Stefano Montella rushed for 244 yards and four touchdowns (yardage courtesy of Joe Hofmann at Morris Sussex Sports), leading West Morris to a 34-10 victory over Morris Knolls in a battle of undefeated teams.
**Please note this is off the YouTube broadcast from Morris Sussex Sports.
First Quarter: Vinnie Desiderio made a leaping interception on the game’s first possession to give the Wolfpack the ball on its 32. Three plays later, Montella burst through a hole and cut left, racing along the sideline for a 62-yard touchdown. Knolls struck back on their second play when Ryan Wong took the pitch and headed along the right sideline before cutting left across the field for a 62-yard touchdown. After exchanging punts, West Morris had a fourth-and-three on their 31 and elected to go for it. John Rolli took the snap, but was stopped a yard short, giving Knolls the ball on the West Morris 33. Dom DelleMonache took the option pitch, went left, cut back, running along the hash marks to the 9-yard line for a 25-yard run and a first-and-goal. But Desiderio struck again, intercepting in the end zone to deny Morris Knolls.
Second Quarter: On the quarter’s first play, West Morris lined up to punt and rolled the dice again on fourth down. Desiderio took the snap and ran down the right sideline for a 48-yard run, keeping his balance evading a couple of tacklers for a first down on the Knolls 25. On the next play, Montella blasted through the middle for 20 yards and followed up three plays later with a 5-yard touchdown run. After forcing a Morris Knolls three-and-out, West Morris went on a five-minute, eleven-play drive, all on the ground to extend their lead. Desiderio scored a touchdown on a 6-yard run from his wing position on the jet sweep. Knolls, aided by a late hit call, threatened when DelleMonache went 26 yards through the middle, fumbled, but the Golden Eagles recovered. This set up a 34-yard field goal.
Third Quarter: After exchanging punts, West Morris went 48 yards in seven plays, with Montella scoring on a 7-yard run. Morris Knolls then went on a six-minute drive, going into the fourth quarter, but ended up fumbling with West Morris recovering on their 21.
Fourth Quarter: Upon recovering that fumble with 9:26 left, West Morris went six minutes, even completing their only two passes of the game, before Montella bulled his way to a 3-yard touchdown run with three minutes remaining.
Comments: Montella may or may not be the best back in the state, but he is on the top level of the pyramid. He gets through a hole without hesitation and is a threat to score from any point on the field. But it’s his physical style that stands out, running into, over, and through tacklers. Desiderio provided a second threat, making plays in all three phases of the game: two interceptions, the 48-yard run on the fake punt, and one touchdown and a 35-yard reception on offense.
Also starring was the offensive line. The returning experience was the interior of left guard Henry Frayne, center Bryce Cope, and right guard Colin Leonhardt. The new tackles are also doing their job in right tackle Shaun Seabeck and left tackle Tom Borgia, a freshman. They consistently gave Montella room to run and wore down the Morris Knolls defense. After the first touchdown, a long run by Montella, their four other touchdown drives consumed 4:28, 5:21, 4:08, and 6:25 in possession – over twenty minutes.
Also enjoying a good game was defensive end Bryce Cammarota.
It was a well played game with very few penalties.
Knolls made some plays on offense with DelleManache and Wong making some nice runs. But West Morris was too much and controlled the game.