After giving up 40 points in an opening game loss to Chelmsford last week, the Westford Academy football team came into Friday night's home opener against Catholic Memorial with a chip on its shoulder.
"We knew we had to do better," said senior quarterback/defensive back Justin Mount. "Giving up 40 points (to Chelmsford) was unacceptable last week. We knew we were better than that and we wanted to prove that tonight."
Mount led the charge on both sides of the ball, rushing 14 times for 171 yards and a touchdown, while spearheading a spirited Grey Ghost defensive effort by intercepting a pass and recovering a fumble. But Mount wasn't the only defensive hero for Westford, as junior linebacker Jake Martin and senior linebacker Andrew Dunne both came up with key interceptions, while senior captain Nathan Tashjy and junior defensive lineman Matt Cardeiro recorded two sacks each.
Dunne's interception was the the biggest defensive play of the game, as he picked off Catholic Memorial quarterback Pat Shore at midfield late in the third quarter and returned the ball 45 yards for a touchdown.
Junior linebacker Alex Antes also had a standout defensive game, coming up with several bone-jarring tackles and blocking a Shore pass in a crucial fourth down situation.
"Our entire front seven played great," Mount said afterward. "We knew we were better than what we showed last week and we proved it by putting up a zero against a great team."
WA head coach Rich McKenna agreed with his quarterback.
"That (Chelmsford) game wasn't as bad as the score made it look," McKenna said. "We gave Chelmsford the ball inside the five-yard-line twice last week. We knew we were better than that. We knew we were a good defensive team so we just told the kids to wash that one away and get after it this week."
Westford held Catholic Memorial to just 33 rushing yards on 22 attempts, and while Shore completed 12 of 29 passes for 176 yards, the Grey Ghosts intercepted him three times, sacked him four times and forced him to fumble away the ball on his team's final drive. Mount (who else?) came up with the fumble recovery to seal the win.
"Justin had an outstanding game," McKenna said. "He did a little bit of everything. He's a special kid. I've coached a lot of talented kids in my 12 years here and he's definitely one of the best."