WESTFIELD - Bob North had planned to sleep late last Saturday morning, but his cell phone wouldn't allow it.
"I made the mistake of not turning it off,'' he said.
So, one by one, the Westfield football coach was awakened by a steady stream of text messages, all meant to congratulate the Wolverines on their stunning, 27-0, victory at Southwestern the night before in a Class C South game.
Westfield football coach Bob North celebrates in the closing moments of last Friday’s 27-0 victory at Southwestern, which snapped the Trojans’ 29-game home win streak. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
The win not only evened Westfield's record at 1-1 in the division, but it also snapped the Trojans' 29-game home winning streak that dated to September 2006.
Even the most ardent Wolverines' supporters couldn't believe it.
"Even my neighbors didn't go to the game because they thought we'd lose,'' senior Cameron Wright said.
Added North: "I had some people say, 'I opened the paper and I couldn't believe what I read.'''
But it was true.
The Wolverines, behind a brilliant game by senior Mike Okerlund, strong play by their offensive line and a stout defensive effort, posted a shutout against one of the state's finest programs.
"There's probably not more of a class act than (Southwestern coach) Jay Sirianni,'' North said. "It was neat to maybe earn his respect. It was one of those things, looking back, where it's not like we got a lucky play here or a lucky play there. We outplayed them in most phases of the game. That made me excited that my kids could play at that level for four quarters, and that was fun.''
The player who may have had the most fun was Okerlund. It began when he returned the opening kickoff 88 yards that led to a first-possession touchdown and it continued throughout the balmy evening. By night's end, Okerlund had rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns, caught a pass for another score and made an interception.
"It finally all came together for Mike,'' North said.
A year ago, North wanted to utilize Okerlund's talents more, but the teenager struggled with the reads a running back has to make on the fly.
Not so in 2012.
"He's really fast, you can't arm-tackle him, he catches the ball well and he's a good special-teams player,'' North said. "There were a couple times last year when we thought he was finally going to break out and it didn't happen. To have it happen this year against a team like that this early in the year was good because, as good as Mike is, I don't think the confidence factor is there yet. But after having a game like that it will be more of a factor.''
Senior quarterback Dylan MacCubbin had the best seat in the house to watch Okerlund do his thing.
"I kept giving Mike the ball and he kept making the right cuts and bouncing off guys,'' MacCubbin said. "He worked so hard in the offseason for that moment and it really showed because he outplayed everyone.''
The defense, which gave up 331 yards and 34 points in a loss to Allegany-Limestone in the season opener, bent, but didn't break, against Southwestern.
Now, the Wolverines have to turn the page as they look to Saturday's non-league game at Sherman, which is ranked 20th in the latest New York State Sportswriters Association Class D poll.
"It's tough to come off a big win and be focused,'' North admitted, "but Sherman is undefeated, they've won two games in a row and it's kind of a rivalry. It's close - it's up over the hill - and the Ripley kids (who are also part of the Wildcats' team) are right down the road, so, hopefully, we come out and play the way we did this week with the intensity we did last week."
If that happens, Westfield will be a team to be reckoned with for the next two months.
"This was just a statement that we can play with anyone,'' Okerlund said.