Top-ranked Westfield scored touchdowns on its first four possessions and cruised to a 42-14 victory over Harrison in the Class 5A, Sectional 11 opener at Rickard Field Friday night.
Westfield (9-1) hosts McCutcheon next week for the sectional championship. Harrison finishes its season 0-10.
The Raiders seemed to be fighting from behind from the opening whistle. The Shamrocks marched 73 yards on their opening drive for a touchdown to set the tone.
Nick Ferrer, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 242 yards — all in the first half — threw his first of four touchdown passes less than three minutes into the game, a 28-yarder to Nick Henderson. Ferrer’s first eight completions went to different receivers, and 10 receivers caught passes for the Shamrocks in the game.
“He had a lot of time to throw the ball, and they have some excellent receivers,” Harrison coach Tony Martin said. “When you give someone like him that kind of time to wait for guys to come open, it makes it hard on you.”
Westfield didn’t get any short-field touchdown possessions, either, scoring on drives of 72 and 71 yards the next two times it had the ball. Ferrer threw two touchdowns to Devin Reece — 45 and 28 yards — and then threw a back-breaking 50-yard touchdown to Milo Beam with 50.4 seconds left before halftime to give the Shamrocks a 42-7 lead.
When Ferrer wasn’t connecting through the air, tailback Elvin Caldwell was doing the job on the ground, rushing for 106 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns in the first half.
Westfield coach Jack Gilbert said his team ignored Harrison’s record throughout its preparation and believed it had to play one of its best games to win.
“We have a lot of respect for those guys,” Gilbert said. “Looking at them on film, they’ve improved a lot, and it’s not like we’ve been a great team for years and years. We’re a pretty humble group. No part of us was thinking this was an easy week. We wanted and needed to come in here and play well and hope that would be good enough for the win.”
Harrison showed flashes of big-play potential when Arrione Cook raced 66 yards with a Jake Lasky pass in the second quarter to put the Raiders in scoring position for the first time. Lasky scored on a 5-yard run three plays later.
On Harrison’s best drive of the night, when the Raiders went 72 yards in the fourth quarter, wingback Jeep Morehouse turned a reverse into a 23-yard touchdown run.
“I’m proud of this team, because they are good kids,” Martin said. “They could have quit a long time ago and they didn’t. They are high-character kids and we’ll have a lot of juniors and seniors (next year) who played a lot as sophomores and juniors. We’ll be in a new league with new opportunities.”