WESTFIELD, NJ – Scoring early and often, the Westfield High School varsity football team won in the first round of the NJSIAA Section 2, Group 5 State Tournament Saturday with a blowout victory over Bayonne, 48-0. The Blue Devils’ state-best winning streak now stands at 22 games.
Less than three minutes into the game, Westfield's Drew Ortiz recovered a Bayonne fumble after Westfield elected to kick off and took it inside the 5-yard line, leading to Jake Vall-Llobera’s 5-yard touchdown run less than a minute later.
The Blue Devils never looked back, as Vall-Llobera struck again with another touchdown run six minutes later. The explosive first quarter ended for Westfield when Jake Dayton returned a blocked punt to the end zone.
Westfield started out the second quarter the same way, why Juandre House found the end zone on a 53-yard touchdown run. House, a junior, was playing in one of his first games of the season.
“It was great. First, coming back off the collarbone was great. I had to give all my runs to the line, and everything went well,” House said.
Westfield added one more score in the first half, when quarterback Philip Martini fired an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jack Shirk late in the second quarter.
“The offense was just really efficient in the first half,” Westfield head coach Jim DeSarno said. “We did a great job up-front blocking, Phil made the plays when he needed to, and I thought Juandre really stepped up.”
Westfield’s defense held Bayonne to minimal yards on offense, shutting them out in the process.
“The defense was just doing what they’ve been doing all year — stopping the run and making it hard for the quarterback and team to get in any rhythm. They were really disruptive,” DeSarno said.
Jake Kaplan added to the score in the third quarter, when he re-opened the Blue Devil scoring onslaught with a 1-yard touchdown run three minutes in. Anthony Di Bella ran for a three-yard touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter to give Westfield its final score on a very successful afternoon.
The Blue Devils experienced a scare in the first quarter, when Mike Moriarty, who has 307 receiving yards this season, left the game with an apparent leg injury.
“We’re more than a little concerned,” coach DeSarno said. “He’s going to visit the doctor Monday and we’ll see what the extent of it is.”
Quarterback Philip Martini ended the afternoon completing eight of 11 passes for 103 total yards.
“Phil is a great quarterback, great guy,” House said. “He controls the offense – the whole offense. He’s so good at quarterback, even from the running-back perspective.”
The Blue Devils advance to the semifinal round of the North 2, Group 5 tournament, when they will host Union. Union defeated Ridge, 41-34, in a wild game Friday night. A win for the Blue Devils in that game would give them a chance to defend their 2015-16 State Championship at MetLife Stadium.