Westies best Lions (game story)

Senior tailback Ervin Phillips ran for five touchdowns, boosting the West Haven High football team to a 57-25 victory over Foran High on Sept. 20 at Ken Strong Stadium.

The Syracuse-bound Phillips carried the ball 23 times for 199 yards, while senior quarterback Duane Gary rushed for a pair of scores, as the Westies rolled to the Southern Connecticut Conference interdivision win.

“He’s got moves,” Foran High coach Bevino said of the 5-11, 174-pound Phillips.

Jake Kasuba completed 25-of-42 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. The junior also lost a fumble and had a tipped pass intercepted early in the third quarter that halted a Lion rally.

With Foran (1-1) trailing 42-19 at the break, Kasuba engineered a 10-play, 55-yard drive to set the Lions up inside the West Haven 5. On second-and-goal, Kasuba rolled left looking to throw to the end zone. His pass was tipped by John Brolet at the line of scrimmage and intercepted by Gary.

“We had a great drive going on,” Bevino said. “That was a touchdown [if not for Brolet’s tip].”

Foran’s defense held on the ensuing possession, turning West Haven over on downs in Lion territory.

Andrew Khon then scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to make it 42-25 with 3:53 left in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Lions got the rest of the way.

Phillips and Marshont Graham punched in rushing touchdowns to close out the victory, as West Haven leveled its record of at 1-1 following a 22-21 setback to Greenwich High on Sept. 15.

On second play from scrimmage, Phillips ripped off a 58-yard touchdown run to stake West Haven to a 7-0 edge. Fifty-one seconds into the contest, following the first of Tayvon Gibbs’ seven successful extra-point attempts, the Blue Devils had a lead they would not relinquish.

Foran regained possession just inside midfield after a big return by Nick Weissauer. After a 3-yard run by Stephen Longley, Kasuba hit Connor Cadrin for an 11-yard gain down to the West Haven 37.

Just as the drive was heating up, it was extinguished, as Kasuba had the ball stripped away on his dropback. West Haven’s Eli Gaskins recovered the fumble all the way back on the Foran 39.

West Haven kept the ball on the ground and, five plays later, Phillips rambled into the end zone from 5 yards out. After Gibbs’ PAT, the Westies led 14-0.

Longley and Kasuba connected for a 44-yard catch-and-run to ignite the next Foran possession. The drive was finished off two plays later, when Kasuba threw a 13-yard scoring strike to Zach White in the back of the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the Lions chasing a 14-6 deficit.

Phillips then made it 21-6 by capping a 9-play, 70-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard plunge. Foran followed with a three-and-out, before the Blue Devils pushed their lead to 28-6 on a 16-yard touchdown scramble from Gary.

The Lions took over with 54 seconds left in the opening frame and rolled 80 yards in 12 plays. Sean Deegan’s 9-yard touchdown reception from Kasuba then made it 28-12 with 9:55 left in the first half.

West Haven responded with a 26-yard scoring burst from Gary and Kasuba countered with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Cadrin. Sam Olsson’s PAT narrowed Foran’s gap to 35-19.

Phillips fourth touchdown of the first half, this time from 8 yards out, made it 42-19 at the break.

“We didn’t quit,” Bevino said. “They were fired up at halftime. We believed we could move the football. We just couldn’t stop them.”

With its power running game and ability to force key turnovers, West Haven controlled the second half and closed out the win.

Foran will host Sheehan High of Wallingford (1-1) on Friday night at the DeVito Sports Complex in an SCC Division II East matchup.

The Titans lost 48-13 to Amity of Woodbridge after they opened the season with a 63-26 win over Trinity Catholic of Stamford.