New Jersey football playoff roundup: Friday
Friday, November 11
NORTH 1 GROUP 1
No. 2 Butler 17, No. 7 Pequannock 14
Efforts by Mike Tenned and Butler's defense in the final minutes resulted in a 17-14 victory over Pequannock in the first round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 1 playoffs Friday night. Tenned ran 38 times for 145 yards and a touchdown as Butler advanced to a semifinal home game next Friday against the winner of Saturday's game between Cresskill and Glen Rock. Pequannock got on the board first when Anthony Rubino scored on a 2-yard run in the first quarter. Butler tied it when Tenned scored on a 7-yard run with 1:54 to go in the first half, and the Bulldogs then opened the second half by driving 65 yards in 13 plays, concluding the march with Heredia's 19-yard TD pass to Paczolt to take a 14-7 lead. Pequannock benefited from Luke Foukas completing an 8-yard scoring pass to Matt Jachera with 6:23 left in the game, but Butler was able to hold on to the ball and run out the clock and advance to the semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons.
NORTH 1 GROUP 2
Stephen O'Neill had 10 carries for 87 yards and three touchdowns as West Essex went on to defeat Morris Hills, 34-12, in the first round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 tournament on Friday in Fairfield. O'Neill scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter to give West Essex a 7-0 lead. Morris Hills answered right back with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Willy Hansen to Evan Staikos to close the gap, 7-6. But O'Neill scored on runs of 3 and 16 yards to give West Essex a 20-6 edge at the half. DJ Hamker and Anthony Pompei had touchdown runs in the third quarter for West Essex. Hansen threw a 12-yard TD pass to Dan Whelan to end the scoring.
No. 3 River Dell 25, No. 6 Ridgefield Park 7
Tim Barnes ran for two touchdowns and caught another to lead River Dell to a 25-7 victory over Ridgefield Park in the first round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 tournament on Friday in Oradell. Barnes' 1-yard run in the second quarter allowed River Dell to lead 6-0 at halftime. Barnes added another 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter for make it 13-0. After Eric Reynoso's 7-yard TD run for Ridgefield Park cut into the lead, River Dell responded with a 10 yard TD reception from Barnes in the fourth.
No. 2 Ramsey 35, No. 7 Hopatcong 6
Nick Dispoto scored on two first-quarter runs to send Ramsey on its way to a 35-6 victory over Hopatcong in the first round of the NJSIAA of North 1 Group 2 tournament in Ramsey. Dispoto scored on runs of 2 and 16 yards and followed with a 21-yard TD pass to P.J. Scandariato to give Ramsey a 21-0 halftime lead. Ramsey's other touchdowns came on an 9-yard run by DeJean Adair and a 3-yard run by Tom Kelly. Vinny Marinoni caught an 11-yard TD pass from Ryan Clarke in the fourth quarter for Hopatcong.
NORTH 1 GROUP 3
No. 1 Wayne Hills 48, No. 8 Vernon 0
The Wayne Hills Patriots were expected to take care of business in their first round matchup against Vernon, and they delievered on those expectations, routing their opponent, 48-0 in front of the hometown fans. Senior running back Dom Santoro ran for 138 yards and four touchdowns, including the game’s first score just three minutes into the first quarter. Santoro had a little help in backfield mate Robby Schiller. The junior running back ran for 101 yards and scored a 10-yard rushing touchdown to open the Wayne Hills lead to 20-0. The Patriots move on to face No. 4 Paramus in the semifinals.
Chris Durante scored three touchdowns and Matt Tozzi added two others to lead Paramus to a 41-23 victory over Lakeland in the first round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 3 playoffs on Friday in Wanaque. Durante scored on 17-, 43- and 13-yard TD runs and Tozzi added scoring runs of 8 and 26 yards for Paramus. Steve Secor rushed for touchdowns of 1 and 2 yards for Lakeland. Paramus will face top-seeded Wayne Hills in the semifinals on November 18.
No. 3 Pascack Valley 31, No.6 Ramapo 20 HIGHLIGHTS
James DeCharia recovered a fourth-quarter fumble in the end zone for the decisive touchdown to help Pascack Valley to a 31-20 victory over Ramapo in the first round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 3 playoffs in Hillsdale. Pascack Valley jumped out to an early lead on two first-half TDs thrown by Kyle Schneider, who found Zach Costa from 17 yards out and found Kevin Illian on a 63-yard scoring strike. Ramapo, pumped up by the return of a blocked field goal for a touchdown just before the half, rallied to take a 20-17 lead in the third quarter, thanks to a 58-yard TD pass from Ryan Dougherty to Doug Norkett. Jordan Roses added an insurance touchdown on a 15-yard rush to complete the fourth-quarter scoring for Pascack Valley.
NORTH 1 GROUP 4
No. 3 North Bergen 20, No. 6 Passaic Tech 14
Vin Ascolese rushed for 113 yards, including a 19-yard run in overtime, to elevate North Bergen to a 20-14 win over Passaic Tech in the first round of the NJSIAA North 1 Group 4 playoffs in North Bergen. Eric McMullen opened the game with a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Sergio Rodriguez had an 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for North Bergen. The game marked the last home game for North Bergen's head coach, Vincent Ascolese, in only the second game on Vicent Ascolese Field. The veteran head coach is the grandfather of the player who has excelled all year for North Bergen.
No. 2 Union City 20, No. 7 Roxbury 3 HIGHLIGHTS
Seventh-seeded Roxbury, riding a three game winning streak, went into a much-anticipated first-round matchup against second-seeded Union City with the hopes of shaking things up in North 1 Group 4. However, in the end Union City extended its own winning run to five straight by cruising past the Gaels, 20-3, in the first round of the NJSIAA playoffs on Friday evening. The Soaring Eagles, fresh off an impressive 45-0 victory over Ferris, flipped the switch after facing a 3-0 deficit following a defensive battle in the first half. Nick Espana scored three rushing touchdowns and enabled Union City to move on to face North Bergen in the semifinals next weekend.
NORTH 2 GROUP 1
No. 8 Lyndhurst 38, No. 1 Rutherford 13
Eighth-seeded Lyndhurst pulled off a surprising 38-13 upset in the first round of the North 2 Group 1 playoffs. Dual-threat junior quarterback Danny Kesack scored three rushing touchdowns and passed for two more, accounting for all but one of his team’s scores in the upset. Lyndhurst marches on to face Weequahic in the next round.
No. 4 Weequahic 38, No. 5 Hoboken 12 HIGHLIGHTS
Weequahic led 13-12 at halftime, but broke the game wide open in the second half while holding Hoboken scoreless to advance to the second round of the North 2 Group 1 playoffs. Weequahic will face the upstart squad from Lyndhurst next Friday night.
No. 3 Cedar Grove 27, No. 6 Shabazz 13
A strong running game anchored Cedar Grove in its 27-13 victory over Shabazz in the first round of the North 2 Group 1 playoffs. Charlie Dorman ran for 170 yards and a score and Joe Balestrieri picked up 105 yards to lead the ground attack. Joe McShane scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second quarter to surge Cedar Grove ahead for good.
NORTH 2 GROUP 2
No. 5 Caldwell 28, No. 4 Orange 17
Sonny Puzzo threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns to power Caldwell to a 28-17 win over Orange in its North 2 Group 2 playoff opener. Puzzo connected with receiver Billy Pierce three times for 105 yards and two scores and hit Mike Latorraca on a 35-yard aerial strike to make the difference for Caldwell. Orange quarterback Safee Fisher threw for 265 yards and two scores in the loss.
No. 6 Chatham 10, No. 3 Bernards 7 HIGHLIGHTS
Dave Fiumara booted a 34-yard field goal with five seconds remaining to lift Chatham to a 10-7 victory over Bernards in the first round of the playoffs on Friday. Quarterback Sammy Failla capitalized on a quarterback keeper to tie the contest at 7-7 with five minutes left in the fourth quarter to set up Fiumara’s clutch kick for Chatham. Devin Ray opened the scoring for Bernards by rushing from two yards out in the first half.
NORTH 2 GROUP 4
No. 8 Piscataway 34, No. 1 Hunterdon Central 31 (OT) HIGHLIGHTS
Tevin Shaw lifted Piscataway to victory with an 8-yard touchdown run in overtime, upsetting top-seeded Hunterdon Central, 34-31. An exciting fourth quarter saw Nadir Barnwell throw a pair of touchdown passes to Tajae Sharpe to draw the Chiefs even with Hunterdon Central at 28. Stephan Barr booted a 24-yard field goal for Hunterdon Central on its next possession, but Shaw’s score vaulted Piscataway into the second round.
No. 3 Elizabeth 25, No. 6 Union 7
Elijah Hughes ran for 150 yards and returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown as part of Elizabeth’s 25-7 win in the first round of the North 2 Group 4 playoffs. Quarterback Phillip Walker ran for a score and passed for another to account for the rest of the Elizabeth offense. Union’s sophomore sensation Jamauri Bogan put up a valiant 260-yard effort in the loss.
CENTRAL GROUP 1
No. 5 Point Pleasant Beach 32, No. 4 New Egypt 14
Point Pleasant Beach broke open a scoreless game with 24 points in the second quarter to cruise past New Egypt, 32-14. Cody Coleman opened the scoring with a 10-yard scamper and Andre Cochran followed up with a 10-yard rush of his own. Cochran then took a pass from quarterback Christian Martino 30 yards to pay dirt to put Point Pleasant Beach up 24-0. Cochran added a third touchdown in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.
No. 2 Dunellen 30, No. 7 Metuchen 7
Jeff Puckett’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Bob Nicastro gave Dunellen a 15-7 lead it would never relinquish. Vinnie Grausso struck twice on the ground for Dunellen and Zach El-Halim returned an interception to the house as Dunellen moves on to the second round of the Central Group 1 playoffs. The Destroyers will face the winner of the game between Shore and Florence.
CENTRAL GROUP 2
No. 1 Rumson 29, No. 8 Rahway 0
Undefeated Rumson shut out Rahway in the first round of the Central Group 2 playoffs, 29-0. Rumson will face No. 5 Delaware Valley next Friday in the semifinals.
No. 5 Delaware Valley 32, No. 4 Johnson 27
Delaware Valley came out on top Friday night against the 6-3 Johnson team with a 32-27 victory. Delaware Valley had an impressive night of rushing with Chris Fennell amassing 174 yards, Sean Hogan with 77, and Dioniso Roman with almost 50 yards. Roman also had 50 receiving yards, helping the team to the second round of the Central Group 2 playoffs where it will face No. 1 Rumson on November 18.
No. 6 Matawan 28, No. 3 Carteret 14
Matawan defeated Carteret in a 28-14 victory to punch its tickets to the second round of the playoffs. Matawan running/defensive back Larry Alston rushed 22 times for 104 yards to help Matawan dominate the second half and snap a 14-14 tie at the end of the second quarter. Carteret QB Tyler Rodriguez rushed for over 130 yards with 10 carries and a touchdown. Matawan will face the winner of the Red Bank/Manasquan game in semifinals of the Central Group 2 playoffs.
CENTRAL GROUP 3
No. 8 Steinert 19, No. 1 Wall 7 HIGHLIGHTS
No. 7 Steinert made school history on Friday, taking home its first playoff football game in school history by upsetting No. 2 Wall, 19-7. Steinert quarterback Adam Riese took the team on his back, scoring two first half touchdowns -- first from 20 yards and the second from two yards. Steinert running back Keon White kept the momentum going in the second half, breaking off a 60-yard touchdown run. Connor Mulholland gave life to Wall with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, but those were all the points the Knights would get as the Spartan defense stood strong the rest of the way, securing the historic win.
No. 5 Neptune 40, No. 4 Allentown 33 (OT)
Neptune prevailed in overtime with a pass from QB Jaheem Woods to David Gutzmore from 5 yards out, which lifted Neptune to a 40-33 victory over No. 4 Allentown. Woods threw for two touchdown passes, giving Neptune a 27-17 lead at halftime. Allentown came alive with 31 seconds left in the fourth quarter with Norman Williams scoring on a 1-yard run followed by a two-point conversion, which tied the game at 33-33. Neptune took advantage of having first possession in overtime, however, and now moves on to face North Burlington in the semifinals next weekend.
No. 2 North Burlington 35, No. 7 Middletown South 27
North Burlington was able to keep its first place standing with a 35-27 win over Middletown South in the first round of the Central Group 3 playoffs. North Burlington will face Neptune in the semifinals next weekend.
CENTRAL GROUP 4
No. 1 South Brunswick 63, No. 8 Hillsborough 14 PHOTO GALLERY
Undefeated South Brunswick struck again Friday night in the first round of the Central Group 4 playoffs, only allowing Hillsborough to score twice in a 63-14 victory. South Brunswick was led by senior running back Jevon Tyree, who rushed nine times for 165 yards. The second half was all South Brunswick which posted 35 points in that span. The first place team will face Sayreville next Friday in the semifinals.
No. 5 Sayreville 21, No. 4 Jackson 13
Sayreville caught the lead against Jackson at the half with a 26-yard touchdown pass by Delon Stephenson and never looked back in its 21-13 win on Friday. Sayreville scored once more in the fourth quarter to secure its triumph, which puts the Bombers in the semifinals against No. 1 South Brunswick. Stephenson finished the game with 17 carries for 57 yards and eight catches.
No. 2 Manalapan 28, No. 7 Brick Memorial 21
Manalapan continues its season after defeating Brick Memorial, 28-21, in the first round of the Central Group 4 playoffs. Manalapan will advance to the semifinals next Friday and face the victor of the West Windsor South/North Brunswick game.
NON-PUBLIC GROUP 2
No. 4 Holy Cross 14, No. 5 Bishop Eustace 13
Holy Cross recorded a 14-13 win over Bishop Eustace Friday night in the Non-Public Group 2 playoffs' first round. Holy Cross continues its season and faces Camden Catholic in the semifinals next Friday night. Meanwhile, Bishop Eustace dropped to 4-5.
NON-PUBLIC GROUP 3
No. 5 Immaculata 38, No. 4 DePaul 28
Antonio Natale tossed three of his four touchdown passes in the second half and helped Immaculata erase an early deficit as it blew by DePaul, 38-28, in Non-Public Group 3 action on Friday evening. After crawling out of a 14-0 first-quarter deficit, the No. 5 Spartans used timely defense and another brilliant effort by Natale to punch their tickets to the semifinals next weekend against the winner of Saturday’s matchup between No. 1 St. Joseph Regional and No. 8 Bishop Ahr. Chandler Vanderbeek scored twice, while Jack Eisenstodt and Trevor Socarras added touchdowns for Immaculata, which bounced back from suffering its first loss of the season last week. Joe Moreno registered two rushing scores and quarterbacks Travis Bligh and Zach Bednarczyk added others for DePaul, which had its eight-game win streak snapped.
No. 3 Red Bank Catholic 42, No. 6 Pope John 6
Red Bank Catholic had an explosive game against Pope John, and now gets to continue its undefeated season. The 42-6 victory started in the first quarter, when Red Bank Catholic jumped out to a 14-0 lead. John DiStefano finished with four touchdowns and had help from Chris Donald and Pat Toomey to secure the win. Red Bank Catholic will match up against the winner between Msgr. Donovan and Delbarton in the semifinals next Friday.
NON-PUBLIC GROUP 4
No. 3 St. Peter’s Prep 48, No. 6 Notre Dame 14
St, Peter’s Prep defeated Notre Dame in the first round of the Non-Public Group 4 playoffs Friday night, 48-14. Notre Dame’s record drops to 4-5, while St. Peter’s Prep improves to 6-3 and will face Bergan Catholic in the semifinals next Friday.