WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Mountaineers improved their record to 2-1, with a 21-0 victory over the Bloomfield Bengals on Friday night
Despite the Mountaineers’ loss last week against West Essex, they came into this game with a positive attitude. Co-captain Hassiem Williams returned to the field after missing the first two season games due to an injury. As the game kicked off under the lights, the first quarter was very even. Neither team had clear chances to score a touchdown, resulting in a 0-0 score for the quarter.
The Mountaineers improved their play in the second quarter, which could easily be seen from the stands. Quarterback Jahir Blanton scrambled in various different plays, gaining several yards for West Orange. Midway into the quarter, Blanton threw a 40-yard pass to senior Jasaan Eley and he ran it a few yards to score the only touchdown in the first half. Cristian Samusenko converted the extra point. The first half ended with West Orange in the lead, 7-0.
Less penalties and punting on fourth down plagued the second half of the game, allowing it to settledown and let the players play football.
Halfway through the third quarter, West Orange recovered the ball at Bloomfield’s 29-yard line after a miss-snap to Bloomfield’s punter. After losing yardage on runs and then gaining it back, number 20, McDerby Ceneus, ran the ball 15 yards into the end zone to make the game 14-0 ending the quarter.
David Grant, number 32, ran the ball through the Bloomfield defenders for a touchdown to bring West Orange’s lead to 21-0, where it would remain for the rest of the game.
The game, under the lights at West Orange High School, provided an atmosphere that cannot be replicated in day games. “I think the crowds are much bigger now that we’ve got the lights. There’s a lot of school spirit. It’s a really nice thing we’ve got going on,” said Athletic Director Ronald Bligh after the game.
West Orange Head Coach Jim Matsakis commented on the game by saying, “It was sloppy, it was very sloppy, and we made a lot of mistakes. Overall we were the better team and we played down to their level. That showed when we played Teaneck. We played down to their level. We were allowing them to compete with us. A lot of that has to do with a lot of new faces and everybody learning a new system, even myself. It's baby steps. We need to improve on that because its two weeks in a row (that we played down to their level), but the only difference is that the defense really showed up tonight.”
Coach Matsakis called quarterback Jahir Blanton’s performance, “average,” noting that Blanton, a senior, is actually playing quarterback for the first time and is only three weeks into the season. He was nontheless pleased with his efforts. The West Orange coach also said that the team will continue to work on their penalties and minor mistakes to make sure stronger teams will not be able to take advantage of them.
The West Orange Football team next goes to East Orange on Friday, October 4th.