by Andrew Garda
IRVINGTON — The struggles continued for the Montclair Mounties football team as they fell to Irvington last Friday, 37-0, dropping their record to 2-4 (1-4 in the Super Football Conference), as the Blue Knights improved to 5-1 (5-1 SFC).
The Mounties can still pull to above .500 for the season, as two games were added to the schedule. This Saturday they face Nutley (5-0, 5-0 SFC) on the road at 1 p.m., before taking on West Side (5-1, 5-1 SFC) at Woodman on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 1 p.m. Their last game will be on Nov. 25 at Elizabeth (1-3, 1-3 Big Central). Kickoff time for that game is yet to be determined.
As has been the case all too often this year, Montclair’s offense just never got going.
Their first drive saw a pair of first downs but only netted 20 yards total, and Irvington scored shortly thereafter on a 33-yard run by Al-jay Henderson. The Mounties’ next drive ended in a fumble, but the defense forced an Irvington incompletion on fourth down. Unfortunately Montclair once again struggled on offense, this time going backwards to finish with minus-6 yards.
Irvington scored on their next drive in just three plays, with an Al’ Muhaymin Lockhart pass to Nasir Addision for a 64-yard touchdown. The extra point was missed, but the Mounties still trailed 13-0 with 11 minutes left in the half.
It would go on like that all game, and by the end Montclair would be outgained on offense, 329 yards to 139. Montclair ran more plays (52 compared to 45) but averaged just 2.7 yards per play compared to the Knights’ 7.3 yards.
The Mounties also struggled with penalties, although Irvington was just as bad, and between the two teams there were 24 penalties called for 226 yards.
Head coach John Fiore said ultimately the result was not on the officials, but on the Mounties.
“Look, we needed to play a perfect game. Like last year when we beat them, you know, with the injuries we have, we needed to play a perfect game,” Fiore said.
Irvington fields a very talented team, including a defensive player with offers from Rutgers and from many other Division 1 schools across the country.
That put the offensive line in a tough position, but Fiore felt they worked hard, and he had special praise for senior Eli Dawson, who saw the 6-foot-4, 310-pound form of Rutgers-committed Zaire Angoy much of the night. Angoy was one of several D-1 players the Mounties faced Friday.
“He did a great job tonight. I love Eli Dawson, he should not hang his head about his effort tonight. He didn’t quit. He worked his [butt] off,” Fiore said. “All of our o-linemen. They’re undersized, undermanned, and every game we’d been in pretty much this season and they’ve worked their [butts] off.”