Caldwell Emerges Victorious to Secure Spot In Group 2 Championship
The battle of Group 2 undefeateds came to a head in the Group Semifinals. The Caldwell Chief’s explosive offense took on the Westwood Cardinal’s vaunted defense with a trip to the first-ever Group 2 Championship and Caldwell’s state best 26-game unbeaten streak on the line. The game did not disappoint, with a tense defensive struggle coming down to the last few drives of the fourth quarter. In the end, the Chiefs would continue their winning ways and secure their spot in the Championship with a 13-7 win over the Cardinals.
Westwood struck first and fast, with Jack Dugan scoring on a dominant 17-yard run where three Caldwell defenders could not bring him down. Dugan, the state’s leading scorer, hit the PAT for the 7-0 lead. The rest of the half would not see much more offensive explosiveness, with a defensive struggle taking hold. Both teams locked up the opposing offenses and Westwood rendered Caldwell super-athlete Harry Boland a non-factor. Westwood held their lead going into halftime with the defense leading the way.
The second half started similarly to the first. Caldwell received the kickoff and scored almost immediately. Quarterback Luke Kurzum connected with Lucas Lattimer for a 79-yard strike to tie the game. The defenses would then go back to work, with neither team having an outright advantage. Caldwell threatened in the middle of the fourth quarter, but Sean Murtagh could not tame the cold, windy weather on his field goal attempt. The disappointment of the miss would not last long, as the Chiefs’ defense went to work and got the ball right back. Caldwell marched into the red zone and Harry Boland made his biggest offensive contribution of the day. Boland assumed the position of lead blocker on a jet sweep and threw a critical block around the five yard line, allowing Louie Anemone to walk into the endzone untouched to give Caldwell their first lead of the day.
Down 13-7, Westwood faced fourth down around midfield. Electing to go for it with their backs against the wall, quarterback Robbie Carcich and wide receiver Colby Laughton could not connect on a throw that would have put Westwood in the redzone. Caldwell would take back over with around three minutes on the clock and the dilemma of three Cardinals’ timeouts still on the board. On third-and-seven, Kurzum tucked the football and hit a spin move before coming down right at the marker. This one was so close that the referees called for the sticks for a final decision. The ball was inches short, giving the Chiefs a decision to make. Electing to go for it, Caldwell turned to the classic quarterback sneak and Kurzum powered through the line for the first down. This officially sealed the game, with Kurzum’s second half resiliency sending the Chiefs to Rutgers.