MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. – The Westlake High School football team had just completed a dominating performance against Roosevelt on Saturday, but, despite seven rushing touchdowns and a dominant ground game, none of the running backs wanted to take any credit after the 47-12 win.
“All the credit goes to the offensive line,” said senior running back Dan Bassi. “When you’ve got those holes and those cutback lanes, it’s just a no-brainer: run to green grass. And that’s what I tried to do.”
Bassi’s teammate in the backfield, John Ray Policarpio, praised his blockers, as well.
“Our line just did great blocking. That’s all I can say,” Policarpio said. “It’s all up to the line. Without the line, I couldn’t have done anything.”
The Wildcats jumped on Roosevelt early, particularly Bassi, who scored the first two Westlake touchdowns and set up the third with a big gain, all of which occurred in the first quarter. The senior said the early lead was crucial to the team’s success on Saturday.
“When you get up early, it just raises the whole morale of the team,” Bassi said. “It gives confidence to the defense, and they did a great job, by the way. So getting up early is definitely important. We wanted to score early.”
Bassi shredded the Indians’ defense throughout the afternoon, including a 60-yard touchdown run in the first quarter that made it 14-0 in Westlake’s favor. The coaches pulled Bassi out of the game after some soreness in his side, as the Wildcats had a comfortable lead and did not want to take any chances with the senior’s health.
The rest of Westlake’s rushing attack did its share, as well. Policarpio broke free twice in the second quarter for a pair of rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Chris Gorman punched it in from third and inches in the first quarter a few plays after a big run by Bassi. And Jake Carpenter added another rushing score on Westlake’s first possession of the second half.
The balanced rushing attack is something Bassi said the Wildcats would try to perpetuate throughout the season.
“That’s why I think we’re going to be so successful,” Bassi said. “We have a lot of depth in our backfield. We’ve got a lot of people who can run the ball. We’ve got good athletes.”