Games 1 and 2 at Rutgers
Game 1: Wood-Ridge vs. North Arlington – Wood-Ridge scored on their first three possessions for a 20-0 lead and kept that lead at halftime on their way to a 38-0 win. They opened the third quarter with another touchdown, recovered the ensuing squib kick, and scored two plays later on a 25-yard run by Gary Rowe. The Blue Devils closed the scoring early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard run by Michael Sarlo, his second score of the day. That score was set up by a 46-yard run by Nick Marchitelli.
Wood-Ridge did what I expected. This is an improving team that I see qualifying for the playoffs. Five different players scored touchdowns and the Blue Devils rushed for 302 yards, while the defense held North Arlington to -3 yards rushing.
North Arlington has its challenges ahead of them. There are some good players and junior quarterback Devin Rivas is somebody to build around.
Game 2: Bernards-Hillside – Bernard opened the game with a drive that consumed over nine minutes, but came away empty when they lost a yard on fourth down. They had another opportunity early in the second quarter and, again, there were no points. Hillside then struck when Caleb Salters found Justin Mays down the left sideline for an 81-yard touchdown. In the third quarter, Connor Laverty found Tommy Hanratty for 45 yards to the 15 and connected with Brady Walsh two plays later for a 21-yard touchdown. The Mountaineers scored the winning points on a Chris Dietrich completed pass to Aidan Brown for 30 yards to the 2-yard line, followed by a 1-yard sneak by Dietrich two plays later.
The story of the game was time of possession. Bernards had the ball for nearly 34 minutes. One player who stood out was running back Michael Leanza, rushing for 150 yards on 37 carries and showing no hesitation in his runs. It was a big win for the Mountaineers after losing their opener and because they have been unable to beat Hillside the last few years. Hillside just didn’t have the ball often enough to win the game, They have talent, but they will have to work on extending drives and having the defense get off the field when they need to.