WESTFIELD – It is often said that history repeats itself. In this case, that would likely suit the Westfield High School football team just fine.
Last season, Westfield swept Minnechaug, eliminating the Falcons in a West Division 2 semifinal 27-6 and then demoralizing them 27-18 on Thanksgiving Day.
Westfield senior quarterback Mike Nihill scored three touchdowns in each meeting, tossing a pair and rushing for one in the postseason matchup while rushing for two TDs and passing for another in the holiday contest.
While Nihill has since graduated, a young, savvy signal caller has exceeded expectations left by Nihill and Austin St. Pierre before him.
Westfield sophomore Matt Adamites directed his team to a 5-3 record this season, producing several multi-touchdown efforts, winning a high-scoring shootout on the road, and leading a thrilling overtime victory.
Adamites had consecutive five-touchdown outings, passing for three touchdowns and rushing for two others in a 42-14 rout of East Longmeadow before passing for four touchdowns and rushing for another against Agawam the following week, a 46-6 victory.
While a 35-14 loss to Chicopee Comp knocked Westfield back a bit in the standings, it did not shake the team’s confidence. One week later, Adamites scored six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) as the Bombers nipped the Longmeadow Lancers 46-40 in a double overtime thriller.
In Week 8, Westfield and Holyoke combined for 18 touchdowns. In the end, the Bombers tipped the scales in their favor, winning 69-54. It was a four-touchdown effort from Adamites that proved to be the difference, three of which came via the air. Running backs Nick Clauson and Chris Barber, much like they have done all season, provided the boost for the ground game.
“Matt Adamites is more mature on the field than his grade indicates,” Westfield football head coach Rob Parent said. “He just works really hard, he’s dedicated … and understands what we’re trying to do. He understands the big picture, and that focusing on the smaller pictures makes it much easier.”
Adamites has utilized his running backs and deployed receivers William Brewster and C.J. Flores-Skribiski all season long. They and others will be called upon when fourth-seeded Westfield (5-3) and No. 1 Minnechaug (7-1) meet in the semifinals Friday in Wilbraham. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.
“This is the best Minnechaug team I have seen since I’ve been coaching,” Parent said.
Westfield’s head coach said this year’s opposing squad is a far more balanced one than his team has faced in previous seasons. Minnechaug boasts two extremely talented wide receivers, and of course, a quarterback in Anthony Izzo, who Parent said “can sling it.”
“Their offensive and defensive line is tremendous,” Parent said. “They returned a lot of players, and they all got better. …They’re going to present quite the challenge. …We’re going to have to choose our spots.”
Turnovers, as they always do, will also likely go a long way in determining the final outcome of the game. More often than not when a team wins the turnover battle, they win the game.
“It’s cliche, but it’s going to come down to who runs the ball effectively and who makes the most mistakes,” coach Parent said. “Both teams were in this same spot last year. It’s about minimizing the effects of some bad plays. Whoever can move on and keep their composure, that team is going to have an edge. Everybody’s excited. It’s the playoffs.”