Oct 14, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Not only is the Westhill football team assured of a piece of a third straight Class B West regular-season championship, it is guaranteed to be at home for the first round of the playoffs.
And for sure, those are nice perks that come with winning. But beating a big-time rival trumps all other considerations, at least for the moment.
Once again, the Warriors asserted its superiority over its neighbors from Solvay in front of a large and raucous Homecoming crowd last Friday night, using all sorts of big plays to zoom past the Bearcats 46-20 for its fourth consecutive win.
All told, in those four straight wins, Westhill has picked up 179 points. It all traces back to when senior quarterback Mike DeCarr returned from the separated left shoulder he suffered during pre-season practices.
Combine DeCarr’s strong arm with talented skill players like Dan Ross, Sam Penizoto and Nate Nigolian, and any defense can be in trouble.
In this case, it was Solvay’s assignment to try and contain this offensive juggernaut — and one way to do so is by forcing turnovers.
One of DeCarr’s initial throws on this night was a bad one — one to the sidelines that Solvay’s Tom Hayes intercepted and returned 80 yards the other way for a touchdown.
Given where Westhill was on the field, the TD could have served as a massive point swing. Instead, all that did was make the Warriors angry.
By the time the first quarter was done, Westhill had a 14-6 edge. DeCarr produced both of them, throwing 25 yards to Ross for one TD, then doing deep and finding Nigolian for a 53-yard scoring play.
DeCarr would complete just seven of 15 passes, but they went for 200 yards, an average of nearly 20 yards per completion. All four of his TD tosses came in the first half, as he would go 15 yards to Ross (his 12th TD of the season), and hit Nigolian on yet another 53-yard scoring strike before halftime.
Always known as a first-rate safety (it’s his third year as a starter), Ross added to the profile by returning a Jonathon Orioli interception 37 yards for at TD in the third quarter. Nigolian would return to electrify the crowd with a 60-yard dash to the end zone in the final period.
Solvay worked to the end, adding to its point total thanks to Oriloi. He ran one yard for a TD, then threw a 25-yard pass to Anthony Liquori in the late going.
Westhill is heavily favored this Friday, where a win over 0-6 Phoenix would secure the outright league title. Solvay, meanwhile, meets another big rival, Marcellus, Friday at 6:30 at Earl Hadley Stadium, with the winner would get the Tom Anthony Memorial Cup, named in honor of the former Solvay and Marcellus coach.