PATERSON, NJ- In postseason playoff competition last Friday, and a rematch of an earlier contest this year, Paterson’s John F. Kennedy High School’s varsity team stayed with Clifton in the first half but the Mustangs slowly pulled away in the third and fourth quarters.
Weather conditions at Clifton School Stadium, continual drizzle which transitioned into heavier rain, favored the run-oriented Mustangs.
Despite the 34-8 final tally led by a steady performance by Clifton senior running back David Martinez, it was JFK quarterback Evelon Babbs and wide receiver Jamier Wright-Collins that turned in the play of the game in TAPinto Paterson’s eyes.
A quick, wide-out pass from Kennedy’s quarterback, senior Evelon Babbs, found junior wide receiver Jamier Wright-Collins near the right sideline. In spectacular fashion, Wright-Collins out-dueled several Mustang defensive backs for the ball and turned up field. Off to the races for 70 yards, a final Clifton defender came at an angle, near the five yard line for an attempted tackle. A textbook, Walter Payton-like stiff arm by Wright-Collins left his adversary clutching nothing but air. A successful 2-point run attempt saw the Knights close the scoring gap at the time to 13-8.
Even with the efforts of JFK’s defense, including an impressive stop by Jahmall Readus and a stonewall tackle by Wright-Collins, the Mustangs offense, transitioned into a no-huddle scheme, crossed the goal line again late in the second frame following the touchdown up with a two-point conversion, pointing points on the scoreboard that JFK wouldn't match again for the rest of the game.
With two more touchdowns in the second half, another brilliant throw and catch by the Babbs to Wright-Collins tandem wasn’t enough for JFK to keep pace with the home team.
Concluding with a 5-4 record, Kennedy’s first three losses came by a total of eight points with a season highlight including a convincing win over nearby rival Passaic County Technical Institute, the first win over the Knight’s cross county rivals in Coach Ron Jackson’s distinguished career.
With 18 JFK players set to graduate in the spring the 2019 Knights will have a new look, and new hopes for football greatness.
The 2018 senior squad included: Evelon Babbs, Calvin Clyburn, Jayden Cornish, Wisam Salameh, Ya’zeir Francis, Emmanuel Rivera, Shaqir Herbert, Jahmall Readus, Sean Morgan, Samuel Mercado, Eliezer Ramirez, Levaun Dixon, Aaron Belfield, De’andre Jones, Jaysen Triunfer, Jeremiah Jones, Tymir Davis, and Charlie Davila.
The coaching staff for 2018 included Head Coach Randy Jackson and assistants Randy Walker, Donald Davis, Kumar Davis, Mo Deeb, Jason Cornish, and Walter Munk.