SUMMIT, NJ - The Summit High School Varsity Football Team faced Governor Livingston (GL) in the traditional "Friday Night Lights" game at Investors Bank Field.
The visiting Highlanders and their defensive scheme and effort stymied the Hilltoppers offense in the first half, not allowing a Summit first down until just prior to the midway point of the second quarter.
Gov. Livinston’s defensive line was solid in keeping the Hilltoppers away from their end zone. Behind the trifecta of Dan Tomlinson, Brian Biskaduros, and Ben Collins, Summit’s running backs could not make progress. A large array of Highlanders provided tackles and coverage for the night, keeping Summit’s offense on its toes.
If one was a fan of defense, the first quarter was nirvana. Neither team could move the ball, and GL's loading up of the defensive front -- with seven or eight players on the line -- was daring Summit to throw the ball. The defense befuddled the Hilltoppers, who looked all dressed up with nowhere to go.
In the second quarter, Rhajon Venable and the Summit special teams did a great job downing one of Froschauer's punts inside the GL one yard line. After two attempts to grind out some space from which to work failed, the Highlanders were faced with a third-and-long from their own 2 yard line.
The subsequent snap was high and wide, and skipped out of the end zone for a safety. The Hilltoppers led 2-0 at the 8:52 mark, and the break seemed to give the Summit offense the spark it needed to get in gear.
Despite having no passing game, GL made it tough on the Hilltoppers all night, and they broke through when Will Nicholson burst through the right side of the Summit line, then cut left and went 62 yards. The two-point conversion failed and, with 53.5 seconds left in the quarter, it was 23-6.
By the end of the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers made one more advance down the field, ultimately defeating the Highlanders 30-6.
Afterwards, Summit Head Coach Kevin Kostibos attributed his team's early-game offensive struggles to the strong scheme and effort of their opponent. "Give Governor Livingston all the credit. They packed the box, and made us throw to beat them," he said. "it took us a while to get going, and we have a young team in terms of first-year starters. Our defense was outstanding tonight, and that gave us some time to put things together."
Editor's Note: Article contributions by Lauren Boyd.