CUMBERLAND — The object of the squib kick was simply to keep the football out of the hands of Connor Hanley, a dangerous kickoff returner for Greely whose long touchdown run in the first meeting against Westbrook set the tone for a lopsided victory.
That it struck the shin of a Greely player and rebounded for a Westbrook recovery?
“That one was just a bounce that went our way,” said Westbrook Coach Jeff Guerette. “So we’ll take it.”
The fifth-seeded Blue Blazes knocked off No. 4 Greely 26-19 in a Western Class B quarterfinal Friday night, thanks in large part to building a two-touchdown lead before Greely took its first snap.
Westbrook (6-3) will face top-ranked Kennebunk (9-0) in a regional semifinal next weekend.
The Rangers (5-4) trailed 20-0 at halftime but twice came within a touchdown in the fourth quarter before their own onside kick attempt failed with 45 seconds remaining.
“They’ve improved significantly,” said Greely Coach Dave Higgins, whose team rallied from an early deficit to beat Westbrook 41-8 in late September.
“In the second half we came back and played very well, and we made it a game, so I think that’s what was important.”
Kyle Heath, who first made the transition from quarterback to fullback in that September loss, carried 19 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns, including a backbreaker from 3 yards with a little over two minutes remaining to give Westbrook a 26-13 lead.
“We came prepared,” Heath said. “We did our stuff and did it well.”
Heath was also responsible for Westbrook’s only pass completion, a 29-yard halfback option toss to Collin Joyce that set up Heath’s late touchdown.
“Moving Kyle to fullback has helped our offense quite a bit,” Guerette said. “With him and Collin back there, we think it gives us a couple different weapons in the backfield.”
Joyce finished with 113 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. But it was Maurice Johnson who put Westbrook on the board first, finishing off a double-handoff inside reverse by running 38 yards to cap an eight-play opening drive.
Corey Walker’s PAT kick made it 7-0, which is similar to how the first meeting went. But instead of an answering touchdown return, Greely found itself back on defense when the carom went Westbrook’s way.
The Blue Blazes drove 48 yards in seven plays capped by a 6-yard score from Joyce and suddenly it was 14-0.
When Greely finally gained possession on Walker’s next kickoff – a touchback into the end zone – the Rangers barely squeaked out a fourth-and-inches run from their own 29 to earn a first down.
They continued into Westbrook territory before fumbling a handoff inside the 25.
The turnover led to Westbrook’s third touchdown, or fourth if you count the 57-yard run from Joyce negated because of a holding penalty. Heath swept to the short side of the field for a 21-yard run to cap a 78-yard drive. Walker’s kick was wide and the score remained 20-0 at the half.
Greely put on a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, scoring all 19 of its points. Sam Peck scored on a 1-yard run. Quarterback Matt Pisini scored from the 15 with a little over six minutes left. He completed four straight passes on a 72-yard two-minute drill ending with Will Peck’s 2-yard scoring run.
But Westbrook was not to be denied.
“We knew we had something to prove against these guys and something to prove to ourselves, too,” Guerette said. “But we also felt like we prepared well and we were confident coming into the game. We certainly got off to a great start, and that was huge.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or: