Games 3 and 4 at Rutgers
Game 3: Northern Highlands vs. Somerville – Northern Highlands was first on the board when Nick Branca scored on a 13-yard run. Somerville answered two drives later when Mike Miller hit Jaimen Bryant for an 11-yard score, making it 6-6. An exchange of touchdowns in the second quarter gave Highlands a 13-12 halftime lead. Somerville went in front early in the third quarter, 20-13, but it was all Highlands after that. Enzo Arjona threw for two touchdowns and rushed for the last one to make it 32-20.
Northern Highlands dominated the last 21 minutes of the game. The prime mover was Arjona, who passed for over 200 yards and rushed for 81. Branca rushed for 124 to assist Arjona. The Highlanders imposed their will on Somerville in the second half and it was a team effort all the way. They rushed for 233 yards and the defense held Somerville to -2 yards rushing.
Somerville has many players back from last year, but they are a different team without AJ Pena and Cookie Desiderio. What stood out the most to me was that -2 yard rushing I mentioned earlier. That has to improve if they are going to beat good teams.
Game 4: Rumson-Fair Haven vs. Wall – Rumson-Fair Haven put in a dominating performance in their 35-0 win over Wall from start-to-finish. It was a “wow” performance and Wall simply ran into a buzz saw.
RFH had four touchdowns on four drives in the first half and the defense allowed only one first down to that point. The offensive line of left tackle Charlie Pearson, left guard Patrick Malpass, center George Clough, right guard Dan Gredel, and right tackle Christian Smith set the tone and they were physical, as was the rest of the team. Quarterback Colin Kennedy and running back Geoff Schroeder were also instrumental. The defense was all over the place, aggressively running to the ball. It was arguably the most dominant performance since the Don Bosco days of 10-15 years ago. All I can say is “wow!” Or as one coach said, “man, they’re good!”
Wall is a good team, but they were dominated by a team that was great tonight. As that same coach once said, “there’s not much you can do when you’ve been hit by a Mack truck!”