Westfield Beats Bridgewater-Raritan For Third Straight State Title
For third straight season, the Blue Devils defeated the Panthers in state finals.
It was a sea of blue as Westfield High School got the ball back with just about 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter of Thursday Night’s NJSIAA North II Group V Championship game. Metlife Stadium was the backdrop as the Blue Devils added their third straight title after 20-7 win over the Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers. It was a close game for much of the 48 minutes with a defensive score to seal the deal for Westfield.
The Championship game between these two teams looked to be close through most of the 48 minutes. The field was already painted in Jets green when Bridgewater-Raritan won the coin toss and elected to kick-off first. In the first set of down Westfield was forced to punt after sacking quarterback Hank Shapiro. The rest of the first quarter played out in similar fashion until it was closing in on the end. After getting called for delay of game Bridgewater-Raritan’s quarterback Greg Verano was almost picked off as he tried to air it out downfield. After Westfield gained possession from the Panthers punt they were able to convert a huge 4th down at the end of the quarter to start the 2nd on 13.
To start the second, Westfield was called for delay of the game pushing them back from the end zone. However, running back Time Alliegro found a hole and ran it in to give Westfield a 7-0 lead after the extra point was good. While Bridgewater-Raritan was able to control the ball and push to mid-field after getting the ball back they turned it over to Westfield on downs. Westfield capitalized on this when Shapiro connected with Griffin Rooney to put them on the 14. A holding call pushed them back to the 19 and on the 3rd down Shapiro was able to throw to Payton Schlewitt and get them to the 1. Westfield was able to score and bring their lead to 14-0.
Bridgewater-Raritan was fueled by being down by two scores when the offense returned to the field. They pushed and made it to the 18 with just over a minute to go in the half. With 40 seconds left Anthony Goffe was able to find the end zone and get Bridgewater-Raritan within one touchdown.
The third quarter was rough. Both defenses grinded the opposing offenses. So much so that no team was able to score. Leaving the score 14-7 going into the 4th quarter.
Bridgewater-Raritan was fired up in the 4th. Down by only seven, they played hard. With 4:41 left in the first they were called for a false start on 4th down. Westfield though does not capitalize as they are called for intentional grounding at shortly after. Bridgewater-Raritan was threating to tie the game with 1:45 left it looked like it was all over when Westfield intercepted the ball. The turnover was negated though as they were called for holding give the Panthers hope. However soon after a sack on Verano lead to a defensive touchdown by Westfield putting them up 20-7. The extra point was no good.
Bridgewater-Raritan had 1:27 left on the clock to try and score. It was to no avail. Westfield got the ball back with just about 30 seconds left in the 4th on downs. The Blue Devils fans erupted with cheers and gave Westfield their third straight title.