|By Angela Watts
The thousands of Westfield fans clad in a mixture of black T-shirts and black body-paint exploded in thunderous applause with less than two minutes remaining in No. 1 Westfield’s battle with No. 2 Chantilly Thursday night at Westfield.
It wasn’t just the touchdown that sent the Bulldogs’ home crowd into a frenzy on what the school designated as “Blackout Thursday” — it was the way it was scored.
Westfield (4-0) was already leading by five points when standout senior quarterback Mike Glennon, who has committed to N.C. State, darted around left end for a 24-yard touchdown run and what proved the final wrappings on a 28-16 victory over its biggest rival.
“When Coach [Tom] Verbanic called it he just told me to make the
play happen,” said Glennon, who finished the night with 174 yards
passing, 50 yards rushing and three touchdowns and was cheered like a rock
star as he left the field, fans swarming long after the game had ended
to congratulate him. “And, I mean, it was just a great feeling because
no one really gives me credit for my running ability, but I think I’m
starting to open some eyes in the region.”
So, too, is the entire Bulldog team.
After giving up a 64-yard touchdown run to Chantilly senior quarterback Austin Decker on
the Chargers’ first play from scrimmage, Westfield’s defense clamped
|Westfield’s students celebrate the Bulldogs’ 28-16 win over rival Chantilly.
|The Bulldogs yielded only two other big plays on the night — a
42-yard run by Chantilly junior tailback Torrian Pace and a 36-yard reception by senior tight end Jacob Barron, each of which brought a huge ovation from the Chargers’ crowd, which countered their hosts with an all white T-shirt theme.
But minus the three large pick-ups, the Bulldogs otherwise kept the Chargers’ offense in check, holding them to only 167 more yards. Decker accounted for most of them, rushing for 109 yards, on 11 carries and completing 7-of-17 passes for 99 yards.
“We wanted to come out strong, but obviously that first play didn’t work out too well for us,” said Westfield senior linebacker Cole Campbell. “But we came back strong and fought all game. The coaches had told us all week that they were going to score; they’re a great offense. But we kept our heads up and kept trucking.”
The Bulldogs countered Decker’s long touchdown run with a well-balanced, 16-play scoring drive of their own that was capped by a 1-yard pass from Glennon to senior wide receiver David Kruchko. It was that kind of long, time-consuming drive that proved the difference in the game.
Chantilly (3-1) scored on its first possession of the second quarter to
reclaim the lead at 13-7 on that 42-yard run by Pace, but Westfield
came right back with an 11-play, 77-yard scoring drive that put it
ahead, 14-13, at half time.
That Bulldogs drive, which was highlighted by a
1-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to senior wide receiver Johnny Pickett,
was prolonged by a 15-yard roughing the passer call on 3rd-and-10 from
the 11 yard line that otherwise would have forced Westfield attempt a field
The two teams combined for 17 total penalties on the night.
“We made too many mistakes,” Chantilly Coach Michael Lalli
said. “We had way too many penalties, and we didn’t do a very good job
of stopping their running game. Which, if you can’t stop their running
game … you’re in trouble. Their passing game is obviously very
Chantilly senior Torrian Pace fights off a Westfield defender.
didn’t perform as well as we could have, but it’s just one game. We’ve
still got six more and we’re in a good situation to be able to make the
playoffs, and that’s what you have to strive for at this point.”
Westfield’s first possession of the second half ran a full 8 minutes, 17 seconds off the game-clock. The 17-play drive was dominated by the Bulldogs’ offensive line, and culminated in what proved the game-winning, 12-yard scoring run by tailback Brian Kennedy. The senior speedster finished with a team-high 106 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Blocking up front for Westfield was the combination of senior tight ends Ross Lavin and Billy Samson, junior guards Tyler Delph and Tyler Barfield, senior center Kevin Stewart, senior tackles Greg Bush and Charlie Hutchison and junior tackle Jacob Ryder.
“We knew in order to win that we needed to run the ball,” said Pickett, who finished with a game-high nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. “Everybody thinks we’re a passing team, but we’re really a running team, too.”
After Chantilly junior Scott Puschell booted a 25-yard field goal, Westfield closed out the night with Glennon’s long scoring run.
they scored on their first play I knew it was going to be a long
night,” said Kennedy, who is also a sensational linebacker for the
Bulldogs. “But our defense stepped it up and came together, and our
offense really got rolling.
“This just feels great. I’m glad I
could be a part of this here at Westfield. We have big crowds and we
play in big games. That’s who we are and what we do.”
Westfield’s students lined up behind the fence after Glennon’s
touchdown run and appeared primed to storm the field, but school
officials kept them at bay. Still, their presence — Westfield Director
of Student Activities Francis Dall estimated the crowd neared 8,000 —
was both noticed and appreciated.
|Westfield senior Brian Kennedy ran for 106 yards against Chantilly.
“We had great support by the fans,” Campbell said. “They were a big part of this win. I’m going to congratulate them all weekend, too.”
To see a complete photo gallery from Thursday’s game taken by professional
photographer Jesse Neider, go to