In the opening night for high school football, New Milford had their way, beating Pompton Lakes, 43-6, on a muggy and buggy night.
New Milford scored on their first possession when quarterback Brian Mackey stepped out of the pocket and raced 57 yards for the score. I thought he was about to be sacked and thought he was holding on to the ball too long, but when he took off, nobody was there and he outran everyone to the end zone. Mackey hooked up with Branden Flecha for a 57-yard score on their next possession for a 14-0 lead midway through the quarter.
New Milford looked like they would score another touchdown, but settled for a 18-yard field goal from Brian Johnson to make it 17-0 midway through the quarter. Pompton was moving the ball on their next drive, but turned the ball over on downs with 30 seconds left in the half.
New Milford came out with the ball in the third quarter and Mackey threw for another score, this time to Tyler Picinic for a 48 yards and a 24-0 lead. Pompton answered back when Frank Negrini took the ensuing kickoff and flew straight up the middle for an 87-yard touchdown as if he was shot out of a cannon, making it 24-6 a minute and a half into the quarter. The Cardinals tried a squib kick that was a line drive to the New Milford player who recovered the ball at the 50. After a screen to John DeSena for 20 yards, Bart Nativo went around the left side and raced 30 yards for a touchdown and it was 30-6. The Knights added another score when Mackey found Flecha a second time for 26 yards, making it 36-6.
The Knights added their final score when Michael Hartman scored from nine yards out to make it 43-6 and put the game on a running clock.
New Milford was solid and did things well as five different players scored touchdowns. Nativo is a good runner; small, but he knows how to squeeze through small cracks and get yardage. Mackey, a senior, had a strong debut by throwing for three scores and running for another. Their defense at times was suffocating against the run. Overall, a good start to the season.
Pompton Lakes is a team in transition. They started three sophomores on the line and one at quarterback in Mike Eberhart. Early in the game, he looked like a sophomore, but he showed signs of progress as the game progressed. The line had a difficult time against the New Milford defense and star running back Frank Negrini had no room to run. Later on, some holes developed and he gained yardage. Another sophomore, Dan Malkinski, started at linebacker and had a few carries late in the game, showing promise, as the Cardinals played hard to the end.
New Milford looked like a contender tonight and Pompton may improve as the season progresses, but they will be good the next two years.