WEST HAVEN >> From the minute he walked onto the field, West Haven senior running back Ervin Philips had that look in his eyes. Philips was well aware of the importance of his team’s game against Foran.
When all was said and done, Philips delivered by racing for 199 yards and five touchdowns, including four scores in the first half, as West Haven bounced back from an agonizing loss to Greenwich with a 57-25 pounding of the Lions at Ken Strong Stadium Friday afternoon.
“This win is a confidence-builder,” Philips said. “It was pretty low after losing last week. I thought we played great today. It was all about preparation. Coach told us we had to finish. Last game, we thought we had it. We did not finish. Today we did.”
The Westies (1-1) were on a mission from the start, gaining 377 yards in the opening half and scoring six touchdowns. Between Philips and quarterback Duane Gary, the two speedsters ran for 217 yards in the opening half and 272 yards in the game.
West Haven never punted in the contest, was stopped just twice on downs and accumulated an astonishing 573 yards of total offense. Gary attempted just two passes and connected on both for 76 yards as the Lions had no answer for an angry West Haven team.
“It was a bad week around here,” West Haven coach Ed McCarthy said after his team ran for 497 yards. “It was not fun. We all felt badly for each other. We were actually glad the game was so close. We had to get ready quickly. Sunday night (following the loss to Greenwich), we were watching film. The earlier game was good for us.”
West Haven wasted no time taking the lead in the game as Philips scored a highlight-reel touchdown from 58 yards out just 51 seconds in, then, after a Eli Gaskins fumble recovery, scored five plays later when Philips went in from 5 yards out for a 14-0 lead.
The Lions, who got within one touchdown 4 minutes, 41 seconds into the game on a Jake Kasuba to Zach White connection from 18 yards out, could not contain the West Haven ground game in the first half as the Westies ran for 336 yards in the opening 24 minutes.
“Number one (Philips), number two (Gary) and number three (Little) are the real deal,” Foran coach Jeff Bevino said. “They are not a one-man show. Their two backs are really good. They have an All-State receiver in number 14 (Zatrell Lyons). Their kids up front do a good job. That is a good club over there.
“I hate to lose but I am very proud of my kids. They hung in there. We were one tipped ball away from changing the complexion of the game.”
Philips gave the Westies a 21-6 lead with a 1-yard run with 3:58 left in the opening quarter and Gary followed with a 16-yard scamper 2:55 later for a 28-6 lead.
The Lions (1-1) sandwiched a pair of Kasuba touchdown passes to Sean Deegan (19 yards) and Connor Cadrin (34 yards) around a 26-yard Gary touchdown run as West Haven led 35-19. Philips’ fourth touchdown of the opening half with 1:39 remaining increased the margin to 42-19.
Philips (2 yards) and Marshont Little (11 yards) added touchdown runs in the second half to offset a 16-yard scoring run by Foran’s Andrew Khon.
Little finished with 108 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, Anton Graham ran for 75 yards and Gary ran for 73 yards and two scores for the Westies.
Kasuba was 23-of-42 for 302 yards and three touchdowns for the Lions.
West Haven 57, Foran 25
(at West Haven)
Foran 6 13 6 0 0 — 25
West Haven 28 14 8 7 0 — 57
- W—Ervin Philips 58 run (Tayvon Gibbs Kick)
- W—Ervin Philips 5 run ( Gibbs Kick)
- F—Zach White 18 pass from Jake Kasuba (Pass Failed)
- W—Ervin Philips 1 run (Gibbs Kick)
- W—Duane Gary 16 run (Gibbs Kick)
- F—Sean Deegan 8 pass from Jake Kasuba ( Pass Failed)
- W—Duane Gary 26 run (Gibbs kick)
- F—Connor Cadrin 34 pass from Jake Kasuba (Sam Olsson Kick)
- W—Ervin Philips 8 run (Gibbs Kick)
- F—Andrew Khon 16 run (Run failed)
- W—Ervin Philips 2 run (Duane Gary Run)
- W—Marshont Little 11 run (Gibbs Kick)
Team records: West Haven 1-1; Foran 1-1