by Andrew Garda
It wasn’t pretty, but the Montclair High School football team notched their second win of the season with a 28-27 victory over the East Orange Jaguars in a sloppy game on Saturday, September 22.
Montclair knew it had work to do after the first three weeks of the season, especially after the trip to Ohio when everything they had struggled with against West Orange and Nutley — such as penalties, offensive miscues and turnovers — blew completely up.
Some improvement was evident against the Jaguars Saturday, but there were still enough mistakes that it’s evident the Mounties still have more improvements to make.
On the plus side, senior running back Josh Crawford finally had his breakout game, totaling 101 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 22 carries. Crawford struggled to find holes early on, as the offensive line was without Bo Bigelow and Matt Battle, both out for the day.
Still, Crawford kept plowing forward, and on the final drive of the game, broke several long runs for first downs, sapping the clock and putting the game away.
Senior quarterback Charles Murphy Jr. also had a solid day, both in the air and on the ground, completing 9 passes on 21 attempts for 96 yards, and gaining 96 yards and a score on the ground. Junior defensive end Shawn Collins had a pair of sacks for the defense. Steven Rose had a key first down catch as well, absorbing a big hit but holding onto the ball for a big first down.
Too often though, the Mounties found themselves moving backwards due to false starts and other miscues. EO is a solid team, but the Mounties should have beaten them handily, and every flag, every dropped ball, every fumble left the door open for the Jaguars.
In fact, one fumble in the fourth quarter put the Jaguars in good field position, which they leveraged for a score. A two-point conversion later and they were just one point behind the Mounties.
Luckily, Crawford and the offensive line got into a groove right afterwards.
That mistake nearly cost them big, and in the cases of Massillon and West Orange, it cost them games. It’s an Achilles Heel the Mounties have to find a way to fix.
They’ve got four days next week before they head to Columbia for a game against the Cougars Friday night at 7:00pm.
For a complete breakdown of the win over East Orange, as well as a look ahead to Columbia, check out Thursday’s edition of the Montclair Local.