WESTFIELD, NJ – The Westfield High School varsity football team will bring a 14-game win streak into Saturday’s 1 p.m. contest against Ridge at Gary Kehler Stadium. The streak is the current longest in New Jersey.
Hoboken defeated Verona last weekend, ending a string of 23 straight wins by the Hillbillies and leaving the Blue Devils with the state’s longest win streak.
It all began in the ice and snow and wind and general miserableness of Hub Stine Field, on Thanksgiving morning 2014 when they beat Plainfield 6-0 in overtime. The magical 12-0 season of 2015 followed, although it produced a couple of scares – 10-7 wins over Linden and Bridgewater-Raritan.
The current team opened up last Friday night with a 30-0 victory at Linden.
Ridge won’t be an easy opponent. Coached by former WHS assistant Bill Tracy, the Red Devils have split four previous meetings with WHS. Ridge won in 2008 and 2013; Westfield won 21-14 in 2014 and 37-15 last fall.
Westfield has had some long win streaks in the past.
From 1968-73, the Blue Devils had a 48-game unbeaten streak in football, a state record for almost 20 years.
The streak started a week after a 16-7 loss on Oct. 12 at Berkeley Heights. That winter the basketball season opened on Dec. 13 when Berkeley Heights came to town. Tom Scott pumped in 36 points as WHS won 64-52. Several players in the Highlanders’ lineup had been on the field two months earlier.
Westfield’s rowdy and innovative “section” came up with a chant that night that would prove quite prescient: 16-7 was the score, it won’t happen anymore.” (Repeat verse three or four times as needed.)
The Blue Devils football team, under head coach Gary Kehler and assistants Dick Zimmer and Al Leonzi, won the last six games of the 1968 season.
For almost five full seasons, the football team did not lose another game. Playing teams like Clark, Cranford, Middletown, Montclair, Nutley, Plainfield, Rahway, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Union, they went 46-0-2.
Then, one week after WHS and Nutley battled to a 0-0 tie in a matchup of the state’s No. 1 and 2 teams at the Nutley Oval, mighty Montclair rallied for a 20-15 victory at Woodman Field that ended WHS’s streak after 48 games.
Included in that streak were two ties, but there was also a 36-game winning streak from 1969-73.
Other long football streaks by WHS:
24 (23-0-1), 1975-77.
22 (21-0-1), 1960-62.
21 (18-0-3), 1930-32.
Longest streaks in WHS history:
92 wins, girls cross country (1994-2003)
79 wins, boys cross country (2004 to present; still alive)
74 wins, girls swimming (1984-90)
69 (68 wins, 1 tie), girls swimming (2010-14)
61 wins, boys tennis (2007-08)
59 wins, boys swimming (1957-62)
54 wins, boys track (1969-74)