by Andrew Garda

garda@montclairlocal.news

UNDERHILL SPORTS COMPLEX, MAPLEWOOD — The Montclair High School football team finally played four complete quarters, beating the Columbia High School Cougars 42-6 Friday night.

The Mounties won the coin-toss, elected to receive and three plays later saw running back Josh Crawford rip the Cougars defense for a 19-yard touchdown run, the first of two during the first quarter for the senior back.

Though there were a few hiccups, the game was never in doubt

One minute into the second quarter, quarterback Charles Murphy Jr. tacked on a third score for the Mounties on a quarterback sneak to make the score 22-0.

The run game was where the Mounties dominated in that first frame, as they totaled 201 yards, all but 16 of which were on the ground.

The Cougars fumbled the kickoff and right after Murphy’s touchdown run, putting MHS on the Columbia 30 yard line as Jeikson Boyle recovered the ball. On the very next play, Murphy hit Walt King for a touchdown to put the Mounties up 29-0.

Columbia didn’t lay down after that, however, and cobbled together a long drive ending in a touchdown. Defensive end/offensive tackle Gary Robinson Jr. blocked the extra point, but when the next Mounties offensive drive stalled, onlookers were reminded of MHS’ struggles closing games out against West Orange and East Orange.

Even though MHS entered halftime with a 29-6 lead, the question remained: could they close this out without drama?

Pretty much.

While the two teams exchanged turnovers to start the second half — Walt King intercepting a Cougars pass and Montclair fumbling the ball back to them a few plays later — the Mounties for once kept their foot on the gas, with Murphy capping a pair of drives with touchdown passes to Kyshawn King and the defense throttling the Columbia offense, even when the backups were in.

There’s little time to enjoy an easy win, however, as Seton Hall Prep looms in the future. The Mounties were dominating, but not perfect, and there is plenty of room for improvement between now and 2pm next Saturday on the road.

For a complete breakdown of this game as well as coverage of many other Montclair sports, check out next Thursday’s edition of The Montclair Local in print and on the web.