The Weston football team closed out the season with a 48-12 victory at Joel Barlow last Wednesday. Weston finished the season at 6-4, its best record since 2002 when it went 8-3 with current Indianapolis Colts backup Jamey Richard serving as a senior captain that year. Barlow ended its season at 2-8.
"What makes this win feel good is that our kids played a complete game," Trojans Coach Joe Lato said. "It's a rivalry game and a special game because the alumni came out and supported us. Our emotions ran high and that was also in the mix."
Before Weston took the field, it had a good feeling about the game and was confident it was going to avenge last year's 28-19 home loss to the Falcons.
"What was amazing was the enthusiasm we had when we ran out of the garage before the game began," Trojans senior quad-captain Jack Crowell. "I knew [right then] we were going to win."
Senior quad-captain Eddie Hutchins said, "I was pretty happy with how things went. We wanted to beat Barlow badly and we came in fired up."
Hutchins (22 carries for 95 yards) played a major role in the victory with a 24-yard and a 9-yard rushing touchdowns to give Weston a 14-0 lead after one quarter. Junior J.D. Simons kicked both extra points for the Trojans. Following Barlow senior tri-captain Egan O'Brien's 1-yard running touchdown in the second quarter, Hutchins answered with a 7-yard touchdown run with 6:35 remaining in the half to make it 21-6. The Falcons' extra point attempt was blocked.
"I had good blocking from my line," Hutchins said.
Crowell, senior quad-captain Drew Clevenger and classmates Carmine Magnoli, Danny O'Brien and Patrick McGlone opened up gaping holes, which allowed senior quad-captain quarterback Joey Falci (3-9 for 86 yards, six carries for 42 yards) and freshman tailback Danny Rogers (five carries for 91 yards, one catch for 12 yards) to exploit as well as Hutchins. Overall, Weston gained 229 yards on 40 carries.
"We had a really good week of practice, everyone was pumped and we wanted to have a good game," Clevenger said. "The offensive line is a close-knit group, it was our last game together and we wanted to make it special. Eddie, Joey and Danny took advantage of our blocks."
Falci had a 6-yard touchdown run and sophomore Tyler Hassett returned an interception 43 yards for the touchdown with 34 seconds left. Simons kicked the extra point after Falci's touchdown and Weston tried to run it in for two points after Hassett's score but the Falcons made the defensive stop and the score was 34-7 at the break.
Falci also completed a 45-yard pass to senior Jacob Spencer.
The Trojans played well defensively all game by shutting down Barlow's option. Crowell (two sacks), Magnoli (14 tackles), Spencer (12 tackles), Falci (10 tackles), Clevenger (seven tackles) and Keeney (five tackles) led the charge on defense.
"We noticed the quarterback made quick reads so the defense swarmed to the ball quickly and had all 11 players on the ball," Crowell said.
Weston extended its lead to 41-6 in the third quarter on Falci's 9-yard touchdown run, coupled with Simons' kick. Falcons senior tri-captain Doug Indelicato had a 5-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter but Barlow's pass for the two-point conversion failed. The Trojans closed out the scoring on Falci's 29-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Matt Keeney with 5:25 to go in the game. Simons was true blue with the extra point.
"It feels good that the kids got over the hump," Lato said. "We have a really good senior class and we worked hard in the offseason. They bought into what I preached and the team is a true family. This is the most close-knit team I ever coached and they pulled through in the same direction. It's not the most talented team I ever coached but it's the tightest team I ever coached. This validates everything I believe in about sports. Attitude counts a lot and we all have a good attitude."
Moreover, this shows how far Weston has come under Lato. The Trojans had two straight winless season before breaking the slide in 2007 when the current seniors were freshmen.
"I owe it to the group of seniors we have. We are dedicated and we worked hard to make the program a decent one."
Clevenger said, "We're all pretty happy about it because we put in a lot of work and did a lot of conditioning in the offseason. We were a couple of plays away from being 8-2."
Although Lato gives his outgoing seniors a ringing endorsement, one of his captains credits his forbearers as well.
"I give a lot of credit to the classes before me because our class wouldn't be where we are without them," Crowell said. "They taught us a lot and I also owe a lot to the coaching staff. Coach Lato has a positive influence on us and taught us a lot about football and life."
Gridiron notes: Hutchins, Crowell and senior Jacob Spencer were First Team All-SWC selections. Magnoli, Clevenger and McGlone were Second Team All-SWC. Simons and Keeney were All-SWC Honorable Mention.