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Speedy Kyle Teel leads Mahwah past Westwood 28-20

Mahwah (4-2) senior quarterback Kyle Teel said it’s not how you start but how you finish. After having a 27-yard touchdown run that was wiped out by an illegal chop block penalty in the first quarter against Westwood (5-2) on a chilly Saturday night at Egidio Caporale Stadium (Mahwah High School) Teel’s ensuing pass would be picked off by Cardinals defensive back Sean Pampin returning the ball to the Thunderbirds 41-yard line. Two plays later Westwood quarterback Ian Borgensen blasted through the line on the way to a 15-yard touchdown run.

However, Teel regained his composure and aided by excellent starting field position on a kickoff return from Joe Salute to the 49-yard line. Engineering a 10-play, 51-yard drive that consumed  nearly six minutes of the clock Teel connected on a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Scott Tremblay with 58 seconds remaining. 

Late in the second quarter special teams played a pivotal role as Mahwah junior Tyler Kittle blocked a punt. With less than two minutes left and starting at the Westwood 49-yard line it just five plays for the Thunderbirds to find the end zone with Teel rolling  out of the pocket and firing a 25-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Nick Peltekian with 28 seconds left on the clock. Going into the locker room Teel showcased his skills on the ground carrying the ball 16 times for 77 yards while the Mahwah defense limited Borgensen to 21 yards rushing and 11 yards passing.

“I just give credit to my offensive lineman, all I had to do was run and they did the hard work with the blocking,” said Kyle Teel. “We went into halftime and wrote some things down on the board that we need to get better with and went out and executed.”

Receiving the second half kickoff, Westwood strung together an impressive drive marching 71 yards in 11 plays that ate up almost six minutes of the clock resulting in Borgensen hitting tight end Kevin Ranoff on a 16-yard scoring pass. On the ensuing Thunderbirds offensive series, Teel electrified the home crowd on Senior Night rumbling 71 yards down the left sidelines for the score. 

With the Cardinals forced to punt, Mahwah started out at its own 20-yard line and Teel provided another signature highlight reel moment scampering 80 yards to the house. In the fourth quarter, the Westwood offense managed to push the ball into Thunderbirds territory but on fourth down the defense came up with a big stop on fourth and three at the 40-yard line. 

Getting the ball back with less than six minutes left, Westwood started at its own 20-yard line. Appearing to punt the ball away on fourth and 12 at the 18, the Cardinals gambled on a fake punt and found success as Sean Pampin completed a 29-yard pass to Silvio Piccinich. Five plays later Borgensen scored his second touchdown of the game plowing ahead on the one-yard quarterback keeper with less than two minutes remaining but the extra point was botched leaving the score at 28-20.

Attempting the onside kick, the first time resulted in offsides on Westwood and with re-kicking the ball ended up with another penalty in an illegal touch assessed against the Cardinals special teams. Westwood would get one more offensive possession but Nick Peltekian sealed the victory with an interception on third down. Teel finished the game with 23 rushes for 232 yards. Borgensen passed for 111 yards and rushed for 77 yards while the Mahwah defense limited Cardinals running back Joe Giordano to 12 yards on the ground. In the past two games Westwood had tallied 76 points.

“We trust each other, played out butts off every day and left it all out on the field and did that tonight,” Teel said. 

Mahwah Head Coach Chris Diaz on the victory, “This senior class has never beaten Westwood before and knew the league title would go through them and had to come out and beat them on our field. It was senior night and the kids had a little bit of momentum and said if we didn’t win we may never play on this field again. We had a lot of things to help motivate us and play well.”

“Kyle Teel is a really good player, good kid and we believe is one of the best players on the field and gave him as many touches as possible to help us win games and came back with two big plays and we’ll take it.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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