RANDOLPH, NJ- While it was not their cleanest game if the year, the Randolph High School Football team was still able to pull off a 42-0 trouncing of Morristown on Friday Oct. 23
“We had a couple missed opportunities and a couple penalties that didn’t go our way, which made us play a little slower than we would have liked,” said coach Will Nahan. “But, I like how we fixed that and responded the rest of the way.”
The Rams started the game with the ball, but their first two drives were sloppy, as one ended in turning the ball over on downs, and the other with a lost fumble. But drive number three worked much better. The Rams had a short field to operate with, and Jimmy Pepe kicked off the scoring when he took a handoff, broke out to the right side, and raced 30-yards for a TD and a 7-0 lead.
Their next drive was also fast and efficient, and after two punishing, tackle breaking runs of 20 and 15-yards by Justin Townsend, Randolph was on the doorstep of the end zone. From 5-yards out, Townsend took the ball again and laid the wood on the poor linebacker who met him in the hole, barreling him over and into the end zone for a 14-0 lead.
“We didn’t come out the way we wanted to, we started a little slow and that was not how we had prepared to come out,” said Townsend. “But in the middle of that first quarter we started to feel our groove and that is when we started rolling.”
Meanwhile, the defense was efficient, smothering the Colonials on their first three possessions. Morristown’s next possession ended quickly, when linebacker Tommy O’Sullivan came on a blitz and forced an errant throw that was intercepted by defensive end Pat Gilchrist.
"Pat Gilchrist was great today, and his interception was a momentum builder for us,” said Nahan. “He had a great game week one but made a few mistakes week two and was not satisfied with that. He had an awesome week of practice this week and look what happened out here today.”
After the turnover, Pepe and Townsend traded runs down to the one-yard line, where Townsend scored again for a 21-0 lead.
Starting the second half Morristown had the ball first, but Townsend came up with a big sack on third down for a 15-yard loss to pin the Colonials back on their own 1-yard line. Crammed in their own end zone, the Colonials only got off a 20-yard punt, leaving Randolph with great field position. The Rams capitalized on a dive up the gut by Pepe for a 28-0 lead.
Morristown did finally muster up some productive drives using a quick short passing attack, but they could not sustain it enough to score points and continued to punt the ball back to Randolph.
The Rams final two scores came on a 30-yard TD pass from QB Aden Koenigsberg to WR Justin Lawler in the corner of the end zone, and on a 5-yard keeper by Koenigsburg that was set up by a 45-yard interception return from Andrew Novak.
While the Rams passing game didn't find much success in the game, it didn't matter much since the running game was more than doing its part.
“We are feeling good right now, but we feel the same as we did when we were 0-0,” said Koenigsberg. “We still have work to do, and 3-0 doesn’t mean too much down the road, so we have to take it week by week, and keep grinding.”
Randolph should face a much tougher battle in their next game against Morris Knolls, a team who has a reputation for being tough, methodical, and disciplined in their execution.
“They are like the military academy,” said Nahan. “They do what they do, and they are always super prepared. You have to be disciplined to beat a very good team like that.”
Pepe, who is a senior and a four-year varsity player, will be suiting up for his final game against the Golden Eagles.
“We came out very slow today in the first half,” said Pepe. “Knolls is always a great opponent, and we can’t afford to do that in that game. We need to make sure we come out strong right from the start next week against them.”