Passaic Tech scored 21 unanswered points after allowing an opening field goal and beat Clifton, 21-3. Tech went on to control most of the game with a good ground game and strong defense. Clifton threatened on a couple of drives, but the Bulldog defense slammed the door.
First Quarter: After Passaic Tech punted on the game’s opening possession, Clifton took over on the Tech 45. The Mustangs consumed time on the ground and successfully converted twice on fourth down. With a first down on the 15, the Passaic Tech defense stiffened and Clifton settled for a 31-yard field goal by Ryan Liszner and a 3-0 lead with 3:35 left in the quarter. Passaic Tech started on their 20 and immediately moved the ball on a 10-yard run by Cashmere Jones. The Bulldogs kept the ball for over seven minutes, scoring on a 1-yard run Trashon Dye to make it 7-3, PCT with 8:14 left in the half. The score was set up by a 19-yard run by Dye to the 4.
Second Quarter: Clifton’s next drive ended up in a punt, giving Passaic Tech the ball on the 50-yard line after a return by Eric Jackson. Jackson became a big part of the Bulldogs’ drive, going 10 yards on the jet sweep and catching a RaySun Burton pass for 26 yards to the 14. Jones ran for 10 yards and a first-and-goal on the 4. Tech increased their lead to 14-3 when Dye fumbled into the end zone and center Omar Kahok recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown with 4:35 left. Clifton moved the ball behind the running of Suliman Pitts, carrying the ball for 17, 7, and 9 yards – the last one refusing to go down, carrying several defenders to the Tech 41. That was it for the Mustangs on the drive and they ended up punting. Tech took over on the 4 with 59 seconds left and took a knee two times.
Third Quarter: Clifton came out with the ball and moved the ball with Pitts gaining 11 yards to the PCT 30 on a very physical run. But that was all the Mustangs could get, as the Tech defense got stingy and Clifton turned the ball over on downs. PCT had the ball on their 26 and picked up two first downs, but ended up punting.
Fourth Quarter: Passaic Tech moved the ball again, but turned it over on downs on the Clifton 30. The Bulldogs defense played up to their name on their possession, ending up with three players sacking quarterback Romelo Tables. Passaic Tech moved the ball down the field and Travon Dye, who was operating out of the wildcat on the drive, scored a 1-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left in the game.
Comments: This was a team win. The offense moved the ball and the line of left tackle Jahmir Rogers, left guard Jacob Blunt, center Omar Kahok, right guard Nathan Elony, and right tackle Owen Wescott paved the way for Jones and both of the Dye twins. Jones adds a different dimension of speed and quickness when he has the ball. The defense did their job; they bent a few times, but never broke, not allowing a touchdown. Not including last week’s forfeit win over Columbia, the Bulldog defense has allowed 31 points in six games and the only team to score in double figures was Ridgewood in their 12-7 win. The defense alone will make Passaic Tech a tough out in the playoffs.
Clifton was beaten, no doubt about it. They do have a promising sophomore quarterback in Tables, who is mobile and shows a good arm. Pitts was eligible tonight after sitting 30 days as a transfer from St. Mary was a threat running the ball, showing ability to run through tacklers. They have to pick up the pieces before playoff time, with games against Northern Highlands and Union City the next two weeks.