By Tom Szieber
Posted: Sunday, October 29, 2017 11:10 pm
For a while, it looked like Don Bosco Prep might pull it off. When running back Jalen Berger scored on an eight-yard run and Liam Kellogg nailed a 32-yard field goal late in the third to put Bosco up 26-14, it seemed like the Ironmen might have done enough to upset top-ranked Bergen Catholic. But the Crusaders came through, cutting into the Bosco lead on a 14-yard touchdown run by RB Josh McKenzie early in the fourth. Quarterback Johnny Langan was the one to put BC over the top, throwing a 32-yard touchdown pass to receiver Anthony D'Addetta with 48 seconds on the clock. Langan converted the two-point conversion on his own to give Bergen a 29-26 victory.
The NJIC Championship game is now set: Rutherford will host Hasbrouck Heights Friday night for the right to be called league champion. The Aviators’ 42-21 semifinal win over Wallington was sparked by junior wide receiver Jasiah Purdie, who rushed for three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Rutherford’s 42-27 victory over New Milford seemed far less probable when the Bulldogs trailed by three touchdowns in the middle of the of the third quarter. WR/SS Rich Marques starred in the rally, hauling in two scoring receptions, including the four-yarder from Kyle Russell that sparked the comeback. He also iced the win with a 45-yard pick six in the game’s final minute. They will try to unseat the defending champion Aviators, who beat Pompton Lakes, 14-13, in last year’s final.
Timber Creek quarterback Devin Leary’s assault on the New Jersey passing record book continued in a 35-10 win over Williamstown. In leading the Chargers to the win, Leary became New Jersey’s all-time leading passer on a 10-yard completion to running back Jerome Gibson, finishing the game with 8,773 career passing yards. That number puts him ahead of Butler’s Scott Brown, who had held the record with 8,732 since 1997. Leary also tied Brown’s mark of 96 career TD passes when he hit wide out Michael Johnson with a 42-yard bomb in the second quarter. On the day, Leary went 20-of-39 for 292 yards, and the Chargers made it a sure thing that they’ll be the top seed in the South, Group 3 playoffs in two weeks.
Revenge was very, very sweet for Manalapan, who cruised past Piscataway, 28-0. The Chiefs had defeated the Braves in last season’s Central, Group 5 final, but it was a totally different story this time around. Braves QB Luke Corcione starred, going 12-of-18 for 208 yards and one touchdown, with five of those completions going to receiver Symir Blacknall, who totaled 114 yards and a touchdown. Blacknall also ran for a touchdown, while running back Naim Mayfield ran for two (to go along with his 162 rushing yards). The victory showed just how talented the Braves are, and how difficult it will be for anyone do keep up in this year’s Central, Group 5 playoffs.
Montclair was already regarded by many as the favorite in North 1, Group 5, but with a healthy Daniel Webb, the Mounties’ odds may now be even better. Webb is clearly fully recovered from a nagging ankle injury, as demonstrated by 342 rushing yards and four touchdowns he laid on Seton Hall Prep in a 63-44 win. He reminded everyone in the section that he is a threat to break a touchdown on any given play, bursting scores of 67, 77, and 97 yards at different points during the contest. The Mounties are locked in as the top seed in their bracket.
Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.