WESTFIELD, Mass. -- It was the Rashaun Rivers show Friday at Westfield’s Bullens Field as the No. 2 Bombers routed third-seeded East Longmeadow in Western Mass. Division 2 Semifinal action.
Rivers scored racked up 222 yards and scored five times to power Westfield to a 49-26 win that was much more dominant than the final score indicated.
Westfield moves on to face top-seeded Springfield Central, winners over Longmeadow in the region’s other Division 2 semifinal Friday.
Rivers broke East Longmeadow’s collective back with a pair of impressive touchdown runs early in each half.
After the Spartans scored the game’s first points, Rivers scored from 60 yards out on the game’s very next play. He kept the momentum in Westfield’s corner early in the third quarter with a 63-yard run on the Bombers’ first offensive play of the half.
“Rashaun had a great game,” said Westfield head coach Bill Moore. “He had some tremendous runs and refused to go down.”
After a fumble on their first offensive possession, Westfield went on to score on its remaining seven series.
“We just played better this time around,” Moore said in regards to the team’s earlier victory over East Longmeadow. “We got better throughout the course of the week.”
Ben Geschwind added two first-half touchdowns and 41 yards on the ground while quarterback Jake Toomey ran for 94 yards.
East Longmeadow, which ends its postseason run at 6-3, was powered by Mike Maggipinto, who ran for 163 yards and a touchdown. John Bortolussi added 107 yards and a score.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH
Westfield had an emotional team huddle following the victory and it’s easy to understand why.
The game was the last the team will play at home this season --- no matter how far they march in the postseason. It’s the last time a very dedicated group of seniors will play in front of the home crowd and it was also the last home game of Moore’s tenure.
“It’s been a great season,” Moore said. “I’ll look back at it when it’s all said and done and feel great about what we’ve done. Tonight, we’re going to enjoy this one.”
It was equally emotional for the group of veterans on the field.
“We worked since we were freshmen for this very night,” said linebacker Noah Swords, who recorded three sacks and gained pressure on the quarterback all night. “We had to do whatever it took to win. You don’t feel pain, you don’t feel anything. You just feel great.”
The semifinal win sets up a chance at redemption for the Westfield Bombers.
The only blemish in an otherwise terrific season came last week in a blowout loss to Central.
Fortunately for Westfield, it gets a chance to erase that blemish next week in the sectional title game.
“We were disappointed in how we played last week,” Moore said. “I think all of us are honored to have the opportunity to go play them again.”
Westfield was in it in last week’s matchup late in the first half before a big stop on fourth-and-goal swung the momentum.
“The bottom line for us is that we just have to play better,” Moore said.