Clifton 17 Eastside 14
Clifton’s defense made a stop on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line with sixteen seconds left in the game to beat Eastside, 17-14. Eastside was down 17-7 in the fourth quarter and fell one yard short of a comeback victory and this is the best game I have seen this year, so far.
First Quarter: After a Clifton punt, Eastside went on a six-minute drive, ending with a 2-yard touchdown from Amir Smith, who scooted just past the left pylon. The drive consisted of fifteen plays and covered 61 yards; eleven of those plays were runs by Smith. The big play on the drive was a 25-yard pass from Carnell Goodwin to Ahsin Jacobs. Clifton punted again with the ball just getting to the end zone to give Eastside the ball on the 20. On second down, the shotgun snap went past Goodwin and Clifton recovered on the 1-yard line. Jacob Maldonado scored on the following play to tie the game with 48 seconds left in the quarter.
Second Quarter: Clifton had the ball on the Eastside 44 after a punt. Two Maldonado runs gave the Mustangs the ball on the 18 and went in front, 10-7, on a 29-yard field goal by Ryan Lizner. Clifton had an onside kick just after that, with Nick Burgess recovering for the Mustangs on the Eastside 44. They made it as far as the seven, but a Bryan Feliciano run lost four yards on fourth down.
Third Quarter: Eastside came out with the ball, marched 79 yards on fifteen plays, consumed eight-and-a-half minutes, and came away empty-handed. Smith had ten carries on this drive, which picked up five first downs, but a 26-yard field goal attempt was not successful.
Fourth Quarter: Clifton went five minutes with a drive that was capped off with a 1-yard touchdown by Maldonado for a 17-7 lead with 6:28 left. Eastside came right back. After Goodwin connected with Jacobs for thirteen yards, he ran 19 yards to the Clifton 46. This led to a 36-yard scoring pass to Samar Harrison who ran over a Clifton defender and bounced off another, running down the right sideline to make it 17-14 with four minutes remaining. A Clifton punt gave the Ghosts the ball on their 46 with two minutes left.
Goodwin found Harrison for 15 and 13 yards down to the 28 with 1:03 left. A sack by Clifton’s Joe Abill lost seven yards for Eastside, but Goodwin ran 14 yards to make it third-and eight with 44 seconds left. Goodwin kept it again for 17 yards and first down on the 9-yard line for first-and-goal with 36 seconds to go. Goodwin found Jacobs for six yards to make it third down with 23 seconds left. Goodwin rolled right and was close to a touchdown, getting the ball past the pylon, but was ruled down at the 1-yard line with 16 seconds to go and made it fourth down. The Eastside sideline objected, saying he scored, but a video by nj.com showed Goodwin’s foot being out of bounds. On fourth down, Goodwin tried scoring on a sneak, but the middle of the Clifton defense pushed the interior of the Eastside line backwards and Goodwin had no chance. Clifton came away as the victor and the ringleader on that play was Ahmad Ramadan, followed by a host of Clifton defenders.
Summary: There weren’t many long runs in this game as the defenses weren’t allowing it. Clifton had one run more than ten yards and that went for 13. The Mustangs had three passes with more than ten, with those going 13,12, and 14 yards. Eastside through three quarters had four plays with more than ten yards: runs of 13 and 18 with passes of 25 and 21. In the fourth quarter, Eastside came up with seven plays that were more than ten yards and that fueled their comeback. Maldonado for Clifton and Smith for Eastside earned the yards they had: Maldonado with 89 and Smith with 90.
In the end, there were four moments that stood out.
- The snap from scrimmage that got past Goodwin with Clifton recovering that led to their first touchdown
- The eight minute drive for Eastside that ended with a missed field goal
- The second-to-last play when Goodwin stepped out of bounds at the one
- The final play when Clifton’s defense caved in the Eastside line to prevent the game-winning touchdown
All of those plays favored Clifton and that is why they won.
Clifton lineman Ahmad Ramadan on the game-saving play: “I shot through the A-gap, got hold of the quarterback, and was pushed from behind by the linebackers to bring him down.”