West Haven’s Kyle Godfrey (7) celebrates with his brother Anthony Godfrey (6) after Anthony’s 78 yard run for a touchdown in the third quarter defeating Notre Dame (WH), 36-13, Friday night, October 21, 2016, at Veterans Memorial Field in West Haven. (Catherine Avalone/New Haven Register)
WEST HAVEN >> With a brutal final five-game stretch of the regular season under way, the West Haven football team’s first task was to settle the battle of West Haven.
Behind an opportunistic defense and five combined touchdowns from Anthony and Kyle Godfrey, West Haven defeated cross-town rival Notre Dame 36-13 in a Southern Connecticut Conference Division I contest at Veterans Field in West Haven.
“I am very proud of these guys,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said after his team improved to 6-0 and took claim of the Soderman Bowl trophy once again. “They worked hard the last two weeks. We are 6-0. You can’t do any better than that. We have a lot more to work on, but this is a nice win for us.”
West Haven entered the game ranked fifth in the Class LL standings and kept control of its own destiny for the postseason. The Green Knights came into the contest ninth in Class L and took a big hit as far as the postseason goes.
The two teams combined for 702 yards of offense, but it was a huge defensive play made by Anthony Godfrey and Tyrese Cowes that turned the game around.
With West Haven leading 21-13 and Notre Dame inside the West Haven 15 late in the third quarter, a Notre Dame fumble was swatted away by Anthony Godfrey into the hands of Cowes, who returned the turnover 68 yards to the Notre Dame 2. Kyle Godfrey scored on the next play, giving West Haven a 28-13 lead with 2:28 left in the third quarter.
“That was a really big play for us,” Cowes said. “I have to give him (Godfrey) credit. He knocked that ball over to me and we were able to score after that.”
To that point, the contest was anyone’s game as the two teams went back and forth in the first half, before West Haven capped the game on a 22-0 run.
Anthony Godfrey gave West Haven a 21-13 lead with a 78-yard touchdown run just 56 seconds into the third quarter, and Notre Dame looked as if it had an answer on its initial drive of the second half.
That drive was snuffed by the West Haven defense at the Westies’ 8-yard line, before the Green Knights fumbled on their next possession, setting up the long run by Cowes.
“They had that long run in the second half and then we fumbled,” Notre Dame coach Tom Marcucci said after his team fell to 3-3. “That hurt us bad. We could not come back from that. They are a very good team. They have some strong, explosive players.”
With a 28-13 lead, West Haven, ranked fourth in the Register/GameTimeCt Top 10 poll, came up with another big play on defense as Jose Conde intercepted Notre Dame quarterback Chris Elias. Anthony Godfrey capped the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run with under two minutes to go.
“Our defense played great and my offensive line opened some big holes for me,” Anthony Godfrey said after he ran for 174 yards and two scores. “This is a big win for us. We needed to get that trophy (Soderman) back here.”
The first half was a tale of two quarters as the Green Knights and Westies each owned one quarter. Unfortunately for Notre Dame, West Haven made one more extra point to take a 14-13 halftime lead.
Notre Dame opened the contest quickly, holding a 101-23 advantage in yards and a 6-0 lead on the scoreboard. The Green Knights struck first when Josh Witkowsky scored from five yards out with 57 seconds remaining in the first quarter, but the extra point sailed wide.
The Westies responded with a 14-play, 79-yard drive, all on the ground. Kyle Godfrey capped the long drive when he scampered in from five yards out with 6:25 left in the first half.
“I thought we played well,” Boshea said. “I thought the key was our special teams. We held Nico Ragaini, who may be the best player around, in check. I thought that was the key.”
The lead did not hold up for West Haven as Notre Dame and Elias needed just two plays to go 80 yards.
After Eliad hit Nico Ragaini for 26 yards, he found Justin Morehead on a screen and Morehead raced 5 yards for the score and a 13-7 Notre Dame lead with 5:55 to go in the second quarter.
The points would keep coming as West Haven, which accumulated 202 yards of offense in the second quarter alone and 371 in the game, scored on its ensuing drive, making it four consecutive drives both teams had put points on the board.
This time, the Westies needed nine plays to go 68 yards and capped the drive when quarterback Tim McCarthy waited long enough to find Anthony Godfrey wide open in the endzone for a 16-yard score and 14-13 West Haven lead with 1:58 left in the first half.
Elias finished 16-of-32 for 249 yards in the air. Kyle Godfrey ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries for the Westies.
West Haven 36, Notre Dame-West Haven 13
(at Notre Dame)
West Haven 0 14 14 8 — 36
Notre Dame 6 7 0 0 — 13
N—Joshua Witkowsky 5 run (Kick failed)
W—Kyle Godfrey 5 run (Jose Conde kick)
N—Justin Morehead 54 pass from Christopher Elias (Jared Gallbronner kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 16 pass from Tim McCarthy (Conde kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 78 run (Conde kick)
W—Kyle Godfrey 2 run (Conde kick)
W—Anthony Godfrey 4 run (Tim McCarthy run)
Team records: Notre Dame-West Haven 3-3; West Haven 6-0