The following was submitted by Thomas Kane of the Junior Grey Ghosts. To submit your own content, e-mail the editor at [email protected]
The Westford Jr. Ghosts E Team punctuated this season’s stellar performance with a surprising undefeated romp through the Pop Warner “Baby Bowl” tournament in Roxbury last Saturday.
The Baby Bowl, held annually since 2009, attracts teams of mostly 7 and 8 year olds from Pop Warner programs throughout eastern Massachusetts for a tournament of four 15- or 20-minute mini-games on a shortened field.
The aim of the tournament, according to its organizers, is to “bridge the gap” between players from suburban E teams and their counterparts in cities such Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, and Brockton.
Showing the same determination they had all season, the Westford Jr. Ghosts emerged from the tournament with four decisive victories in four match-ups. Westford rolled through teams from Dorchester, Cambridge and Malden before facing the tournament hosts – a tough and talented Mattapan squad that was previously undefeated and considered to be one of the best E teams in the state.
Westford’s dynamic running game started clicking early despite the steady rain, as backs Bobby MacCormack, Matthew Morash, and Andrew Stodden popped through the line for long gains. By alternating backs and targeting inside and outside gaps, Westford’s offensive coach Bob MacCormack was able to keep opposing teams off-balance and grasping air when Westford’s runners streaked by.
With a combination of toughness and elusiveness, Stodden ran through two arm tackled and juked past two Cambridge defenders for a drive-capping score.
In a classic example of saving the best for last, Morash bulled through the Malden defense for one of the Jr. Ghosts’ best carries of the season. His gritty, awe-inspiring run drew gasps from the Westford bystanders – and groans from the other side of the field. Hit close to the line of scrimmage but refusing to go down, Morash fought through the initial contact and gained nearly 30 yards while dragging a host of Malden defenders to the goal line.
With disciplined offensive blocking from Carter Scanlan, TJ Kane, Ben Schaffer, Tony Babineau, Trey Durham, Xenia Khusid, Peter Burdin, and Tanner Whitehouse, Westford’s runners were able to pick gaps nearly at will. The line’s toughest test came against a strong and quick Mattapan defense, who clogged running lanes and disrupted handoffs with line penetration. But with the inside options closed, Bobby MacCormack found space on the outside for two long scoring sprints to put Westford ahead.
The Jr. Ghosts’ defense – anchored by Mason Bergeron, Odin Scott, Thurman Hargroves, Alex Wilson, Aiden Murphy, Jack Herrmann, and Chris Fahlman — secured the last victory of the day with tenacious, attacking play between the hash marks. Mattapan had some early success inside but after some adjustments by defensive coach Dave Silton, Westford’s line and linebackers began limiting gains to a few yards per carry. Westford’s Orion Saunders, Owen Crann, Quinn Reynolds and Kaden Silton sealed most attempts at wide sweeps, turning the Mattapan runners inside to face the pursuing Jr. Ghosts.
After the game, Head Coach Tom Kane told the ecstatic parents and players that the tournament marked the close of one of the most successful seasons in Westford Pop Warner history, and signals a solid foundation for the future.