by Andrew Garda
EAST ORANGE—No Danny Webb?
That’s no problem for the Montclair High School Mounties as they took another early lead, this time against the overmatched East Orange Jaguars, and won 44-16.
“Without Danny Webb, we still put up 44 points and we’ve got a lot of weapons,” Mounties head coach John Fiore said after the game. “Tarrin [Earle] played great. Willie [Matthews] and Josh [Crawford] ran really well.”
It’s not completely accurate that the Mounties lacked the services of Webb, as he stepped in a few times in the first quarter, but for the most part he was rested by head coach John Fiore, leaving the heavy lifting in the backfield to Josh Crawford and Willie Matthews.
They were more than up to the task, particularly when passing.
The Mounties saw yet another solid outing by Earle, as the senior quarterback once again picked apart an opposing secondary and showed off some of his mobility out of the pocket to extend a play.
“I was mostly known as a pocket passer,” Earle said. “Nobody really gave me credit for my athletic ability. This year I’m a little bit bigger, I’m a little bit stronger and can show people I can make some athletic plays when I need to for my team.”
The crowd would have to wait a little bit, though, as the early MHS drives stalled.
“We started out slow,” Earle said. “We didn’t want to punt the first two drives, but we really picked it up after that. Gary [Robinson’s] defensive touchdown really sprung us.”
Yes, for once it was the defense who struck first for Montclair.
After a shanked MHS punt, EO had taken over on their own 41-yard line. The Mounties immediately brought massive pressure on Jaguars quarterback Quadir Scott and in a panic, the sophomore coughed up the ball almost like a shovel pass into the waiting arms of Robinson.
“It was a rollout by the quarterback,” the defensive lineman recalled. “Somebody from the backside had tackled the quarterback and stripped the ball from him. The ball went up in the air, I grabbed [it], jumped over the guy and I’m just gone. I saw green grass and a red end zone.”
The Mounties would score on their next three possessions, with a touchdown catch by both Tysean Williams and DJ Williams, as well as a 12-yard touchdown run by Matthews.
“It’s so deep it’s crazy,” Fiore said of his receiving corps. “Any one of them could go out and win us a game. Tysean really hasn’t played much because of how good we are, and he’s one of our best receivers. You saw that today with the catches he was making.”
Tysean Williams’ touchdown reception was particularly impressive as Earle threw the ball where he knew only Williams would have a chance to catch it.
“That play we ran right there was ‘sucker’ and I had to make it seem like I was going to make a block and then wheel it up right there,” Williams explained. “And then Tarrin, who I’ve known since freshman year, we have a great connection. He knows if he throws the ball up I’m going to get it.”
And catch it he did, extending himself for ball and a score.
Tysean Williams’ second touchdown came on one of Earle’s increasingly common freelanced plays as a snap over his head late in the first half.
“They usually tell me to fall on it,” Earle said about the bad snap. “But I knew that it was so far back that I had a chance to pick it up.
“I looked back and I saw there was a problem with the snap,” Tysean said. “Then the guy who was guarding me ran up so I came back [toward the line of scrimmage],”
“My first thought was pick [the ball] up and throw it right out of bounds,” Earle explained. “So I picked it up and I gave a peek. Their whole defense was up and all my receivers were waving.”
Earle saw both Tysean and DJ Williams wide open and let loose with a pass, which Tysean Williams hauled in and carried to the end zone.
He had to admit, though, the ball wasn’t supposed to be his.
“That pass was actually for DJ [Williams], that’s what Tarrin told me. I didn’t know that though,” he said with a smile. “I took DJ’s second touchdown.”
Like Fiore, Earle appreciates that any of his receivers can step up at any time.
“To add [Tysean] with Charles Murphy at that X, whenever each one of them are tight I know I have a D-1 caliber receiver on that side and I have two D-1 caliber receivers who can do whatever they want.”
It also helps that the coaching staff kept Earle and his offense well prepared.
“We knew they were going to come out in a lot of Cover-3 and a lot of Man [coverage],” Earle said. “We knew we could exploit that [and] we have pretty good schemes for that. I know I have receivers, who are probably the best in the state, and I just gotta give them a chance to score.”
Defensively, the Mounties strangled the EO offense in the first half, holding them to zero net yards.
For Earle, it’s just a matter of time before the team is firing on all cylinders. They have the talent, he says, to make a lot of noise the rest of the year.
“I mean this team is really set up to make a run. I know last year we kind of got complacent after we were 2-0. We didn’t take each week seriously. This year we come in every week and it’s a new week. We have the same energy every single week. We’re a veteran group and we’re set up to make a run because of what we’ve been through already.”
They’ll have another chance to test that, as they welcome an improved Morristown squad to Woodman Field this Saturday afternoon, with kickoff set for 1.