Deerfield senior running back Matthew Fox
By Brad Harrison
PERRY -- Westfield's wait has come to an end.
The Hornets prevailed in overtime Friday against Deerfield-Windsor, turning away the Knights in overtime as Giles Amos intercepted a pass to touch off a jubilant celebration by Westfield and its fans in a thrilling 28-21 win.
The win improves Westfield to 6-1 overall and 2-0 in GISA Region 1-AAA, putting the Hornets in the drivers' seat for first place. Deerfield drops to 5-3.
"Finally, after nine years under the bus from them, we finally pulled through and played as a team and came out in overtime and beat them," Amos said. "It feels good."
The defensive stand came after Westfield scored first in overtime on a 23-yard run by Stuart Smith, who rushed for 131 yards and scored three of Westfield's touchdowns.
Westfield's defense came up with critical stops throughout the night. Although the Knights put 21 points on the board, three drives ended with field goal tries by Harry Vildibill, two of which were good.
"When it came down to it, we knew what was on the line," Amos said. "We came up and made a stop."
Westfield appeared to put the game away with 1:39 to play on a seven-yard run by Smith that was set up by a 58-yard run by Chandler Duggan, pushing the Hornets ahead 21-13.
But the Knights charged back. Facing a fourth and 13 from its own side of the field, a surprising run play to Matthew Fox was good for 35 yards, moving Deerfield-Windsor towards the end zone. On the next play, Austin Fallaw pulled in a pass from Tripp Presley, putting the ball at the one-yard line. There, the Knights scored from a yard out on a run by Fox with 18 seconds to play.
Needing a two-point conversion to send the game to overtime, the Knights got into the end zone on another run by Fox. Westfield had stopped the two-point conversion on the previous play, but the Hornets were penalized for having too many men on the field.
Fox rushed 23 times for 126 yards.
"I'm proud of them. We had a fourth and 12 and Fox got us down there. Fallaw made a great catch," Deerfield-Windsor head coach Allen Lowe said. "For us to be in overtime, I thought that was gravy. We just didn't quite finish it."
Despite running just eight offensive plays through the midpoint of the second quarter, Westfield led 14-3 thanks to big plays.
After the Knights drew first blood on a 45-yard field goal by Vildibill, the Hornets punched right back as Smith found an opening on the outside, racing 72 yards to the score. The Hornets struck again later in the quarter. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hooked up with Amos at receiver on a fade pass, and Amos got away from the defensive backfield to sprint 78 yards for an early 14-3 lead. Amos had four catches for 144 yards.
"We had some kids that played hard on both sides of the ball," Westfield head coach Ronnie Jones said. "They made some big plays. I know our kids played hard, they wanted this thing bad."