Westwood responds with win against Mahwah by Sean Farrell of The Record
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – The warning from coach Dennis Hard was clear.
Win the next game or risk a season without playoffs.
Westwood took his message to heart and left nothing to chance with a 20-6 victory over Mahwah on Friday night.
Christian Maiz, Anthony Corrubia and Tyler Giordano all scored on touchdown runs as the Cardinals moved to 4-2.
Giordano led the way with 14 carries for 151 yards for the Cardinals, who were coming off a bye and lost the week before to Lakeland.
“This was a big game,” Cardinal senior Steve Riedel said. “This game right here was going to determine which way our season took, whether it went on a positive path or a negative path.”
Story continues below the photo gallery
What it means
Westwood moved into second place in the American Red and upped its postseason stock with two games to go. After a blowout loss to the division-leading Lancers, the Cardinals regrouped on their off-week and made crucial tweaks on the defensive side.
“The bye week was just about doing your job,” said Maiz, a team captain.
“Two weeks ago, we had a little misalignment. Kids were getting a little crazy in their head. When things weren’t going the right way, we weren’t acting the way we should have. The past two weeks, we’ve had great practices and focused on doing your 1/11th and doing what you’re supposed to do each play.”
Westwood took control after halftime with a fumble recovery on the first drive. The Cardinal offense marched down the field on the ensuing possession with a 12-play, 74-yard drive, capped off by Corrubia’s run. The turnover helped Westwood go up 14-3 and denied Mahwah a chance to take the lead.
By the numbers
►Westwood locked it down after intermission by only giving up 34 passing yards. Defensive tackles Tyler Myack and Benny Dahdah helped matters with second-half sacks for the Cardinals.
►This was the second straight win for Westwood over its Group 2 rival. The Thunderbirds own a 7-4 series lead, including a victory at MetLife Stadium in the 2016 state finals.
The Westwood defense was the X-factor throughout the night. The Cardinals held Mahwah to fewer than 200 yards of total offense and kept quarterback Kyle Teel well below a 50 percent completion percentage. Riedel all but ended the game by breaking up a fourth down pass with about five minutes left.
They said it
“We knew that if we played like we were capable of, we would be fine. We made a couple big plays in the first half. We should have really had more points, with the penalties. For us to hold a quarterback like Teel as good as he is — they didn’t score a touchdown — is big for us.
–Westwood coach Dennis Hard
►Westwood visits Pascack Hills next Friday.
►Mahwah returns home to face Fort Lee next Friday.