GREENWICH — Quarterback Gavin Muir totaled 308 yards passing with five touchdowns for the Greenwich High School football team, which held a 31-point lead on Westhill. And that was just in the first half.
Muir and the Cardinals produced more yards and points in the second half, making it a Happy Homecoming for the team, while extending its winning streak.
A junior, Muir passed for career highs of 396 yards and seven touchdowns in Greenwich’s resounding 60-15 victory over Westhill in an FCIAC West Division matchup at Cardinal Stadium. With the convincing win, the soaring Cardinals ran their record to 5-0.
“It all starts with the offensive line, I had all the time in the world to throw back there,” Muir said. “Our receivers were able to get open. I was put in good situations by my teammates the whole game.”
Senior Henry Saleeby caught two touchdown passes, while senior Jeremiah Harris, junior Lance Large, junior Tysen Comizio, senior Elias Gianopoulos and junior Stephen Bennett each snared one scoring strike from Muir.
“Keeping up our high tempo offense gets the defense a little tired and I think that’s what happened,” Saleeby said. “Offensively, we were clicking on all cylinders, but we did commit too many penalties. That’s something we have to fix.”
Westhill’s points came on a pair of touchdown receptions from senior Nicholas Nunes. The Vikings faced a daunting 39-8 deficit at halftime after trailing 22-8 after the first quarter.
“We put our defense in a tough position the entire game,” said Vikings coach Frank Marcucio, whose team is 4-2 on the season. “Our offense played terrible and it’s the second time this season we played terrible on offense. We just did not move the ball or rise to the occasion. Our defense played well in the first half though.”
Greenwich, which is ranked second in the Class LL standings, effectively slowed down Westhill’s running game and did a solid job in pass coverage. One of the only aspects GHS can look at as far as improvement are cleaning up the penalties.
“It was very uncharacteristic of our team,” Greenwich coach John Marinelli said of the penalties. “They are controllable penalties that we can correct though. We didn’t play our best, but we were still able to put together drives. Today, we did a great job of rebounding from our mistakes.”
SETTING THE TONE
The Cardinals celebrated its Homecoming Day by scoring on three first-quarter possessions. Muir threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Large with 8:15 remaining in the opening quarter for the home team’s first score. He found Saleeby wide open down the right sideline for a 30-yard touchdown with 3:01 to go in the first quarter, giving GHS a 15-0 advantage.
Westhill responded as senior Noldylens Metayer returned the ensuing kickoff to the Cards’ 6-yard line. On fourth down, junior quarterback AJ Laccona connected with Nunes for a 3-yard score, cutting Greenwich’s lead to 15-8. That’s the closest the visitors got though, as the Cardinals increased their lead on Muir’s 37-yard touchdown pass to Harris with 35.3 still left in the first quarter.
“Gavin is a good quarterback,” Marinelli said. “He goes through his reads, he’s patient in the pocket and he takes what the defense gives him.”
Holding a 22-8 lead after the first quarter, Greenwich received a touchdown catch from Comizio, another scoring catch from Saleeby and a 34-yard field goal by senior Zach Moore, making it 39-8 at halftime.
Senior free safety Tyler Blizzard recorded a sack and several tackles for lost yardage for Greenwich. Senior Jose Regio had an interception for Westhill and teammate Brian Eitenne recovered a fumble. Junior Gramoz Bici and senior Robert Lanni helped the Cardinals limit the Vikings running backs to minimal gains.
“The key was to follow our game plan and read our keys,” Blizzard said. “We had to stay disciplined, show a lot of effort and fly to the ball. We love setting up the offense, that’s what keeps the momentum going.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Muir continues to excel each game. He spread the ball to several receivers and moved well in the pocket.
“He has really developed and has become one of the best quarterbacks I’ve ever coached,” Marinelli said.
Led by center Kyle Woodring, the Cards’ offensive line was stellar throughout. Greenwich’s defense made it tough for Westhill to move the ball most of the game.
“Our special teams set up our offense with the kickoff return, other than that, we didn’t move the ball the whole game,” Marcucio said.
GREENWICH 60, WESTHILL 15
WESTHILL 8 0 0 7 — 15
GREENWICH 22 17 14 7 — 60
G — Lance Large 50 pass from Gavin Muir (Jack Feda run)
G — Henry Saleeby 30 pass from Muir (Zach Moore kick)
W — Nicholas Nunes 3 pass from AJ Laccona (Saquan Kelly run)
G — Jeremiah Harris 37 pass from Muir (Moore kick)
G — Tysen Comizio 4 pass from Muir (Moore kick)
G — Saleeby 10 pass from Muir (Moore kick
G — Moore 34 field goal
G — Elias Gianopoulos 41 pass from Muir (Moore kick)
G — Stephen Bennett 9 pass from Muir (Moore kick)
W — Nunes 22 pass from Laccona (Jose Regio kick)
G — Gramoz Bici 45 kickoff return (Moore kick)
Records: Greenwich 5-0; Westhill 4-2