After a slow start, Caldwell was clicking on all cylinders, scoring 28 unanswered points to beat Mountain Lakes, 35-14, in a battle of undefeated teams.
First Quarter: After an exchange of punts, Caldwell took possession on their 49 and picked up first downs on a 17-yard run by Joey Marinello and a 12-yard completion to Harry Boland. But a penalty, followed by an intentional grounding penalty forced the Chiefs to punt, which landed on the 9-yard line. A Mountain Lakes three-and-out, followed by a shanked punt gave Caldwell the ball on the 18. A 12-yard run by quarterback Louie Anemone made it first-and-goal on the 6, but the Mountain Lakes defense held the fort and a fourth-down run by Marinello from the 1-yard line was stopped for no gain. Another Mountain Lakes punt put Caldwell on the Mountain Lakes 39 and the Chiefs got themselves going on a 3-yard touchdown run by Marinello, which was set up by his 36-yard run by Marinello on the previous play.
Second Quarter: A 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff set Mountain Lakes up well on their 49. On the quarter’s opening play, Ben Miniter found Jimmy Elliott on a screen to the right side and Elliott went down the sideline for a 45-yard touchdown to knot the score at 7-7. The teams exchanged punts a couple of times and Caldwell began a drive on their 35. Anemone ran for 17 yards on their first play and for 37 yards to the 7-yard line three plays later. Two plays later, Anemone scored to put the Chiefs ahead with 42 seconds left in the half.
Third Quarter: Caldwell took possession on their 48 following a Mountain Lakes punt. Marinello ran 20 yards on their first play and eventually scored on a 1-yard run to put the Chiefs up, 21-7. On their next drive, the diet turned over to the running of Boland, who had runs of 28, 7, 12, and a 3-yard touchdown on the opening play of the fourth quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Caldwell had a one-play drive, a 43-yard touchdown run by Anemone with ten minutes left and teams eventually put in their backups. Mountain Lakes scored on a 7-yard run by Ethan Merritt with three minutes left.
Comments: It was a game between two good football teams, but the evening belonged to Caldwell.
On offense, the Chiefs rushed for 331 yards rushing. Marinello gained 162 yards on 23 carries, Anemone 119 on 11 carries, and Boland 50 on 6 carries. Luke Kurzum played some snaps in the first half, but it was all Anemone from midway in the second quarter. From that point, the Chiefs scored four touchdowns on four possessions before turning it over to the reserves. The offensive line of left tackle Tom Cader, left guard Mike Fano, center Mike Platt, right guard Julian Casale, and right tackle Charlie Male paved the way.
The Caldwell defense was outstanding. The Chiefs limited Mountain Lakes to 36 yards rushing on 28 carries and 52 yards passing. Take away the 45-yard touchdown pass and it was 7 yards passing – that’s no misprint. In short, the defense held them to 87 yards of total offense. Casale was a major force from his middle linebacker position all evening.
**Please note these statistics do not include the final drives of the evening when the backups were in.
As previously mentioned, Mountain Lakes is a good football team. They simply ran into a very good football team that was on its game. They are athletic with some good size and I strongly believe they will be a major player in the upcoming Group 1 playoffs.