Senior quarterback Tarrin Earle steps up to throw a deep ball during Friday’s NJSIAA North 1, Group V championship game at MetLife Stadium. Earle threw for 303 yards and a pair of TDs in Montclair’s 35-14 win over Union City.
COURTESY NORMAN DESHONG

by Andrew Garda

garda@montclairlocal.news

Tarrin Earle’s final football game as a member of the Montclair High School football team was nearly perfect, and it was a fitting sendoff to a Mounties player who has achieved a great deal of success throughout his career.

Earle showed all the traits that fans have come to admire over his three-year tenure as starting quarterback. Mobility in and out of the pocket, precision passing across the field, superior field vision and multiple adjustments at the line of scrimmage were all on display for Earle, who completed 16 of 24 passing attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns — two passing and one on an 11-yard scramble in the first quarter.

Earle’s numbers throughout his career are incredible, and easily put him at the top of every statistical category for an MHS quarterback. After Friday night, Earle had captured career records for attempts (584), completions (369), total yards (6,239 yards) and passing touchdowns (61).

Even on its own merits, this has been a record-breaking season, as Earle captured single-season records for attempts (210), completions (146), yards (2,587) and passing touchdowns (2).

Nobody appreciates Earle’s efforts more than his teammates, especially his receivers.

“It’s been amazing. He came from rags to riches,” Collin Callahan said of his quarterback. “He evolved so well. He put the time in, worked so hard and look where he’s at now.”

As always, the statistics mentioned above are according to our best records, and if you have information contrary to our work, let us know!

Senior Harry Wiley sends the ball towards Union City during MHS’ 35-14 North 1, Group 5 Championship win.
COURTESY NORMAN DESHONG

Kickers can tackle, too

Harry Wiley had as impressive a game at MetLife as anyone else. The senior kicker went 5 for 5 in extra-point kicks, even though the goalposts are far narrower than high school regulation posts.

“All the coaches were saying, and I was living by,” Wiley said Saturday at the Mounties’ ring-design party, “is that the middle’s the same no matter where you kick it. Aim small, miss small.”

The Mounties practiced at Montclair State University over the last few weeks, which also has narrow goal posts, and Wiley said that helped as well.

Wiley said it was amazing just being on MetLife field, but he tried to stay totally focused on what he needed to do, not the atmosphere.

Wiley isn’t just a kicker though, he’s a special teams tackling machine — or at least was Friday night as he stopped one Union City player on a kickoff return.

“In the moment, it was just all adrenaline. I wasn’t really thinking, it was a reaction, ‘He’s coming into my area, I’ve got to take him out.’ I guess I think I took some inspiration from Pat McAfee. I watched a video of his a little while ago, ‘The Boomstick,’ and I pretty much mimicked him on the sideline. It was a helluva fun tackle to make.”

Wiley was referring to former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat ‘The Boomstick’ McAfee’s big hit on Denver Broncos kick returner Trindon Holliday during a Monday Night Football game in 2013.

Beware the kicker, especially a Mountie.

Can’t do it without the fans

MetLife Stadium was awash in Mountie Blue Friday night, something both Fiore and the team appreciated.

“It’s huge,” Fiore said. “We had the home-field advantage. We were the higher seed but we had probably twice the fans they had. You can hear that and I think that was a great experience for these young men, to play in MetLife, to have that experience.”

For Earle, seeing the fans after the Mounties scored their third touchdown made him realize how big the game was.

“Just seeing the amount of people from Montclair? I was like wow, they’re different than most. I still said, OK this is just another game, but I could tell it was a championship game.”

Fiore had an early inkling the Montclair faithful — especially the students — would show up.

“[Principal James] Earle had to send [Interim Athletic Director] Mike Miello back to MetLife and Ticketmaster three different times, because we sold out of student tickets, three days in a row. I would say we had close to 2,000 kids out there.”

Football: Mounties Championship win at MetLife — Slideshow

‘Best staff in the state’

Fiore always lavishes praise on his players, but he took a moment to do the same with his coaching staff Friday night, crediting them with not just the win, but the consistency the Mounties have had during his tenure as head coach,

“There’s a core of five or six [coaches] that have four rings, and we’ve had a lot of guys who have come through and stayed. That’s the sign of a great program. Stability.”

“Both full time coaches and volunteers like Anthony, Vinny and Mike Maffucci bring passion and dedication the kids can look to as an example.”

Fiore is especially grateful so many of his staff have stuck around, even though they could pursue other opportunities.

“Coach Pelli, Coach Ramiccio, Coach Kline, Coach Bittner, Coach Leonardis — they could all be head high school football coaches and probably be really successful. So it really is unbelievable for us to have such a great group. And I guess as much of an ass as I am, I’m pretty easy to work for because not a lot of guys are looking to get out of here.”