Freshman QB Conlan leads West Haven football past Fairfield Warde

West Haven's Trevor Tompkins had 140 rushing yards and an interception in the Blue Devils hard-fought 27-20 win over Fairfield Warde Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

West Haven’s Trevor Tompkins had 140 rushing yards and an interception in the Blue Devils hard-fought 27-20 win over Fairfield Warde Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

Mike Cardillo / For Hearst CT Media

FAIRFIELD — The West Haven football team’s approach to offensive football in 2021 is decidedly old-school — run the ball, run the ball and run the ball some more.

And when the Blue Devils decide to pass, they go even older school — starting their first freshman quarterback since the mid-1960s.

On Friday night against Fairfield Warde, the West Haven plan worked well, piling up over 200 yards rushing offense along with freshman quarterback Nick Conlan throwing two touchdowns in a 27-20 victory at Tetreau/Davis Field.

“We think (our offense) suits us really well and now that Nick is throwing the ball well we have confidence he can do that, too,” West Haven coach Rich Boshea said.

By Boshea’s recollection, Conlan is the first freshman to start at quarterback for West Haven since 1964.

The Mustangs (0-4) scored first on a short Joe Valiante touchdown run, which the Blue Devils answered with Conlan’s 10-yard pass to Jamaine Galloway. It made it 7-6 in favor of Warde at the half.

The game changed quickly to start the third quarter.

Paul Williams scored from three yards out on West Haven’s first possession of the half. Warde fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which led to Conlan’s second touchdown pass — this time to Chauncey Evans to make it 21-7.

“I really thought we should have gone into the half up 21-0 and we didn’t,” Warde coach Duncan DellaVolpe said. “We’ve gotten better from where we started but we basically have to limit our mistakes to basically none.”

Down two scores, the Mustangs didn’t go quietly and responded on a 15-yard Lucas Coleman touchdown catch from Charlie Gulbin.

West Haven had trouble handling the next kickoff and took over deep in its own territory with the momentum shifting to Warde. Blue Devils junior Trevor Tompkins stopped that shift, turning a third-and-4 into a 77-yard run to set up Amir Nakome’s touchdown.

Tompkins led West Haven with 141 yards rushing, which also got valuable carries from Avian Evans and Devin Robinson.

“(Tompkins) is a really tough kid,” Boshea said. “His brother played for us last year and joined the service; they’re a good, tough West Haven family. I really like coaching him.”

Warde kept fighting and scored on a Gulbin 29-yard touchdown pass to Matt Selca to make it a one-score game in the fourth.

It was the first home game for Fairfield Warde since 2019.

The Mustangs honored a former player, Kevin Kuczo, who took his own life earlier this year. Students from Warde, Fairfield Ludlowe and Fairfield Prep packed the student section to form a “Teal Out” to honor suicide prevention.

“We had great support,” DellaVolpe said. “It’s more than just about the wins and losses. We’ve been dealt a really tough hand and I’m proud of the way we’ve handled it so far.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Trevor Tompkins, West Haven: The junior ran 18 times for 141 yards, including a key 77-yard run in the second half. He also had an interception on defense.

QUOTABLE

“Our offensive line is all seniors and all beasts — all dogs — they can’t stop our middle wedges, our sweeps … without our O-line we wouldn’t be like that.” — Tompkins

WEST HAVEN 27,

FAIRFIELD WARDE 20

WEST HAVEN 0 6 21 0 — 27

FAIRFIELD WARDE 0 7 7 6 — 20

FW—Joe Valiante 3 run (Daniel Becker kick)

WH—Jamaine Galloway 10 pass Nick Conlan (kick failed)

WH—Paul Williams 2 run Trevor Tompkins pass Conlan)

WH—Chauncey Evans 10 pass Conlan (Raul Sanchez kick)

FW—Lucas Coleman 15 pass Charlie Gulbin (Becker kick)

WH—Amir Nakome 8 run (pass failed)

FW—Matt Selca 29 pass Gulbin (kick failed)

Records: West Haven 3-1; Fairfield Warde 0-4