Top: Westfield Junior quarterback Ryan Pepiot delivers a pass to wide receiver Nick Henderson in Saturday’s Green and Gold football scrimmage. Bottom: Senior IU-commit Jacob Robinson (55) had a good scrimmage with six tackles and two sacks.
The Times photos by Josh Ellis
By Josh Ellis
WESTFIELD - The 2013 5A state runner-up Westfield Rocks got a tease of what's in store for their upcoming football season during the Green-Gold scrimmage on Saturday night.
The Rocks' biggest obstacle this off-season was replacing a 2013 class congested with many top senior players headed for college.
On the offensive end, the Rocks lost their star quarterback Nick Ferrer, who signed to play at the University of Saint Francis. Zane Burtron also graduated and leaves big shoes to fill for the offensive line, and will go on to play at Olivet Nazarene University. Both were members of the South All-Stars in the IFCA North-South Football Game this summer.
The Rocks also will lose some firepower at wide receiver, led by Ball State commit Devin Reece.
The defense returns only two starters - defensive end Jacob Robinson and linebacker Matt Crupi. They fueled the Rocks' defense in the scrimmage. Robinson, committed to play for IU next year, recorded six total tackles and two sacks. Crupi had just two tackles but had the play of the night with a 42-yard interception return for a score.
"This offseason we've basically been working on technique and fundamentals for all of our players. We've tried to find out who's going to replace the guys we lost," said head coach Jake Gilbert.
Six-foot junior Ryan Pepiot showed promise at quarterback, going 13-of-19 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the Gold-Green scrimmage game. Sophomore quarterback Andrew Sweet, who led Westfield's 7-on-7 team to nationals, finished the night 7-of-10 for 50 yards with one TD and one interception.
Pepiot will have a strong supporting cast of receivers, led by 6-foot senior Nick Henderson. Henderson had four catches for 83 yards and one touchdown in the scrimmage. Senior Ben Lotfalian and junior Milo Beam will also help carry the load at wide receiver.
Top returnee Elvin Caldwell also returns at running back, where he replaced injured Frank Grimes early in the season.
"I thought we had some receivers make some explosive plays down the field which was good. Quarterback play was also really good," said Gilbert.
The new faces proved they not only belong, but also can excel at the tasks at hand.
Gilbert was certainly proud of his team's performance, stating, "When we played some of our older guys in there together they did a good job. All in all I'm pretty happy, we came out healthy, and we learned a lot about our team."