WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield varsity football team took the field for the first time since becoming the owners of the state’s highest win streak as they took on the Ridge Red Devils on Saturday afternoon. After getting off to a hot start, the Blue Devils made sure the streak stayed alive.
“I feel good,” Westfield head coach Jim DeSarno said. “That’s a really good team. They’re going to win a lot of games this year. The way they play the game they really put you in a lot of different conflicts, and our guys dealt with it really well.”
With 4:21 left in the first quarter, Westfield was already up 21-0 and the game look destined to be a blow out. Big offensive plays were the catalyst for this, as senior wide receiver Michael Moriarty snagged two 40+ yard touchdowns from senior quarterback Phil Martini. Senior running back Ishmael Glasco followed them up with an 80 yard touchdown run of his own off a pitch.
“The both of them have made big plays the last weeks, and they’re seniors and that’s what they’re supposed to do,” DeSarno said. “So I’m not surprised and I’m glad.”
In the third quarter, it was senior wide receiver Jack Shirk who made the big play for the Blue Devils, coming up with a 72 yard receiving touchdown from Martini and extending Westfield’s lead to 28- 7.
“That’s the best feeling when you see them open downfield, no one’s in your way and you can step up and air it downfield, so it went well,” Martini said.
Ridge didn’t back down. Good drives from senior quarterback Aiden Murphy resulted in two quick Red Devil scores to bring the game to 28-21 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
But just as Ridge was putting another drive together, junior cornerback Adam McDaniel grabbed an interception which lead to a 29 yard rushing touchdown by Glasco to make the game 35-21 with 6:07 left in the game.
“I think the team did great as a whole,” Glasco said. “[Ridge] played tough but the o-line pushed them back and I got my yards. Phil did a great job, him and Mike and Shirk also, so we just did a great job with the offense and defense.”
Glasco helped out on the other side of the ball on Ridge’s next possession, grabbing an interception and helping the Blue Devils hold on to win.
“We feel good about the effort we gave and the comeback that we made so those are good things to build off,” Ridge head coach Bill Tracy said. “We have to get off to better starts. We have not gotten off to a good start yet in any of our games or scrimmages so we have to do better with that.”
The game was played in front of a booming Westfield fan section as well as many Ridge students who charted their own bus to the game, according to Tracy. The fan sections were tense at times, including a brief scuffle after a heated exchange during halftime when some Ridge fans rushed the Westfield student section.
Going forward, the Blue Devils are hopeful they can continue their streak.
“I’m really excited about the whole team because everyone did their job,” Martini said. “On defense especially, our d-line was giving pressure, stopping the run, which started it. Then the receivers were getting open, the o-line was getting pushes on the run and the same with passing. They were giving me a lot of time and the receivers made it easy because they were so wide open.”
Westfield (2-0) will host Franklin at home next Saturday at 1 p.m. Ridge (1-1) will travel to Linden to play under the lights Friday at 7 p.m.
Eric Storms is a student at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.