WESTFIELD, NJ — His leaping one-handed grab of the 24-yard-long pass put the Blue Devils at the opposing team’s 20-yard-line.
Wide receiver Griffin Rooney made the catch in the season opener against Linden Saturday helping the Westfield High School varsity football team to secure a 28-14 win. Rooney is this week’s Ron Bansky and Associates Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week.
“Everyone was just so eager to get back on the field and prove that we were going to have a better year this year,” said Rooney, a 17-year-old senior. “We took shots just liked Coach [Jim] DeSarno asked us to, and it all clicked.”
So how did he make that one-handed grab?
“I don’t really have big hands,” Rooney said. “I was running my route, and the guy was kind of holding on to me. I only had one arm free. So Hank [Shapiro] just kind of put the ball there for me. It just stuck, and I didn’t let it go.”
In sum, Rooney hauled in over 150 yards receiving and also caught a touchdown.
“Griffin has been our most consistent player through the off season,” DeSarno said. “He’s bigger, faster and stronger and it was on display Saturday. He didn’t just make some spectacular catches, he blocked well and returned kicks and punts as well. It was an all-around great effort.”
Rooney has been playing football since third grade, but his athletics extend beyond the football field. Rooney plays basketball, throws the javelin and runs the high jump.
He is applying to colleges and considering study in business or engineering.
“I’m taking an engineering class this year, and I’m also taking a business class this year to see what is the best for me,” Rooney said.
Numbers have been a strong suit for Rooney in the classroom, as well as on the football field.
“I’ve always been good at math. It’s very straightforward,” he said.
The Blue Devils head into competition against Union High School in a home game this coming Saturday. Rooney said he and his teammates have been reviewing footage of the competing team.
“They’re going to be a really tough team to play,” he said. “They have a lot of talent.”
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at firstname.lastname@example.org; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh
The Allstate Westfield Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Ron Bansky & Associates Allstate Agency. Located 502 East Broad St., the agency has been protecting local families and business owners for over 19 years. Call them at 908-301-0711 for a new auto, home or life insurance quote this week and if you mention the Allstate WHS Athlete of the Week they will make a $25 contribution to the Westfield Boosters Association! To learn more, visit ronbansky.com.