WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Mountaineers came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Nutley, 30-29, at the Friday night Homecoming Game.
The game started off early with West Orange at a 7-0 deficit. After winning the coin toss and choosing to kick the ball off first, West Orange allowed an 83-yard run for a touchdown by Nutley’s Craig Merkle with less than a minute played in the game. Merkle would score three touchdowns for Nutley in the game.
After the touchdown and converted extra point, Nutley kicked it off to West Orange. West Orange quarterback Jahir Blanton led his team down the field for a first and goal only to fumble the ball. Nutley picked up the ball at their own 7-yard line. Two plays later West Orange recovered a Nutley fumble at the Nutley 29-yard line. Blanton again moved his team down the field and threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to #22, Jasaan Eley. After a missed 2-point conversion with four minutes left in the first quarter, Nutley led, 7-6.
With six minutes remaining in the first half West Orange kicker Cristian Samusenko converted a 20 yard field goal to put West Orange up 9-7. Three minutes later Nutley tied the score with a safety against West Orange . With 40 seconds left in the first half , Nutley scored another touchdown to take the lead 16-9.
The second half began with Nutley kicking the ball off to West Orange and as they moved the ball down the field, David Grant ran the ball in with 9:13 remaining in the third quarter. Cristian Samusenko converted the extra point, which tied the score up 16-16. Five minutes after the Mountaineers tied the score, Nutley landed in West Orange’s end zone with another touchdown. The extra point was converted and the score remained 23-16 in Nutley's favor for the remainder of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with a rallying cry from the West Orange fans. The crowd was on edge as quarterback Jahir Blanton fumbled on Nutley’s 45-yard line, but West Orange recovered the ball. The Mountaineers could not move the ball for a touchdown, and with the ball in Nutley's possession they scored again, with 8:04 remaining in the game. They also converted the extra point, making the score 29-16.
Nutley then kicked the ball off to West Orange and the Mountaineers quickly made their way down the field, scoring and converting the extra point with 5:17 minutes left for a 29-23 score. The ball was kicked off to Nutley, but the Mountaineers did prevented a first down and forced them to punt it West Orange.
The Mountaineers moved down the field and with just 3 minutes left in the game, Jasaan Eley ran the ball in, tied the game, but with the converted extra point, West Orange was up 30-29.
West Orange Kicked the ball off, and Nutley started on their 45-yard line with 2:58 left in the game. The Mountaineers forced a turn over on Nutley’s 39-yard line. West Orange proceeded about twenty-nine yards but then Grant fumbled and Nutley recovered the ball on their own 10-yard line. Nutley quickly moved the ball up the field and called their last timeout, with 5 seconds remaining, as it was 3rd and 10 and they were on West Orange’s 40-yard line. On the last play of the game, Nutley threw the ball deep into the end zone but senior Isaiah Scott intercepted it.
David Grant rushed for 127 yards and three touchdowns, including two TDs in the fourth quarter.
This win now brings the Mountaineers’ record to 5-1. West Orange willl face off against Columbia High School on Friday, October 25 at CHS at 7:00 pm.
(Editor's Note: the following information was added by the Alternative Press.)
Prior to the start of the game, West Orange Seniors participating in fall sports and Marching Band were recognized, along with their parents, and during Halftime, the WOHS Homecoming King and Queen were crowned.
The events ran over and Nutley requested that game officials penalize West Orange for the overage. They began the third quarter with a 15 yard penalty, and the West Orange High School Marching Band, which began their routine during halftime, had to stop approximately one minute after it began.