WESTFIELD – The Westfield and Plainfield High School football teams met for the 111th time on Thanksgiving afternoon, and the Blue Devils kept its undefeated season alive with a 33-6 victory.
Westfield improved to 11-0 behind touchdowns from Jack Shirk and Kyle Dombroski and a pick-6 from Kyle Shirk with 1:15 left in the game. The Blue Devils hoped to use the Thanksgiving rivalry game against Plainfield as a warm up heading into the NJSIAA North 2 Group V final against Bridgewater-Raritan on Dec. 3.
“It’s great to win this game, you always want to win this one, but we’re looking forward to the next one,” Westfield quarterback Philip Martini said. “I think it’s good to have this game, I’m glad we got the win but I think everyone is looking forward to the state championship, we’re ready for that.”
After a first half in which neither team could generate much offense, Westfield struck with 56 seconds remaining before halftime. On first and goal at the 10-yard line Jack Shirk caught a pass from Martini and Michael Moriarty nailed the kick to put the Blue Devils ahead 7-0.
“Mainly we wanted to get the offense rolling,” Martini said. “We knew the defense was going to stop them, they did a great job. The O-line played great and put the points on the board, it was good. We started off slow, but we got into it.”
Westfield started rolling in the second half. On its first possession after halftime the Blue Devils marched 58 yards on six plays which culminated in Dombroski catching a 7-yard pass from Martini with 10:11 remaining for a 14-0 lead.
With 2:54 remaining in the third quarter Plainfield (2-8) was called for intentional grounding and Jacob Kurstedt scored a safety to give Westfield a 16-0 advantage. At the end of the third quarter the Blue Devils were still marching but on third and 6 from the 10 the pass was incomplete and Westfield settled for a 27-yard field goal from Moriarty for a 19-0 lead.
“We definitely wanted to get the win, we knew they were going to be tough, they’re a good team,” Jack Shirk said. “We just had to come out like we usually do and get the W. It’s a big game and we definitely wanted to win it.”
Matt Varano gave Westfield a 26-0 advantage when on fourth and inches the junior ran for a 25-yard touchdown with 3:55 to play. Plainfield answered back on a 16-yard run by Jason Cisson after a fumble recovery and the two-point conversion failed to cut the lead to 26-6 with 1:27 remaining.
The Cardinals then attempted an onside kick, which they recovered and took over at the Westfield 24. On first and 10 from the 37 Cardinals quarterback Jayson Bryant was picked off by Kyle Shirk and he ran it back for a touchdown with 1:15 remaining for the 33-6 Westfield final.
Martini finished 8 of 11 for 108 yards and two touchdowns. Varano finished with 15 catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. Jack Curry was held to 12 carries for 37 yards.
“Our defense did great, we struggled on offense a little bit in the beginning but we stepped it up in the second half so I think that’s most important,” Shirk said.
Staff Writer Lauren Knego: email@example.com