It has been quite some time since the West Haven football team can say it has a defense which can decide games. That wait is now over.
Behind two interceptions from Kyle Godfrey, and a fumble recovery and interception by Jordan Wetmore, West Haven blanked Cheshire 27-0 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I contest at the Maclary Complex in Cheshire Friday evening.
“We keep hearing our defensive backs are inexperienced,” West Haven’s Zach Conlan said. “We are out to prove people wrong.”
If the West Haven defense was not enough, the offense of West Haven just wore down the Rams. West Haven had three different runners gain over 100 yards and the Westies outgained Cheshire 435-147 in the contest.
“We are getting better on offense all the time,’ West Haven coach Rich Boshea said. “We were able to run the ball against a very good defensive team. We broke a big one from the end zone and I think that was a big turning point of the game.”
The Westies dominated time of possession and yardage (195-51) in the opening half, but could only take a 7-0 lead to the half.
That touchdown came on a drive of 99 yards in 12 plays. Conlan had the biggest run of the drive as he raced 59 yards on third-and-6 to the Cheshire 36. After a 28-yard run by Latrell Best, Jake Conlan pushed his way in from one yard out with 1:17 left in the opening half for a 7-0 lead.
“This was a big game for us,” Godfrey said after rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. “A lot of people are doubting us. We know what we have to do. It all started with a great week of practice.”
West Haven (5-0), which has won 15 consecutive regular season games over the last two seasons, had another opportunity to extend the lead as Godfrey picked off a Will Graikoski pass at the West Haven 33, and returned the pick to the Rams’ 14 with six seconds left in the half. Jake Conlan then hit Godfrey with a swing pass, but the Cheshire defense stopped Godfrey at the two-yard line as time expired.
The Rams (3-2) only ran 20 plays in the opening half, and had the ball for just 3:12 of the first quarter.
“Our defense was on the field a long time tonight,” Cheshire coach Don Drust said. “When you make big plays, you have to capitalize. We did not do that. At the end of the day, I think we played hard, but West Haven just made the big plays and we didn’t.”
After a third quarter which saw West Haven take a 15-0 lead on a 23-yard run by Godfrey and a Chris Chance to Wetmore conversion with 7:19 to go, the Westies continued to make a stand.
West Haven held Cheshire to just 22 yards of total offense in the quarter, and Cheshire could not capitalize on a West Haven turnover as Godfrey picked off his second pass of the game. Ten plays and 57 yards later, West Haven led 21-0 lead as Godfrey scored on a 15-yard run with 6:26 to go.
“I kept telling our guys all week, if we kept our alignments and our assignments, we would win the game,” Boshea said. “Coach (Tom) Unger and Coach (Mark) Ecke put a great game plan in place and we followed it. We were able to stop what they were trying to do.”
After Wetmore recorded West Haven’s third interception, the Westies capped the game two plays later when Chance raced in from 65 yards out with 2:27 left in the game.
Chance finished the game with 164 yards rushing on 20 carries, while Zach Conlan ran for 117 yards on 15 carries.
Graikoski finished 16-of-33 for 106 yards with three interceptions for the Rams.