CHO 20 PASS TDS, FERRERO 11 TDS; WRAGG TFL, SACKS
Developing into a consistent squad may have taken some time for the Westfield High School football team after suffering some disappointing losses with some mental lapses early in the season. But the development into a consistent team really stepped up as the Blue Devils won three, two by shutout, of their four final games to finish with a 6-5 record.
The Blue Devils witnessed their first disappointment in their opening game against the Watchung Hills Warriors as they watched a 20-6 lead dissolve in the final four minutes of the first half due to mental lapses then fell flat on their face offensively in the second half to lose 34-20.
A humiliating 37-7 setback to the Union Farmers was followed by a 2321 win over the Elizabeth Minutemen. After a 31-0 shutout of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders, the Blue Devils evened their record but a 25yard field goal in the final seconds would earn St. Joseph (Metuchen) a 17-14 victory in the next meeting.
The Blue Devils got on the controlling side of the seesaw with a 31-29 win over the Somerville Pioneers but then after leading Ridge, 15-14, early in the fourth quarter they collapsed and tumbled to the Red Devils, 3415. But then one of their best games of the season had the Blue Devils stunning then 7-1 Hillsborough, 170, in their regular-season finale.
The fourth-seeded Blue Devils revved into high gear with a 36-0 shutout of the Clifton Mustangs in the quarterfinal round of the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 Tournament but could not overcome the top-seeded Phillipsburg Stateliners in a 42-24 setback in the semifinal. The Blue Devils, however, picked themselves up in a big way on Thanksgiving Day to gobble up a 28-9 triumph over the much improved Plainfield Cardinals.
“When the defense was rolling, we were pretty good this year, three shutouts (2 in a row at the end) and a bunch of great efforts throughout,” Blue Devil Head Coach Jim DeSarno said.
The Blue Devil defense, when in sync, was indeed formidable with the presence of co-captains/defensive linemen Max Romano (304-lbs) and Julian Montez (6’5′ 300-lbs), along with junior defensive linemen Zac Wragg, Lincoln Meyers and Colby Parmelee. Co-captains Chris Rossetti (linebacker) and Luke Jordan (defensive back), along with senior back Steve Csorba and senior Brendan Scheper would scarf up tackles.
Rossetti led the team with 50 tackles and 75 assisted to go with four throws for losses (TFL) and two sacks. He had nine tackles and 13 assists against P-Burg. Csorba recorded 47 tackles and 53 assists and led the team with three interceptions and eight pass knockdowns. Jordan had 41 tackles and 51 assisted, two interceptions (Plainfield) and a fumble recovery. He had seven tackles and five assisted against Union and five tackles and eight assisted against Elizabeth.
Meyers recorded 32 tackles and 10 assisted with six TFLs and two fumble recoveries. Scheper had 31 tackles and 52 assisted to go with two TFLs and added an interception against Plainfield where he recorded eight tackles and three assisted. Montez recorded 30 tackles and 38 assisted with six TFL and four sacks to go with two pass knockdowns. Romano had 29 tackles and 18 assisted with seven TFLs and five sacks to go with three knockdowns.
Wragg, who led the team with 14 TFLs and eight sacks, recorded 24 tackles and 18 assisted, along with two pass knockdowns. Russo had 29 tackles and 21 assisted with three TFLs and one sack. He also had two interceptions and eight knockdowns. Sophomore linebacker Joe DiMattina recorded 20 tackles and 33 assisted with two TFLs and a sack, and had an interception.
Senior co-captain/quarterback Max Cho really blossomed throughout the season and turned into quite an accurate passer, completing 149 of 236 pass attempts for 1,913 yards, including 20 touchdowns (TD). In the shutout of Hillsborough, Cho completed 18 of 25 for 205 yards, including two TDs. He was 11 for 13 for 178 yards and three TDs against Clifton. His biggest game was 23 of 28 for 268 yards and three TDs against P-Burg. He hit 11 of 21 for 127 yards and two TDs against Plainfield.
On the ground, Cho turned up the volume towards the end of the season and finished with 244 yards on 44 carries, including five TDs. Cho chewed up 64 yards and a TD on eight carries on the final game against Plainfield.
“Max Cho had a great year that got better each week and yes, as the season went on, we didn’t just rely on him to throw it, he really helped us out in the run game as well,” Coach DeSarno commented.
The successful evolution of the offensive line comprised primarily of Romano, juniors Brenton Hatch and Jack Martin, and sophomore Jake Zemsky also gave Cho more time to spot his receivers.
Coach DeSarno pointed out, “Max Romano led a strong O-Line this year that protected him (Cho) – less than 10 sacks – and helped us run the ball as well.”
For the majority of the season, senior Josh Caramango was the primary ball carrier until he got injured late in the season. Caramango carried 166 times for 726 yards including five TDs. He had 127 yards on 23 carries and two TDs against Elizabeth and 160 yards on 18 carries and a TD against the SPF Raiders.
In the final four games, Jordan added running back to his credentials and carried 39 times for 250 yards, including two TDs. He had 16 carries for 137 yards and a TD in the shutout of Clifton and had 20 carries for 103 yards and a TD against Plainfield. Sophomore Luke Spaide carried 18 times for 73 yards, junior Colin Coyle carried twice for 10 yards, Rossetti had a five-yard carry and Shaq McKenna had two carries for 10 yards.
Cho had a wealth of receivers and junior split end Enzo Ferrero was his favorite target with 54 receptions for 915 yards, including 11 TDs. Ferrero had five receptions for 106 yards and a TD against Watchung Hills, nine receptions for 138 yards and two TDs against Hillsborough and 12 receptions for 184 yards and three TDs against P-Burg.
Junior split end Sebastian Magherini had 33 receptions for 431 yards, including five TDs. He had four receptions for 46 yards and two TDs against Scotch Plains-Fanwood, two receptions for 44 yards and a TD against Clifton and three receptions for 40 yards and a TD against Plainfield.
Coyle, a tight end, had 26 receptions for 327 yards and a TD. Caramango had 18 receptions for 63 yards and a TD. Spaide had 14 receptions for 156 yards and a TD. Sophomore Luca Blasi had two receptions for 12 yards, Jordan had a four-yard reception and Rossetti had a fiveyard TD reception in the Thanksgiving Day win over Plainfield. Junior place kicker Niko Lukis kicked seven field goals and 28 points after touchdown for 49 points.
Despite graduating five great captains and several additional fine athletes, the Blue Devils will return a strong receiving corps along with a good number of offensive and defensive linemen.
Coach DeSarno concluded, “An up and down year that ended on a good note on Thanksgiving, especially for our seniors! Interceptions from Brenden Scheper, Luke Jordan (2) and Steven Csorba. Three of the four touchdowns by seniors, Cho, Rossetti and Jordan, so a great way to finish off their careers.”