After trailing 7-0 at the half, New Milford scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to beat Pompton Lakes, 19-7.
First Quarter: Pompton Lakes came out firing right away when Mike Eberhart connected with Brian Woodard for 31 yards to the 24. Five plays later, Eberhart found Zack Smith in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. New Milford drove on their following series to the 15, featuring a 30-yard run by Donald Coaxum, but turned the ball over on downs. Their following possession also made it to the 15, but a Coaxum fumble was recovered by Pompton Lakes.
Second Quarter: This quarter was uneventful with the biggest play being an interception late in the quarter by New Milford’s Jais Juarbe.
Third Quarter: Pompton Lakes had a good chance to extend their lead when Eberhart completed a pass to wide open PJ Latora for 25 yards to the 20. After a second-and-5, two two negative plays and a 4-yard run by Eberhart on fourth-and-13 gave the ball to New Milford, who struck immediately. Their first play was a 56-yard run down the left sideline by Coaxum to the 25, followed by his 11-yard run to tie the game five plays later. Pompton Lakes was stopped on fourth down and Coaxum only needed one play, a 55-yard touchdown to put the Knights in front. The extra point was blocked by Zach Maksimiak and it was 13-7.
Fourth Quarter: New Milford’s next possession was eight plays and 43 yards with Coaxum scoring from three yards out with 7:37 left.
Summary: After a slow first half, New Milford got moving. After a three-and-out to start the third quarter, the Knights scored on their next three possessions and chose to run out the clock on their fourth. Coaxum gained 233 yards on 17 carries, with 176 on 11 carries coming in the second half. Shawn Mastropierro gained 69 yards on 12 carries and the Knights had 303 yards rushing. Defensively, their effort will be reflected when I analyze Pompton Laes’ performance. Linebacker Matt Gilmour was around the action most of the game, leading the way.
The offensive line of left tackle Darius Ferreras, left guard Jeremy Espinal, center Scott Mackey, right guard Doug Korzelius, and right tackle Nick Rajner enabled Coaxum and New Milford to run the ball successfully.
After a successful drive of 60 yards to start the game, Pompton Lakes only had 53 the rest of the way. The ground game gained 19 of those yards and 30 for the game. Including five sacks for 30 yards, the Cardinals had eleven rushes for negative yardage and only eight rushes had more than 4 yards.
New Milford head coach Bill Wilde: “We had bad field position in the first half and we hurt ourselves with penalties and kept beating ourselves. Once we got going, we did very well.”
New Milford running back Donald Coaxum: “I was nervous in the first half and made some mistakes. The game slowed down in the second half and I got used to it. The line blocked and I just ran”
New Milford linebacker Matt Gilmour: “We have youth on our team and want a championship; it’s a team effort.”