Westwood football puts the state on alert by knocking off Ramsey

RAMSEY − Westwood can now make a serious case to be ranked among New Jersey's Top 25 football teams.

“We’d like to think so, sure,” veteran coach Dennis Hard said. “We wouldn’t say no to that.”

The unbeaten Cardinals dominated previously-unbeaten Ramsey, 38-14, Friday night in the Super Football Conference American Red Division.

Seniors Jack Dugan and Colby Laughton each ran for two touchdowns to help Westwood (5-0) open a 38-6 lead after three quarters.

Laughton scored on runs of 3 and 17 yards. Dugan ran for scores of 79 and 32 yards, and he also kicked a 22-yard field goal and converted all five of his extra points.

Westwood High School hosts River Dell in a football game in Washington Township on Friday September 16, 2022. The Westwood Cardinals enter the field.
Westwood High School hosts River Dell in a football game in Washington Township on Friday September 16, 2022. The Westwood Cardinals enter the field.

Westwood scored on its first possession, as junior Robbie Carcich threw a 43-yard TD pass to junior Dave Gaboardi.

Asked for his initial thoughts, Ramsey coach Adam Baeira said, “I think we lost to a really good football team tonight."

Ramsey (4-1) scored in the second and fourth quarters. Senior Sean Hali scored on a 2-yard run, and senior Noah Laurino caught a 15-yard TD pass from senior Robert Fuerst.

What it means

Westwood moved into commanding position to clinch the SFC American Red Division outright and needs a win over Ridgefield Park on Oct. 21 to seal it. The Cardinals also continued to build toward earning a high seed and home-field advantage for the North Group 2 playoffs.

Lastly, Westwood could climb into the next USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey Top 25 rankings on Tuesday after debuting last week among four programs in "Others Receiving Votes."

Key play

On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Dugan ran for his 79-yard TD to extend Westwood's lead to 24-6. It was his first carry and the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder has surprising speed for a fullback and linebacker.

“The first half, we didn’t come out slowly, but we didn’t come out as quickly as we’d like,” Dugan said of the 17-6 halftime lead, "but the second half, starting with that [79-yard] run, we came out shooting.”

“We just got on his back and we rode him,” Hard said of Dugan. “That started the tempo for the second half.”

By the numbers

Westwood totaled 411 yards, with Dugan carrying nine times for 192 yards – all in the second half.

Ramsey was able to move the ball behind its stellar offensive line and totaled 233 yards, but Westwood's form tackling was exceptional and it only allowed one big play.

“Every single person on defense has varsity experience from last year,” Dugan said, “so everybody knows our defense very well and we played hard-nose.”

Westwood has outscored opponents, 203-21, and Ramsey represented its closest game of the season. The Rams entered averaging 41.5 points per game.

Next man up

Ramsey was without its top two running backs, junior Luca Gemma (shoulder) and senior Joey Lis (leg). They were injured during last week’s win at Ridgefield Park. Hali again ran well and rushed for 64 yards and the score.

“Injuries are part of the game, and that’s what coaching is about,” Baeira said. “It’s Week 5 and no one is healthy, and we happened to have two guys out, but that’s part of football.”

They said it

“These kids all played last year, and we had almost the whole team coming back,” said Hard, in his eighth season as Cardinals' coach. “So we got a year better, and we’re getting it done.”

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Westwood NJ football puts state on alert by knocking off Ramsey