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This Time, Westfield's Defense Does the Job

By Preston Williams
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2007

This is what it's come to for No. 2 Westfield: The Bulldogs can play perhaps their shakiest offensive first half of the season and still go into the locker room with a two-touchdown lead.

Westfield, which had scored on every first-half possession in several of its games, had to wait a little longer to reach cruising mode last night in a 41-7 home win over West Potomac in the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 semifinals. The victory propelled Westfield to the region championship game for the third consecutive season and for the fourth time in five years.

Senior quarterback Mike Glennon threw for three touchdowns, three rushers tacked on scores and a modest 14-0 halftime lead ballooned to 34-0 in the third quarter.

But also in the first half, the Bulldogs fumbled a fourth-and-one option pitch at the West Potomac 19, lost a fumble into the end zone at the end of a 59-yard screen pass and also got picked off in the end zone. Westfield started two possessions at the Wolverines 26- and 49-yard lines and came up empty each time.

The defense, however, continued to sparkle, allowing West Potomac senior running back Josh Wells only 20 yards on 17 carries.

It also made the key play.

West Potomac (8-4), in the playoffs for the first time since 2000 and facing Westfield for the first time, took possession at its own 26-yard line with 42 seconds left in the first half, trailing 7-0. Instead of being content to receive the second-half kickoff and running out the clock, the Wolverines threw three straight passes, the third of which was picked off by Bulldogs junior Evan Winfrey.

On the next play, Westfield (12-0) executed a double pass, with Glennon throwing to senior Johnny Pickett, a former quarterback who hit senior Randy Johns 35 yards downfield to set up a touchdown with nine seconds left in the half.

"I just felt like you've got to take your shots with Westfield," West Potomac Coach Eric Henderson said. "You can't just play conservative. We've got to push."

But the Bulldogs' defense always pushed back.

"It was our defense in the first half that really, really held us in," Westfield Coach Tom Verbanic said. "We're used to not making some of the mistakes that we made. . . . That's something that we have to work on a little bit, that things aren't always going to go right."

No. 2 Westfield 41 West Potomac 7

Slow Down, Not First Down: West Potomac did not pick up more than one first down on a possession until the fourth quarter.

Up Next: Westfield will host West Springfield at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday in the Virginia AAA Northern Region Division 6 championship.

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