Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Tom Chard email@example.com
WESTBROOK - Halfway through the regular season, the Westbrook High football team has had seven players score touchdowns. Few teams in the state can match that balance.
The years of struggling in Class A are over for Coach Jeff Guerette and his Westbrook High football team. Now competing against Class B teams with similar enrollment, the Blue Blazes are winning with a rejuvenated program that is attracting large crowds.
Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Josh Tardiff, a senior, is part of a talented offensive line that has opened holes for a deep group of backs in a run-first offense for the Blue Blazes.
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• Biddeford at Deering at 7 p.m. Friday
• Scarborough at Thornton Academy at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at pressherald.com/sports
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It's a key reason the Blue Blazes (3-1) are off to a fast start in Western Class B. Westbrook plays at Cape Elizabeth (2-2) on Friday night.
"We have a lot of different weapons," said Coach Jeff Guerette. "We haven't been stuck giving the ball to a kid 25 times in a game. We hope our balance makes us more difficult to defend and keeps our guys fresher as the season progresses."
The Blazes spread the ball around in their wing-T offense. The team fits nicely into the "all for one and one for all" philosophy.
"I think the kids like that it's just not one kid we feature," said Guerette. "They like the fact we spread it around. They want to see each other do well."
Fullback Cale Bollig leads Westbrook with six touchdowns. Halfback Collin Joyce is next with five. Ben Grant and Kyle Schumacher are the other running backs who have scored.
The Blazes look to run first with depth at running back and a talented line, led by seniors Devon Grant and Josh Tardiff.
"We definitely have more options to look at," said split end Aaron Duncanson. "It's tougher for defenses to handle us."
Duncanson has caught 12 passes from Kyle Heath for 200 yards and one touchdown.
Heath scored a touchdown last week in a 58-28 victory against Fryeburg Academy. Tight end Keenan Lowe has the other touchdown.
"We definitely have a lot of weapons and a lot of ways to use them," said Heath.
The Blazes are enjoying their second straight year of winning football.
Westbrook played in Class A from 1967 to 2010 with little success. Declining enrollment allowed the football program to move to Class B at the start of last season. Moving to a level that matched its enrollment basically saved the football program.
"It's been great for our kids," said Guerette, who is in his fifth season. "The days of struggling in Class A seem like a long way off. We've established ourselves as a strong Class B program. We're looking to move forward in Class B."
A year ago Westbrook took a while to find its stride in its new league. The Blazes lost their first three games before winning four of their next five to qualify for the playoffs.
They beat Falmouth in the quarterfinals before losing to Wells, the eventual state champion, in the semifinals. Playing the same schedule, Westbrook won its first two games this year, beating Mountain Valley and Wells before losing to Greely in a meeting of 2-0 teams two weeks ago.
The game attracted one of the largest crowds to Olmsted Field for a football game in years.
"They were parking at Hannaford's a few blocks away just to make sure they could get a spot," said Guerette.
Westbrook football has come a long way in a season and a half, and has designs of going a lot further. This year's squad has more players participating than last year. Lowe and D.J. Breunig, who both play basketball, decided to come out for the first time. Breunig is a wide receiver. Their athleticism has given the team a boost.
"When you have a winning team, more kids want to play," said Devon Grant.
Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at: