by Andrew Garda
Paul Robeson Stadium — The Montclair Mounties offensive woes continued against East Orange Saturday afternoon, as the Jaguars ran away from MHS in the fourth quarter for a 26-6 victory.
The September 28 game started off with both teams trading touchdowns. EO caught MHS out of position on their very first offensive play of the game, a screen pass which Quadir Scott took for 55 yards into the end zone.
Montclair’s offense, which has started out very slow in games this year, had to respond, and did so with a long drive behind some great runs by lead back Jordan Diggs, which was capped off by a 1-yard dive for a touchdown by quarterback Michael Robinson.
From there on out, it was a very sloppy game by both offenses, as both defenses did a solid job adjusting and the offenses kept making mistakes.
The Jaguars drew numerous flags, which stalled several promising drives, while the Mounties struggled with the center-quarterback exchange. Center Sebastien Fortune and Robinson have had some issues this year, but this was the worst the exchange has been.
The most painful of the instances of a bobbled snap exchange came on a Mountie drive in the fourth quarter with under ten minutes remaining in the game. Down 20-6, Montclair was desperate for a score to have a chance to come back and make a game of it.
This drive actually featured two bobbled snaps — one which Robinson was able to turn into a 9-yard gain, but the other keeping the offense out of the end zone on the 2-yard line.
Montclair turned the ball over on downs, and then EO back Matthew Ziao broke off a 98-yard run down the sideline to make the score 26-6 and end any hope the Mounties had of a comeback.
There were some positive takeaways from the game, even on offense where Diggs accumulated 156 yards on 31 carries in what was one of his best performances to date.
The junior back was explosive at the line of scrimmage, as he always is, but showed some excellent athleticism and slipperiness in space after getting to the second level. His second half suffered a little from EO pinching linebackers in to both crash Diggs’ running lanes as well as take Robinson’s read-option away, but there is a lot to like about his potential going forward.
Defensively, which they did allow 283 total yards to the Jaguars offense, 153 of those yards came on two plays. That’s not to say both of those plays weren’t disastrous, just that overall the MHS defense was fairly potent.
They even generated a strip-sack, with Nareece Wright knocking the ball free and Shawn Collins retrieving it.
Unfortunately, the Mounties’ center-quarterback exchange issues reared their head again immediately and Montclair gave the ball right back.
As head coach John Fiore has said a lot this year, this is a very young team, and one prone to the mistakes that come with it. While that is very true, at some point the younger players have to find a way to step up and show they are learning from these setbacks.
Every loss may be a lesson, but at some point you have to put those lessons into practice.
For a more detailed breakdown of the game as well as quotes from head coach John Fiore, check out the Montclair Local print and online editions later this week.