PATERSON, NJ - The Eastside High School boys’ varsity football squad entertained Montclair over the weekend with the visitors scoring a touchdown in each period to secure a 28-8 victory. The Ghosts notched their only score in the third quarter when senior quarterback Wymeir Reed fired a successful 23-yard TD pass to junior wideout Jair Stewart and also connected with senior running back Albert Canty for the two-point conversion.
The Mounties accepted the opening kickoff and immediately defined their running game. After moving the ball to Eastside’s 20-yard line, a ground effort was stopped for no gain but a combined tackle by Canty and sophomore Cornell Goodwin could not prevent a first down. With junior Maverick Selementi split wide right with a no-huddle offense, Montclair senior signal caller Michael Robinson, on a keeper, was run out of bounds by Paterson senior Jonathan Gonzalez. Another QB run netted five yards and an offsides penalty against Eastside moved the Mounties closer to pay dirt. On second and goal, Robinson was able to slice in for the score and with the successful extra point the Mounties enjoyed an early 7-0 lead.
The ensuing kickoff provided the Ghosts with excellent field position at their own 45. After several run attempts garnered scant yardage, Reed, from the shotgun, spotted sophomore Cornell Goodwin speeding down the right sideline but a dogfight with the Montclair defender resulted in the pigskin bouncing to the turf. The ensuing punt took an Eastside bounce, resulting in the Mounties starting from their own 30.
Robinson rolled right and floated a flair pass to junior running back Jordan Williams to move the chains but was stopped on a QB keeper courtesy of a textbook tackle by Paterson sophomore linebacker Byron Estrada. Robinson carried, was confronted by Canty, and after the two played cat and mouse, finally committed right and was run out of bounds. After both an illegal block in the back and a personal foul were flagged on Montclair, the Mounties attempted a pass over the middle which sailed high, forcing a punt.
After the subsequent Eastside offensive possession began on the Ghosts’ 32, Williams, now playing outside linebacker, quelled a running attempt for no gain and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called on both squads. A low snap was fielded by Reed as a sack resulted and a clipping infraction against the Ghosts moved the ball back to the 15. Reed was then harassed by Williams while attempting to throw and the ball popped out but was recovered by the home team as the first quarter sounded with Montclair clinging to a seven point lead.
Players with the same first name and ages then connected as the Ghosts’ senior Jaheim Carnegie booted a punt to the lone Montclair deepman, Jaheim Rowe, also a senior, who caught the ball, stepped right, then left, eluded several tacklers, and cruised just short of the goal line for a what appeared to be a scintillating, near score. However, the dramatic play was called back due to blocking in the back penalty committed by the Mounties.
The Montclair scoring machine then sputtered as Eastside junior defensive tackle Arthur Edmonds caught Robinson from behind. After Williams was stonewalled by Canty for no gain, Robinson broke through the line and bolted for big yardage but the play was called back for holding and on another long run, the Mounties shot themselves in the foot (again) with yet another holding infraction. With second and 27, Robinson navigated through the Eastside linebacker area but bobbled the ball and the Ghosts recovered.
On Eastside’s ensuing possession, a run for no gain and a QB sack were followed by a beautiful, long spiral by Reed which was just beyond the fingertips of his intended receiver, junior wide receiver Ahsin Jacobs. The Ghosts were forced to punt and after tracking down a wild snap, Carnegie decided to run and gained over ten yards but was short of the first down giving Montclair the ball on their own 47.
After Robinson was stopped by Canty and Jacobs for a short gain, Williams carried but lay writing in pain on the field after he was tackled. To the relief of fans from both sides and after a lengthy game delay, the star field general was able to stand up and limp to the sidelines.
What happened next was remarkable, to say the least.
Pressed into duty at the quarterback position, Montclair’s Solomon Brennan immediately refined the definition of the term, ‘reserve’. On a keeper left, the substitute scooted for good yardage and a late hit whistled on Eastside moved the ball to within eight yards of the goal line. The young stand-in then lofted a perfect spiral into the left corner to senior Justin Kirkley for six points and the extra kick resulted in the score: Montclair 14--Eastside 0.
The subsequent, line-drive kickoff by the Mounties was fielded on one bounce by Jacobs but excellent special teams coverage halted the speedy Ghost at his own 21-yard line. A delay of game penalty against Eastside moved the ball backwards but Reed was able to provide some breathing room with a nifty, five yard keeper. After a crossfield pass was almost intercepted by the Mounties’ Sean Brown, a pair of long bomb attempts came close but did not connect.
Carnegie was able to grab a high snap and get the ensuing punt away which rolled to the Eastside 46 as Gonzalez provided excellent coverage and Lowe wisley decided against attempting a return.
With Brennan still in the game, a low pass to the left flat hit his intended receiver in the feet and the somewhat slender, but courageous, QB was stonewalled on a combined stop by over 500 combined pounds (Edmonds and a Paterson defensive line colleague.) A Montclair flea-flicker then almost backfired as Kirkley took a handoff for an apparent end around run but pulled up and passed only to have the aerial nearly picked off by Goodwin. Brennan then found Williams for a catch and run to the 28 but an over-the-middle pass, near the goal line, was incomplete. A QB keeper moved the chains but a pass to the left corner of the end zone was literally in and out of the intended receiver’s hands and a Montclair 35-yard field goal attempt fell well short as the first half horn sounded.
The third quarter was highlighted by the running of Williams who scored with 7:15 left in the frame to extend Montclair’s lead to 21-0.
After a confusing exchange on the ensuing kickoff and a lengthy powwow by officials, the Mounties had to tee the ball up again and attempt another kick as the Ghosts started from their own 30. Reed was able to gain two yards, despite a low snap, and Jacobs nabbed a rope to the left sideline for five more chunks of real estate but the Ghosts soon faced a fourth down on their own 35-yard line.
Eastside opted to go for it, as Head Coach James Magazine’s roll of the dice paid off, with Reed firing a bullet to Jacobs whose clutch reception spelled first down. A personal foul against Montclair added 15 more yards and Reed was flushed out of the pocket by a furious Mounties’ rush but, miraculously, was able to spot sophomore wideout Elijah Carroll downfield who was literally all alone, waiting for the pass. The completion moved the pigskin to the Montclair six-yard line but a throwing attempt, right, to Jacobs, was broken up by Robinson (who had recovered from his injury.) It was then that Reed found Stewart with the aforementioned scoring strike and lofted the two-point conversion which Canty was able to run under and make a behind the back catch while running at full throttle.
The Mounties were able to add one more touchdown in the final frame on a three-yard scoring dash by Robinson who also contributed a 66-yard run earlier in the quarter. Reed and Smith continued to turn in excellent efforts for the Ghosts but fell short of the goal line, resulting in the final tally.
Eastside faces cross-town rival Kennday, at Bauerle Field, in the annual Thanksgiving Day battle on Wednesday, November 24, at 6:00 p.m.
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