Week 8 Recap

By Tom Szieber
Posted:  Monday, October 31, 2016   7:50 am

Check out Brian Carr's photo gallery from St. Joseph's victory over Paramus Catholic.

The very first NJIC semifinals took place over the weekend, and both matchups produced entirely different games. In one contest, Pompton Lakes held off a Rutherford attempt at tying the game, with safety Nick McDonald picking off a pass in the end zone to preserve a 14-6 Cardinals victory. The game-winning score came with just a minute-and-a-half to play, when quarterback Kevin Cotter hit running back Chris Grecco on a screen that the latter then took 46 yards to pay dirt.

On the other side of the bracket, Hasbrouck Heights put up a 28-0 victory over Becton, thanks mostly to the running abilities of quarterback Frank Quatrone and running back John Iurato. Quatrone reached the end zone twice on the ground, rushing for 92 yards in the process, while Iurato picked up 111 yards and a touchdown of his own. It was a largely one-sided affair, and it sets up a huge inaugural NJIC title game between Pompton and Heights in week nine.
And all of a sudden, Middletown South has lost two straight games. That’s right, the Eagles, who had won 17 consecutive contests prior to their loss to Toms River North last week, fell once again, this time to St. John Vianney. For the Lancers, the 23-20 win was made possible by a goal line stand that forced a 20-yard missed field goal. Lancers running back Chris Chukwuneke showed his offensive game-breaking ability, catching two balls for 99 yards (including a 76-yard score) and picking up 56 yards and a touchdown on the ground. 
The Battle of Wayne is always a highly anticipated affair, but even more so when both Hills and Valley are having fantastic seasons. But as good as the Indians have proven to be, they couldn’t hold off a Patriots comeback this past weekend, as Wayne Hills QB Brendan Devera connected with wide out Tyler Hayek on a 17-yard pass over the middle with under two minutes to play to steal a 25-24 victory. The win effectively (but not officially) puts Wayne Hills as the top seed in North 1, Group 4, as every contending team has played its eighth game. If Valley stays in its current number three slot, it could set up a rematch between the teams in the sectional final -- though Irvington would likely have something to say about that. 
And St. Joseph (Mont.) didn’t simply win a 31-21 contest with Paramus Catholic -- it rumbled its way to the victory. The Green Knights rushed for 296 yards (with Louis Acceus’ 118 leading the way), and also impressed in the defensive trenches (sacking PC QB Andrew Brito 5 times). The win puts Joe’s way ahead in Non-Public, Group 3 (where they already had an automatic playoff berth, anyway), and ensures at least a share of the NJSFC United Red title. 
The Lenape defense was beastly in a 17-13 win over Cherokee, forcing six turnovers (4 FR, 2 INT). But the game-winning moment came from quarterback Matt Lajoie, who broke a 71-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put the Indians ahead for good. The loss is the Chiefs’ third of the year, and although they are safe in South, Group 5, they will likely have to go on the road against the likes of Rancocas Valley in the first round of the state playoffs. 

Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing tom@gridironnewjersey.com.