gaining 35. The defensive pass rush kept the pressure on the quarterback.
The Blue Devils won the turnover battle with three interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and being awarded the ball on that call I am not clear on. St. Joe’s recovered a fumble directly into a touchdown and forced two other turnovers, but they were on the minus side of the turnover and it is tough to win that way.
St. Joe’s also ran in punt formations on two occasions twice in the second half and failed both times, giving Westfield the ball at midfield. Again, it is tough to win when you cannot convert those plays, ones I thought were risky.