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New Faces, Same Places

Westfield football improves to 8-1 against rival Chantilly with 32-7 win last Friday.

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Westfield’s Jordan Anderson scores one of his three touchdowns during a 32-7 win at Chantilly last Friday. Anderson, who rushed for 105 yards on 14 carries, scored two rushing touchdowns and had a 7-yard touchdown catch.

The formation was unusual and unexpected. Quarterback Danny Fenyak stood on the 35-yard line. Jordan Anderson, a running back, straddled the 25. Westfield coach Tom Verbanic was set up toward the 20, and cornerback Evan Winfrey and linebacker Ben Casper were side-by-side near the 15-yard line.

No, the Bulldogs didn’t employ some sort of wacky passing formation, which would assuredly have been whistled dead due to Verbanic’s presence.

The Bulldog football team was simply conducting its postgame interviews, a hackneyed routine for last year’s undefeated squad but a welcomed task for this bunch of newcomers.

“Everybody’s getting interviewed and stuff, but we still look at it like, ‘We’re a team,’” said Anderson, following his team’s 32-7 win over Chantilly last Friday. “Our goal is to make the playoffs so this win was a great stepping stone for us, but we’re still going work hard in practice and come out ready to play.”

<b>VERBANIC’S BUNCH</b> had every reason to enjoy the win. Despite what’s now an 8-1 advantage in the series, there was a perceived slight toward the Bulldogs (4-0, 1-0 Concorde) because of how many seniors had graduated after last year’s state title run.

But filling those departed roles — both before and during the postgame prodding and preening — have been Fenyak, Anderson, Winfrey and Casper.

Fenyak had his most efficient game yet under center, completing 15 of 23 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns.

“I thought he had a nice game,” said Verbanic, assessing Fenyak’s turnover-free performance. “He did a good job running the offense. We were very patient and we really took what they gave us.”

Anderson, the team’s new feature back, ran for 105 yards and two scores while also catching a touchdown pass. On the season, Anderson has totaled 585 yards and nine rushing touchdowns.

Winfrey has taken a two-fold approach. In addition to a 52-yard touchdown catch, he also intercepted two of Chantilly quarterback Roger Strittmatter’s passes.

Casper has assumed the role of defensive leader, and his teammates have allowed an average of 8.5 points per game through the first four games of the season — slightly more than a one-point-per-game difference from last season.

“We’ve got a group of kids that are playing very hard,” said Verbanic, whose team will host Robinson on Friday. “If you watched us [against Chantilly], the one thing we have is kids playing as hard as they can play.”

<b>PRIOR TO THE GAME</b>, Chantilly coach Mike Lalli expressed a belief that his team needed to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of penalties that it took against Westfield. But in the first half, Chantilly was whistled for five infractions, three of which were personal fouls.

Still, with the Chargers (3-1, 0-1 Concorde) trailing by seven after halftime, Strittmatter and running back Torrian Pace (15 carries, 118 yards) couldn’t coordinate a handoff and Westfield ultimately recovered the fumble.

With two touchdown passes from Fenyak sandwiched between a three-and-out drive for Chantilly, Westfield stole the momentum of the game and the upper hand within the Concorde District.

“We started falling apart after the fumble,” Lalli said. “I don’t know if it was just because they were so worked up, but it just kept getting worse. And the big thing is, we made so many mistakes, there’s not one to key on.”

Fortunately for Westfield, after a hard fought win against a neighborhood rival, the Bulldogs had four players and a coach that no member of the media had trouble keying on.