Semifinals Recap

By Tom Szieber
Posted:  Monday, November 21, 2016   7:45 am

Check out Brian Carr's photo gallery from St. Peter's Prep's victory over Bergen Catholic.

It looks like we are in for a rematch of last season’s North 1, Group 5 sectional final, and both Ridgewood and Passaic County Tech are back in the finals following big semifinal victories this weekend. But neither got their easily. For the top-seeded Maroons, it took a 24-point fourth quarter to overcome Montclair, which led 20-7 after three. But Maroons running back Zach Feagles (112 yards, 2 TD) led the way, scoring twice to lead a comeback that resulted in a 31-20 victory. For the Bulldogs, there was a bit of controversy on the game’s last play, which pushed them to a 16-14 victory. Quarterback Derrick Cuavers scored on a one-yard QB sneak, though he did drop the ball crossing the goal line. Union City believed it had recovered the ball, but the officials disagreed, contesting that the fumble occurred after the touchdown.

In a game they led throughout, Paramus Catholic was able to hold off Don Bosco Prep, 35-29, to punch its ticket to the Non-Public, Group 4 final. Quarterback Andrew Brito just about did it all, rushing for 165 yards on 21 attempts, while also going 7-of-16 for 149 yards and a touchdown. They now have a date with St. Peter’s Prep, a team the Paladins beat, 28-21, on Sept. 30. Despite losing to St. Joseph (Mont.), Bosco and PC, the Marauders are riding high after their second win over Bergen this year. QB Johnathan Lewis threw two touchdowns and rushed for a third in the 28-7 victory.

Brick Township is back in the Central, Group 4 sectional final after downing Freehold Boro, 24-23. The difference was a late extra point, which was blocked by the Green Dragons following a touchdown grab by running back Ashante Worthy. They’ll now do battle with an Allentown squad that shredded Jackson for a 41-15 victory. Redbirds running back Joe Mannino went wild, taking 21 carries for 234 yards and four touchdowns. The win was Allentown’s second blowout of the postseason, as they defeated Moorestown, 48-3, in the first round.

Somerville’s magical run came to an end this weekend, as the Pioneers fell to Rumson-Fair Haven in the Central, Group 3 semis, 21-13. The Bulldogs played disciplined football, but still trailed 13-0 in the first quarter before settling down. Rumson ended up with four takeways, and rode running back Matt Vecchiarelli, who rushed 33 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns. It was still a banner year for the resurgent Pioneers, who had gone 2-28 in the previous three seasons, before finishing this year 10-1.

Non-Public, Group 2 saw a somewhat surprising finish, with St. Joseph (Hamm.) falling 26-0 to Mater Dei Prep. For the Seraphs, this will mark just its second-ever trip the finals, while it ends the Wildcats’ streak of consecutive titles at seven, one shy of their own state record accomplished from 1999 through 2006. Marvin Pierre found the end zone twice for Mater Dei, hauling in a 48-yard George Pierson touchdown in the first, and then running one in from four yards out in the second. St. Joe’s defense deserves credit for holding the Seraphs to their lowest scoring output of the year, but the Mater Dei 'D' held up, making it seven straight holding an opponent in the single digits.

And the biggest upset of the weekend? It may have been Sayreville’s victory over Middletown South in North 2, Group 4. Bombers QB Jayson DeMild was outstanding, going 16-of-27 for 345 yards and four touchdowns, and spent much of that time connecting with running back Jacari Carter. Carter caught eight passes for 182 yards, and hauled in two of DeMild’s scoring strikes. To win their first title since 2012 (when they beat South in the finals), they’ll need to beat the Eagles’ cross-town rivals, Middletown North, who took down Summit on the other side of the bracket.