STAMFORD — When they were needed the most, the Westhill defense came up with its best performance of the season.
The Vikings defense picked up 13 sacks in the game and two interceptions and a safety in the fourth quarter, holding Trumbull to one second-half score on the way to a 29-21 win at J. Walter Kennedy Stadium.
It was the first official win for Westhill over Trumbull on the football field. The Vikings did beat Trumbull once five years ago but the win was later forfeited.
This time around, it was all about the defense as they swarmed Trumbull quarterback Colton Nicholas all afternoon.
It was fitting the game ended with an interception by D’aeren Carson with 15 seconds remaining as the Eagles attempted one last drive for the tying score.
“Defensively we just played really well today,” Westhill coach Frank Marcucio said. “(DT) Christian Bier was an animal today and he was the difference in the game. We are now guaranteed a winning season, which hasn’t happened here since my second year. We have a chance for other good things to happen now. Some things we control and some things we don’t.”
Westhill (6-2) is in the running for its first state playoff spot, ever, but will need to win its final two games and get some help.
The Vikings trailed 21-12 in the third quarter, cutting that lead to two points on a 12-yard touchdown pass from AJ Laccona to Angelo Nicholas with 2:05 left in the third.
The Vikings would take the lead in the fourth quarter on a 56-yard pass from Laccona to Noodles Metayer with 10:44 left in the game.
With 1:41 left and facing a 4th and 26 from its own goal line, Trumbull’s quarterback Nicholas stepped out of the end zone for a safety.
The Eagles would recover the ensuing onside kick but three plays later, Carson’s interception sealed the Westhill win.
“They rushed five and we didn’t pick it up. Bad pass protection, that’s what it was. It was no secret,” Trumbull coach Bob Maffei said. “They also hit some big plays. (Metayer) made two big catches and that was the game difference. That was the game. We tried.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Christian Bier, Westhill. The senior defensive tackle registered five of the Vikings 13 sacks. On at least three of his takedowns, Bier brought Nicholas to the ground one-handed.
“This feels very good,” Bier said. “I really struggle getting low and using my hands but this game, something just clicked and I was able to do what I did. It is a great thing winning this game. I hope it makes this school proud. I can’t wait for Monday for the announcements and all the stuff they are going to say.”
The teams went back and forth until Westhill took control in the fourth quarter. Nicholas ran for the Eagles first score before hitting Peter Schmitz (65 yards) and Kyle Atherton (11) on touchdown passes. Laccona connected with Wyklend Turenne on a 7-yard passing touchdown and with Nicholas on a 64-yard strike in the second quarter.
WESTHILL 29, TRUMBULL 21
TRUMBULL 7 7 7 0—21
WESTHILL 6 6 7 10—29
T—Colton Nicholas 7 run (Ryan Cranston kick)
W—Wyklend Turenne 7 pass AJ Laccona (kick failed)
T—Peter Schmitz 65 pass Nicholas (Cranston kick)
W—Angelo Nicholas 64 pass Laccona (pass failed)
T—Kyle Atherton 11 pass Nicholas (Cranston kick)
W—Nicholas 12 pass Laccona (Jose Regio kick)
W—Noodles Metayer 56 pass Laccona (Saquan Kelly run)
W—Safety (QB out of end zone)