It's not often one finds a football player who enjoys being off the field. But Westfield senior linebacker Jon Turner sees it as part of his job.
"I definitely want to get the defense off the field," Turner said. "That's my role. Our linebackers told the rest of the defense that we need to get those three-and-outs. . . . I love sitting on the sideline and watching the offense go to work."
Turner is not the only one. Still, while the No. 6 Bulldogs' vaunted offense has received most of the accolades this season, the defense has been just as impressive. Westfield (10-1) has allowed more than two touchdowns in only two games, and held Robinson, a team that averaged 45 points a game, to 14 points in successive weeks. In Friday's 35-14 region semifinal victory, Westfield only gave up two plays longer than 30 yards.
But Turner does take advantage of what playing time he has. Westfield Coach Tom Verbanic called Turner, a unanimous first-team all-Concorde District player, "a warrior kind of kid."
"Whatever the team is doing, you can tell our morale," Turner said. "When I can tell we're a little down, I just say, 'Who's going to make a play? Who's going to make a play for us this series?' We need to be reacting first, not the other way around."
In the past, however, it's been Westfield that's been on its heels against No. 13 Oakton, the Bulldogs' opponent in Saturday's region final. The Cougars (9-2) have handed Westfield three of its four losses since 2002, including in the 2002 and 2004 playoffs.
Turner won't be too happy if the reason he's off the field next week is because Oakton won Saturday.
"There's definitely a bad taste in our mouths about Oakton," Turner said. "We'd love to show them who's who. We can win the battle."