SPARTA, NJ -- The West Essex football team scored five touchdowns in the first half and built a 21-point lead on its way to a 48-28 victory over top-seeded Sparta in the semifinal round of the Section 2, Group 3 playoffs Friday night.

Nicholas Ciaglia ran for two touchdowns and passed for one for the fourth-seeded Knights (9-2), who had a 35-14 halftime lead.

West Essex took a 7-0 lead on a 16-yard TD run by Ryan Coyle and the first of six extra points by Tyler Logan. After Sparta tied the game, 7-7, the Knights went ahead, 14-7, on Joe Visaggio's 2-yard TD run. Sparta answered with another tying TD, but then the Knights started to pull away.

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Chris Bell went in from the 1, Ciaglia connected with Chris Corbo on a 17-yard scoring pass and then Ciaglia scored a TD on a 3-yard keeper to give West Essex a 35-14 lead going into the half.

Sparta (9-2) never got closer than within two TDs of West Essex in the second half. Ciaglia had another 1-yard TD run and Bell a 6-yard TD run in the second half.

West Essex will play at Parsippany Hills in the sectional championship game next Friday. Par Hills was a 24-14 winner over River Dell Friday night.