WESTFIELD – The Westfield High School football team’s run for the ages has come to an end.
Shrewsbury sophomore quarterback Drew Campanale threw three touchdowns (8, 15, 54) and rushed for another to lead the Central Massachusetts champion Colonials past Western champ Westfield 42-12 in a Division 2 state semifinal Saturday at Westfield State University.
Campanale engineered an 80-yard scoring drive early in the first quarter, and Shrewsbury never looked back.
“That kid is tremendous, no question,” Westfield coach Robert Parent said of the sophomore field general. “They didn’t ask him to do too much but what they asked him to do he did a great job. He threw the ball great down the field for sure. He made some tremendous throws on third down, and we had some pressure on him and he still found a way to get the ball to open receivers.”
Both teams stalled on their opening drives, each going three-and-out. After that, Shrewsbury took off.
Shrewsbury put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive that chewed up more than five minutes and culminated in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Campanale to senior running back AJ Laramee with 1:34 remaining in the opening quarter.
After exchanging turnovers – Shrewsbury intercepted a pass and Westfield forced a fumble – the Bombers connected on a nice 28-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Austin St. Pierre to sophomore wide receiver Bailey Collier. St. Pierre found Collier streaking down the right sideline, hitting him in stride. Collier went in untouched.
The score came with 8:50 left in the second quarter. After a failed 2-point conversion, Westfield trailed 7-6.
Shrewsbury answered back.
On the next possession, Shrewsbury drove 65 yards in five plays. The Colonials scored on a 15-yard pass from Campanale to senior tight end Jared Godek with 6:41 left in the half. The extra point made it 14-6.
A short time later, Shrewsbury went up two touchdowns. The Colonials scored on a one-yard TD sneak by Campanale with 41 ticks left in the half.
Things did not get any easier for the home team.
Westfield went three-and-out to start the second half. Shrewsbury began its drive deep in Bombers’ territory. The Colonials marched the ball 38 yards in four plays, scoring on Laramee’s nine-yard run. The score, and subsequent extra point at the 8:31 mark made it 28-6.
A short time later, Shrewsbury scored the backbreaker on a long pass play when Campanale hit wide receiver Brian Moura for a 54-yard touchdown strike with 3:26 left in the third quarter. The Colonials led 35-6.
Shrewsbury’s Dasani Prideaux tacked on a 4-yard TD run with 5:38 remaining in regulation. Mark Blahut scored on a 33-yard touchdown run for Westfield with 3:52 left just before the sun set on the Bombers’ season.
“These seniors have nothing to hang their heads about,” coach Parent said. “You look at where we were two years ago and last year.”
Westfield went 0-14 in conference play during the 2014-15 seasons, but went 7-1 during the regular season this year. The Bombers only loss of the season came at the hands of the Central Golden Eagles in Springfield. They avenged that loss in the West Sectional semifinals, and went on to defeat the West Springfield Terriers in the finals to become champions of the West.
“Getting to this point has been remarkable,” coach Parent said. “The work that these guys put in really showed on the field, and it was just unfortunate we ran into a very good team this year.”
Westfield’s starting lineup took a hit early in the game when the finals unofficial MVP, Zach Adam, took a hit to the knee and was sidelined for the remainder of the afternoon.
“Injuries are part of football; penalties are part of football,” said Parent.
“They outplayed us in all three phases of the game. They limited their mistakes; we didn’t. And they were the better team today and they won.”