Blue Devil Football Prepares to Battle Plainfield in Thanksgiving Game
Kickoff at 11 a.m. Thursday at Hub Stine Field in Plainfield.
When this 2010 season began for the Westfield football team it was a wait-and-see proposition at best.
There were talented players returning and one key player decided to come out for the team again, but there was also youth and inexperience.
Westfield takes a more-than-respectable 6-3 record into its annual Thanksgiving morning game against Plainfield (4-5) due to the fact that the Blue Devils learned how to play as a team.
Kickoff for the Mid-State 39 Conference-East A Division game is Thursday at 11 a.m. at Hub Stine Field on Randolph Road in Plainfield.
Westfield leads Union County's oldest holiday series at 54-44-7 and has won the last four, including a 26-6 decision last year at Gary Kehler Stadium.
Plainfield last defeated Westfield in 2005, winning 9-0 at Westfield. The last Cardinals win vs. the Blue Devils at Hub Stine Field was a 40-0 triumph in 2004.
This will be the final game for Westfield seniors Patrick Bergin, Dan Kerr, Ryan Hess, Spencer Goldin, Garrett Pryor, Christopher Mannino, Anthony Mastrocola, Nicholas Matthews, Mitchell Young, Alex Gordon and captains Jesse DeMartino and A.J. Murray. Hess made a great contribution at wide receiver after deciding to come out for football again.
"They overachieved as a group, which is the best way I can put it," fifth-year Westfield head coach Jim DeSarno said.
Westfield produced its fifth consecutive winning season and for the first time the program qualified for the North 2, Group 4 playoffs four years in a row.
"The kids made this season a lot of fun," DeSarno said. "They gave a great effort all year long, even in the games we lost. That rubs off on the younger kids."
Westfield and Plainfield will both seek to snap two-game losing streaks. Each squad last played in a sectional quarterfinal, with Westfield falling at Hunterdon Central 21-7 Nov. 12 in North 2, Group 4 and Plainfield falling at Morristown 31-7 Nov. 13 in North 2, Group 3.
Plainfield was situated in North 2, Group 3 for the first time this year and reached the state playoffs for the first time since 2008.
The Cardinals have made great strides under first-year head coach Bill Nyers, who was previously a successful head coach at Woodbridge and then an assistant at Union and Kean University.
Plainfield has a capable quarterback in junior Diijon Allen-Jordan and speedy senior running backs in Dawud Hicks and Delano Mullings.
"They're very athletic, with a good group of backs," DeSarno said. "They have a couple of kids that run the ball well and the quarterback finds open receivers."
Plainfield bounced back from a very tough 56-0 loss at Phillispburg on Opening Night to win four of its next six and qualify for the playoffs in a section that included only seven teams.
"They seem to be getting better and better at running their offense every week," DeSarno said. "They have a defensive tackle who is one of the better kids I've seen this year and Hicks, the wrestler, is a very good linebacker."
The lineman DeSarno is talking about is senior captain Tiaquan Womack (6-0, 270).
NOTES: A call was put in to Watchung Hills Athletic Director Nick Serritella as far as trying to find out how the division championships in the Mid-State 39 Conference would be determined in case of a tie.
Serritella is in charge of putting the conference's schedule together.
In the East A Division, Immaculata leads at 5-1, while Linden and Westfield are tied for second at 4-1. If both Linden and Westfield win on the road Thursday – Linden is at Union – there would be a three-way tie at 5-1.
If that's the case, then there could be tri-champs, which is something Serritella has to confirm once he is reached.
If Westfield wins and Linden loses, then Immaculata and Westfield would both be 5-1, with Immaculata having defeated Westfield.
If Linden wins and Westfield loses, then Immaculata and Linden would both be 5-1, with Linden having defeated Immaculata.
In the West A Division, Hunterdon Central and Phillipsburg finished 6-1, with Hunterdon Central defeating Phillipsburg.
Here's a look at scores of the last five Westfield-Plainfield games:
2009: Westfield 26, Plainfield 6 – at Westfield
2008: Westfield 21, Plainfield 19 – at Plainfield
2007: Westfield 28, Plainfield 27 – at Westfield
2006: Westfield 17, Plainfield 7 – at Plainfield
2005: Plainfield 9, Westfield 0 – at Westfield
Westfield leads the series 54-44-7.
WESTFIELD BLUE DEVILS (6-3)
(A) Westfield 28, Scotch Plains 0
(H) Bridgewater-Raritan 19, Westfield 13
(H) Westfield 35, Watchung Hills 14
(H) Westfield 30, Elizabeth 20
(A) Westfield 17, Union 7
(A) Westfield 44, Rahway 13
(H) Westfield 30, Linden 24 (2OT)
(A) Immaculata 21, Westfield 7
(A) Hunterdon Central 21, Westfield 7
Nov. 25 at Plainfield, 11 a.m.
Head coach: Jim DeSarno
Section: North 2, Group 4
Regular season: 6-2
Mid-State 39-East A Division: 4-1
Points for: 211
Points against: 139
PLAINFIELD CARDINALS (4-5)
(A) Phillipsburg 56, Plainfield 0
(A) Plainfield 7, Somerville 0
(H) Plainfield 14, Union 7
(A) Elizabeth 28, Plainfield 13
(A) Plainfield 20, Montgomery 6
(H) Immaculata 40, Plainfield 13
(H) Plainfield 31, Watchung Hills 6
(A) Linden 21, Plainfield 18
(A) Morristown 31, Plainfield 7
Nov. 25 Westfield, 11 a.m.
Head coach: Bill Nyers
Section: North 2, Group 3
Regular season: 4-4
Mid-State 39-East A Division: 2-3
Points for: 123
Points against: 195