The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

The Student News Site of Westfield High School

Hi's Eye

Not all heroes wear capes; some wear jerseys

Photo by Sara Burrick
Police vs. firefighters at Kehler in a friendly match

In the Westfield community, local police and firefighters are vital pieces to keeping the town safe. Whenever someone is in trouble or in need of help, they are the first people residents call. One may wonder what the police and firefighters do during their off hours when they are not out protecting the lives of others. Well the answer is simple: flag football. 

The first annual Westfield Police Benevolent Association and Firefighter Mutual Benevolent Association flag football tournament took place on Nov. 18 at Kehler Stadium.  The gates opened at 1:00 p.m for the spectators to come and watch the game. 

Although both departments did have people on duty, a lot of their staff donned football jerseys and partook in a series of mini football games in hopes to bring the town together. Both departments played against each other along with the PAL organization and volunteer high school students. 

Event coordinator, Police and Student Resource Officer Nick Calello said, “It’s our first time doing this and hopefully we really brought the community together and have that interaction between the police and the firemen to show we are one and not divided.” 

Upon arrival, fans were immediately greeted with multiple cop cars flashing their lights and big fire trucks in front of the entrance to attract attention towards the event.  At the gates, the SGA, Westfield PBA and FMBA were selling merchandise to fund each department’s needs. There was also a 50/50 raffle with a prize of $67, a DJ and free hot dogs from Ferraro’s sold at the snack shack to get the audience involved as well. 

Even if the air was brisk, that did not stop each team from performing to the best of their abilities. The series of games started with the firefighter team and police team playing two PAL teams in two 20 minute matches, allowing the younger kids in Westfield to partake in the event. The WPD beat the first PAL team twice, with a score of 18-12 and then 18-0, while the WFD won and tied the second PAL team 18-12 and then 12-12. 

Police Chief Christopher Battiloro said, “I’m from Westfield and a lot of these guys are from Westfield. We played football on this field and it is nice to come back on Kehler field and play again.” 

The second game consisted of two high school student teams going head-to-head in a 6v6 in the 50-yard zone. Although they had a few participants drop out before the event started, that did not affect their game plan. The friendly match ended in a score of 21-14 with both teams coming off the field with smiles on their faces. 

The third game was the main event. As the PBA and FMBA lined up on the field, each team was there to win. As the commentator cracked inside jokes between each department, a strong sense of community lingered throughout Kehler. With every push, shove and flag pull also came a set of fist pumps given by the opposing team. No matter which department they were a part of, the police officers and firefighters came together in the end to celebrate their dedication and accomplishments in Westfield, even if the cops won the actual game with a score of 19-7, advancing to play the high school students.

Firefighter Joe Stulec said, “We tried to win and the chiefs had a good game plan but we didn’t do that. We had a lot of fun and it was good to have both teams out there. We always work together so we might as well have fun together too.” 

In the final game, the police and high school students geared up to play. The police looked to keep an undefeated record. In the end, the students came out with a win of 14-7, being the ones to take home the trophy. 

WHS senior Michael Marshall said, “Me and my buddies had a ton of fun playing against Officer Nick especially since we were trash talking back and forth the whole time. Our whole team had a great time and I think they did as well.”

As the day came to an end and the sun started setting, the PBA and FMBA ran off the field embracing one another and the town with a new sense of connection within the community. 

Executive Director Ronald Allen of the Westfield Police Department said, “This event was fantastic. I used to be a police officer in town but when you have two great groups of people come together to try and create a positive community and relation between kids and the town, I don’t think it gets any better than that. When we see this kind of stuff, it is exactly what we need to see in our town.”

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