GREENWICH — Five games into the season, foes are still trying to figure out how to stop and score against, the Greenwich football team.
Westhill became the latest team that was unable to solve the puzzle known as the Cardinals, who continued their tradition of celebrating their Homecoming Day in style.
Junior quarterback James Rinello completed all five of his passing attempts, three of which were for touchdowns, junior Hunter Clark returned a punt 65 yards for a score and Greenwich produced yet another defensive performance in coasting to a 50-6 win at crowded Cardinal Stadium.
The win raised Greenwich’s record to 5-0, heading into its bye week. The Cardinals host FCIAC rival Darien on October 26. The home team left little doubt it would have a happy Homecoming on Saturday, seizing a 34-0 first-quarter lead.
“The seniors all off season and during the offseason, they have led us and showed us how we should play and work every day in practice,” Rinello said. “Knowing this was the last Homecoming for them, it was a big deal for us to play well for them and get out to a lead and get everyone some playing time today.”
Westhill quarterback Anthony Bivona was under duress throughout, with the Cardinals’ defensive line, led by senior Eddy Iuteri, applying pressure each quarter.
“Everyone really wanted to play for Homecoming, it’s something that excites us and we’ve been getting ready for it all week,” Iuteri said. “We were all hyped up for that for sure.”
CARDINALS SOAR IN FIRST QUARTER
The Vikings recovered an onsides kick to start the game, taking possession in Cardinals’ territory. The visitors’ opening drive was halted however, by an interception from GHS defensive back Jack O’Gorman.
Greenwich took over and Rinello promptly threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Daniel Perez. Ben Howarth kicked the first of his many extra points and the Cardinals were up 7-0 and off to the races.
After Westhill went three-and-out on its ensuing possession, Clark returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown, cutting before sprinting down the left sideline with 9:40 to go in the opening quarter.
Rinello scrambled for a 26-yard touchdown, then threw a pass that resulted in a 26-yard catch-and-run for a score by junior wideout AJ Barber, putting Westhill in a 27-0 at the 3:07 mark of the first quarter.
“It was a screen, where everyone on the play did their job perfect, making it easy for me,” Barber said. “Our offense is coming together, putting up 50 points per game, I’d say is pretty impressive. We have a lot of trust in our personnel and players we have there. James is doing really well and can get anyone the ball.”
The Cards weren’t done in the opening quarter though. Matthew Pilc capped the quarter by snaring an 11-yard pass over the middle from Rinello for a score, making it 34-0.
On the first play of the second quarter, Jonathan Alexandre reached the end zone on a 2-yard run. Howarth booted a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter and James Babb added a touchdown run in the second half for the Cardinals, whose offense was run by quarterback Cage Lasley.
The backups are the unsung heroes, because they support us the whole time and help us a lot, so it’s nice to see them get in and perform well,” Rinello said.
Greenwich outgained Westhill, 316-135 and the Cards rushed for 138 yards, while passing for 178.
WESTHILL REACHES THE END ZONE
The Vikings scored on the final play of the game, with Tyrrese Bazile running into the end zone from five yards out as time expired. It was Westhill’s (0-5) first points of the season.
“We began the day with a nice note, with the onsides kick and we ended it on a nice note, with a touchdown,” Vikings coach Joe DeVellis said. “It’s something that we can build on going into the last five games of the year. We started four or five sophomores and a lot of young guys. Greenwich is a really good football team and I told my team, we are not playing anyone better than those guys.”
Iuteri, lineman Will Montesi and linebacker Evan Weigold helped pace Greenwich, which has allowed 30 points in five games. Westhill was held to 46 passing yards.
— Greenwich Time Spts (@GreenwichSports) October 12, 2019
“Our preparation for this game allowed us to do what we did today,” Weigold said. “I’m proud of our team for allowing such few yards. We are feeling good, but we are not dwelling too much on this win. Our eyes our focused on Darien and we have two weeks to prepare for them.
Said Iuteri: “Defensively, we played really well – we practiced really well, which translated to the game. We always preach physicality, which was a major key in stopping their offense.”
Montesi recovered a fumble and registered a sack for the Cards, while lineman James Schmidt and Weigold each had sacks in the win. … The Cardinals have allowed seven or less points in four of their five games. … Greenwich didn’t play their next opponent, Darien, in 2018.
“We are not dwelling on this win too much, now we are pretty much focused on Darien,” Weigold said.
GREENWICH 50, WESTHILL 6
WESTHILL 0 0 0 6 – 6
GREENWICH 34 10 0 6 – 50
G – Daniel Perez 74 pass from James Rinello (Ben Howarth kick)
G – Hunter Clark 65 punt return (run failed)
G – Rinello 26 run (Howarth kick)
G – AJ Barber 26 pass from Rinello (Howarth kick)
G – Matthew Pilc 11 pass from Rinello (Howarth kick)
G – Jonathan Alexandre 2 run (Howarth kick)
G – Howarth 37 field goal
G – James Babb 4 run (run failed)
W – Tyyrese Bazile 2 run