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Westfield vs. Chantilly: Bulldogs’ defense makes a stand in 24-21 victory

By Brandon Parker,

The past week of practice wasn’t easy for No. 9 Westfield. It’s not that the Bulldogs weren’t motivated – that comes naturally when facing crosstown rival and Virginia AAA Concorde District foe Chantilly. But the Chargers’ unusual triple-option offense is a challenge to defend and made for some complex talk and a whirlwind of schemes to counter.

With less than four minutes remaining in Friday’s contest and Chantilly threatening to erase a three-point deficit, just how much the Bulldogs’ defense had been paying attention was put to the test.

In the end, Westfield’s young unit prevailed, stuffing the Chargers on three consecutive downs before a final Chantilly pass fell incomplete, sealing a 24-21 road win.

“Our defense has gotten beat up in the media and by some others, but tonight they stood up against that option offense and came up with some big stops for us,” said Westfield Coach Kyle Simmons, whose team improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the district.

Dalaun Richardson racked up 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns to jumpstart a Westfield offense.

After a defense-dominated first half left the teams knotted 7-7 at halftime, Chantilly (4-2, 0-1) gained momentum. Sonny Romine broke off a 25-yard run before finding Sean Huelskamp for the first of two touchdown catches on the night.

On the ensuing drive, Westfield quarterback Chris Mullins showed off his arm, hooking up with Devon Burns for a 47-yard pass. That set up a five-yard touchdown run by Richardson to make it 17-14 Bulldogs at the start of the fourth quarter.

Still, the Chargers responded again, as Romine connected with Huelskamp for an 11-yard touchdown pass. With things shaping up to be a back-and-forth battle, Westfield chose to chew up some clock behind its run game. Richardson and junior Tyler Thrasher-Walker (51 yards) pushed the Bulldogs downfield before the Chantilly defense clamped down in its own red zone.

On fourth and five, Mullins threw a pass to Colby Eller that fell incomplete, but a Chantilly pass interference gave Westfield new life on the Chargers’ 8-yard line.

Two plays later, Richardson scored from two yards out, and two minutes later, in the game’s waning moments, his defensive teammates sealed the win.

“This is a huge win for us and games like this are what we work hard for all week,” Richardson said. “This will hopefully set the tone for us going into our next games because that’s a good team we beat tonight.”

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