Sunday, December 02, 2007

Westfield Football

Glennon Leads Westfield Rally
By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, December 2, 2007; D09

CHESAPEAKE, Va., Dec. 1 -- In the past six seasons at Westfield, Coach Tom Verbanic has consistently led the Bulldogs to the top of what many consider Virginia's toughest district, the AAA Concorde -- home to six of the past 11 Division 6 state champions.

He's posted a 68-6 record, won two region titles and one state title.

But after a 24-21 victory at previously undefeated Oscar Smith in a Div. 6 state semifinal Saturday, Verbanic was hard-pressed to think of a tougher opponent than the Tigers.

"I haven't seen a team this good," said Verbanic, shaking his head as a smile of relief peeked out from under his graying mustache.

Second-ranked Westfield (14-0) needed late-game heroics from 6-foot-6 N.C. State-bound senior quarterback Mike Glennon to overcome a Tigers attack that included single-game playoff records for completions by a quarterback, passing yardage by a quarterback, catches by a wide receiver and receiving yards by a wide receiver.

Oscar Smith sophomore quarterback Phillip Sims completed 26 of 43 passes for 480 yards and all three of his touchdowns to University of North Carolina-bound receiver Todd Harrelson (15 catches, 354 yards, 3 touchdowns).

The gaudy numbers went for naught, however, thanks to Glennon, who led his team on a 63-yard scoring march by completing 8 of 10 passes, capping the drive with a five-yard pass to senior receiver Randy Johns that put the Bulldogs up by three with less than three minutes remaining.

Oscar Smith fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Westfield ran out the clock.

"We saw them on film all week and it was 'wow,' " Verbanic said of a Tigers squad that some recruiting observers expect to send 11 players to the Division I ranks. "What we did was we really just hung in there."

Oscar Smith (13-1), which held its previous two playoff opponents to an average of six points, allowed the most points it had all season.

"They are by far the best team we've played all year," said Glennon, who completed 18 of 34 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a one-yard score.

Westfield converted only one of 11 third downs, but on a fourth and six at the Oscar Smith 16-yard-line, Glennon found senior receiver David Kruchko for an 11-yard gain on an inside slant route that kept the game-winning drive alive. Westfield had failed on two previous fourth-down conversion attempts.

Senior defensive back and running back Brian Kennedy led the Bulldogs in tackles (10) and rushing yards (52). He scored on a 49-yard run at the start of the second half to put Westfield up 10-7 and on Oscar Smith's ensuing possession, Kennedy picked off Sims to stymie an eight-play, 66-yard inside the Bulldogs 19-yard-line.

"Brian Kennedy is a little undersized, but I think he is one of the best high school players in the state of Virginia," Glennon said of the 5-foot-8, 162-pound senior. "He's the heart and soul of our team."

Up Next: Westfield (14-0) will face Woodbridge (9-4) in Saturday's Div. 6 state final at the University of Virginia's Scott Stadium at 4:30 p.m. No. 2 Westfield 24, Oscar Smith 21 Pickett's Power: Westfield wide receiver Johnny Pickett had nine catches for 180 yards, including an 83-yard bomb from Mike Glennon that set up the quarterback's one-yard touchdown run for a 17-7 lead with 2:43 left in the third quarter.

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