September 8, 2012

Yes, Westbrook's so for real

The Blue Blazes follow an opening victory by going on the road to knock off Wells, the defending state champ.

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

WELLS - Westbrook linebacker Collin Joyce paced while waiting for Wells High to break from its huddle in the closing minutes. Joyce had fumbled to give the Warriors a chance.

click image to enlarge

Collin Joyce of Westbrook breaks through the Wells defense in the first quarter Friday night in their early-season Western Class B showdown. Joyce rushed for 48 yards and also caught two touchdown passes in a 28-20 victory for the Blue Blazes

Photos by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Aaron Duncanson of Westbrook hauls in a first-quarter pass Friday night as Joey Spinelli defends for Wells. Westbrook earned a 28-20 victory on the road.

"I was thinking if we didn't stop them, it was going to be all on me," Joyce said.

But Westbrook held on Friday night, with Joyce making two tackles, and knocked off Wells 28-20 at Warrior Memorial Field.

Westbrook has roared to a 2-0 start. Wells, the defending Class B state champion, is 1-1.

"I think our kids will be excited this week, and our school and community will be excited," Westbrook Coach Jeffrey Guerette said. "But at the same time it's two games."

Wells outgained Westbrook 276 to 267 yards, including a 241-138 edge on the ground, led by Dante Fanning's 187 yards on 20 carries.

But Westbrook quarterback Kyle Heath completed 8 of 12 passes for 129 yards. Several were clutch throws to Aaron Duncanson (five catches, 83 yards).

"We just click," Heath said. "Dunc's the first man I look for."

Joyce also is a pretty good option. Besides leading Westbrook rushers with 48 yards, he caught two touchdown passes. Cale Bollig rushed for two touchdowns.

Westbrook's defining drive spanned the first and second quarters -- a 17-play, 71/2-minute effort that included two third-down conversions and two on fourth down.

On fourth-and-goal from the 9, Heath found Joyce in the end zone for the game's first score. Heath's timing pass to 6-foot-4 David Breunig made it 8-0 with 11:14 left in the second quarter.

"We force them into fourth downs and then they convert them," Wells Coach Tim Roche said. "That's great football on their part."

Wells got its yards on offense, including some breakaway scorings runs by Drew Shelley (34 yards) and Fanning (35). But the Blue Blazes also contained the Warriors, led by defensive lineman Devon Grant and Bollig at defensive end.

Westbrook took a 14-6 lead in the third quarter on a drive keyed by Duncanson's third-and-11 catch in a crowd for 17 yards.

Wells tied it on Fanning's run and Gavin Snapp's 2-point conversion pass to Joey Spinelli with 1:51 left in the third quarter.

Westbrook drove 75 yards, capped by Heath's 13-yard pass to Joyce, and Bollig's 2-point run for a 22-14 lead.

The Blue Blazes held, then drove again for a touchdown, Bollig scoring from the 4 for a 28-14 lead with 4:50 left.

Wells rallied with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Snapp to Spinelli, who caught it after the ball bounced off him and a defender, with 2:27 left.

On Westbrook's next play, Joyce fumbled. Wells got the ball at the Blue Blazes' 44.

On fourth-and-5, Joyce stopped Fanning for a 1-yard gain. Westbrook had the ball and the win.

"I knew I had to make that play," Joyce said.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH


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