Westwood huddled

Offense and defense excel in undefeated Westwood rout of Newton in North Jersey Section 1, Group 2 Semifinals

The Westwood Cardinals (10-0) faced the Newton Braves (7-3) in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 2 Semifinals at Westwood Regional High School in Westwood, New Jersey.

Last Week at Westwood

Westwood, the number one seed, crushed Dumont 41-12 in the quarterfinals the previous week at home. Meanwhile, Newton, the number-four seed, just edged past Lyndhurst in a high-scoring affair of 33–30.

The Cardinals defense forced a quick three-and-out on the Braves' first offensive possession. Westwood had the ball at their 31-yard line following a punt.

Westwood mixed up the running and passing game to advance the ball down the field. Cardinals quarterback Robbie Carcich scampered 31 yards into Braves territory.

On second down at the Newton 24-yard line, Carcich took the snap, then dropped back in the pocket and threaded the needle with a pass down the middle of the seam to wide receiver Tommy Bussanich, who made a spectacular catch while falling into the end zone.

Newton made some noise in their second offensive series of the game. Running back Demarius Posey took a handoff and then rumbled 47 yards to the Westwood 16-yard line.

The Braves offense benefited from an offside call that assessed the Cardinals' defense's ability to progress to the three-yard line. However, four consecutive running plays failed to result in a touchdown as the Westwood defense dug a line in the trenches, resulting in a turnover on downs at the two-yard line.

On first down, Robbie Carcich took the snap, then heaved a pass down the left side of the field as Tommy Bussanich made a tremendous over-the-shoulder catch, broke free from the Newton defensive back, and sprinted into the end zone for the 98-yard touchdown with 21 seconds left in the first quarter.


In the second quarter, the Cardinals' defense made their presence known again with defensive back Sean Morrison knocking the ball out of the Braves' running back Demarius Posey's hands, leading to Aidan Carrazana recovering the fumble at Newton's 35-yard line.

Working with the short field was an advantage for the Westwood offense. David Gaboardi bulldozed his way through on a run to the Braves 14-yard line. Robbie Carcich connected on a pass to wide receiver Joe Klein to set up first and goal at the five-yard line. Running back Aidan Dugan plowed his way into the end zone as the Cardinals' lead swelled to 21-0.

Once again, the Westwood defense controlled the line of scrimmage, forcing another Newton three and out on offense. Despite being back up at their 19-yard line, it presented no problem for the Cardinals' offense as Aidan Dugan ripped off a 29-yard run.

Robbie Carcich connected on a pair of passes combined with Aidan Dugan gaining ten yards on the ground to push inside the red zone. On first down at the Braves' 19-yard line, Carcich took the snap, then rolled out to his left and eventually found a clear running lane as he darted into the end zone to widen the margin to 28-0 with three and a half minutes remaining in the second quarter.

The Westwood defense rose to the occasion on the ensuing Newton offensive possession. The Braves advanced the ball across midfield, but on fourth down, the Cardinals defense stopped Newton short of the first down marker.

Westwood's offense was firing on all cylinders as Robbie Carcich completed a 44-yard pass to Aidan Carrazana that pushed the ball down to the Braves' five-yard line.

On second and goal, Aidan Dugan took the handoff, and with the offensive line opening a gaping hole, Dugan strode into the end zone for the score to expand the lead to 35-0.

When it appeared the Newton offense would run out of time in the first half, they attempted a pass, which backfired immensely as Joe Klein stepped in front of the wide receiver for the interception and motored down to the Braves six-yard line.

On first and goal, Robbie Carcich took the snap and then surged straight ahead into the end zone for the score, thus capping off a sensational first-half offensive performance for the Cardinals and a 42-0 lead at halftime.

Newton spoiled the Westwood bid for a fifth shutout this season, scoring late in the fourth quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matthew Ellsworth to Demarius Posey. The Braves attempted a two-point conversion with running back Thomas Carroll running straight into the end zone, which made the score 42-8, which turned out to be the result.


Follow the Westwood Cardinals' games this season through their schedule.