Stamford football, Presley, run past Westhill to keep Robotti Trophy

The Frank Robotti Trophy will remain with Stamford football for another year.

The Knights rode three long touchdowns from quarterback Ejai Presley, two rushing and one passing, and defeated city rival Westhill 33-6 on Thanksgiving at Westhill.

Stamford (4-6) has now won the past five meetings with Westhill (2-8) and owns a 18-8 advantage in the teams’ Thanksgiving series. The Robotti Trophy, which has been awarded since 1978, is given to the Stamford city champions.

The meeting between the rivals was the first for head coaches Donny Panapada of Stamford and Aland Joseph of Westhill, who are in their first years with their teams.

"The emotions were running high," Panapada said. "It’s my first time being involved in it on Thanksgiving. You could see the kids were in tune a little bit more and the same thing for the Westhill kids. Everybody wanted to play their 'A' game. The crowd was great on both sides and it’s good for the City of  Stamford for our kids to get out and be able to compete against some kids they know and grew up with and played against or with a few years back."

The Knights jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half.

Three plays into Stamford’s second possession, junior Camrin Jean Pierre, rushed around the edge and broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown 10 minutes into the game.

Two completions from Presley to Jean Pierre set up the Knights on the Westhill four-yard line, and Declan Nestor cashed in for a one-yard TD and a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

Presley scored Stamford’s third touchdown, faking a handoff and then bolting through the middle of the line for a 57-yard score with 8:39 to go in the first half.

"Ejai is a phenomenal athlete," Panapada said. "He’s a sophomore quarterback for us and he’s able to effect the game, not just throwing the ball but with his legs, and his escapability. He played well. We were able to make some plays, and it’s nice to have kids like that who, even if it’s not the way you draw it up, they’re able to make you look good. We have a few kids like that."

The Vikings’ picked up their lone touchdown, when quarterback Jordan Reyes hit Ty Hollar in the back corner of the end zone for a five-yard score just before halftime.

Stamford scored once in each of the last two quarters, with Presley hooking up with Brian Rose for a 49-yard passing strike, and then keeping the ball for a 40-yard rushing TD.

"It’s a good win for the program and to carry on the tradition of retaining the Robotti Trophy," Panapada said. "Ot’s nice that it’s staying at Strawberry Hill."; @dstewartsports


STAMFORD 7 14 6 6 - 33
WESTHILL 0 6 0 0 - 6

S - Camrin Jean Pierre 74 run (Jack Solomita kick)
S - Declan Nestor 1 run (Solomita kick)
S - Ejai Presley 57 run (Solomita kick)
WH - Ty Hollar 5 pass Jordan Reyes (kick blocked)
S - Brian Rose 49 pass Presley (pass failed)
S - Presley 40 run (pass failed)
Records: Stamford 4-6, Westhill 2-8