Westwood NJ Football wants to finish ‘unfinished business’ by 2022


Westwood will begin the 2022 football season at Rutgers University. The idea is to go back there in December.

The Cardinals have been one of the top public school programs of the last few decades and their roster (in the low 60s) is a testament to how much football resonates in the area.

Coach Dennis Hurd has built on that tradition with a .672 winning percentage and six playoff trips in seven years. All that remains is to bring a sixth state title to the city of Washington.

“We feel like it’s unfinished business,” Hurd said. “We have arrived at [sectional] Midway through the finals and we want to keep going. There’s no reason to knock on the door for a state championship.

This year, the Road to Piscataway begins at SHI Stadium at the Rambler on Raritan. The Cardinals (7-4) will be tested right away when they take on Shore Regional.

Hurd has been the bully on the team this season and it’s not hard to see why. The Cardinals have one of the best offensive duos in quarterback Robbie Karcich and senior wide receiver Colby Laughton.

Karsich entered the lineup in the second week of last year when a teammate tested positive for Covid, making him the first sophomore to run the Cardinals’ offense in at least a decade. He answered the call by leading Westwood in rushing and throwing for 1,346 yards and 15 touchdowns.

“He’s a winner on both sides of the ball,” Hurd said. “As a quarterback, he has good touch and a good feel for the game.”

Many of the same traits apply to Laughton, who has caught more passes than anyone else in North Jersey over the past two seasons.

The tradition

Westwood has won five sectional titles in the modern era (1974-present) and each has come since the turn of the century.

The last were in 2013 and 2014 under now Bergen Catholic coach Vito Campanile.

The test

During Campanile’s tenure, the Cardinals soared to the top scoring season in program history. The Cardinals seem to have designs on getting back there with what Hurd calls the best offense since taking over.

The biggest question is how the defense will respond after allowing at least 30 points in four games last year, including a season-opening loss to league rival Ramsey.

“He was the leader of the class last year,” Hurd said of Ramsey. They are the team we have to go through to reach our goal.

Expectations

Westwood could contend for a sectional title with a senior class that knows what it takes at the varsity level. Hurd praised the team for its “all-around” mentality during the 6:30 a.m. workout.

The coaching staff got a pleasant surprise when senior Anthony Sabatella returned from an ACL injury to fill a hole at running back. Senior linebackers Yanni Konstantinides and Jack Makdis and senior linebacker Chris Picknick also add value and experience to the lineup.

“The kids are willing to take a step to be as good as they can be,” Hurd said. “They know there are no shortcuts. They’re willing to work.”

2022 schedule

September 2: At Shore Regional, Rutgers

September 9: by Dumont

September 16: River Dell vs

September 23: with Mahwah

September 30: On Ramsay

October 7: Demarest vs

October 14: Lakeland vs

October 21: in Ridgefield Park

Sean Farrell is a high school sports reporter for NorthJersey.com. Subscribe today for live scores, breaking news and analysis from our team of Varsity Aces. Subscribe to our newsletter and download our app to get the latest news straight to your inbox.

Email: farrells@northjersey.com

Twitter: @seanfarrell92





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