BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With 1.8 seconds left on the clock the Hillside quarterback Caleb Sanders threw a hailmary pass that wasn't answered as the GL Highlander football team defeated the Hillside comets 16-14, at Frye Field on senior day this past Saturday.
The win was due to a combination of collaborative teamwork, strong defense, and outstanding offense from senior Jayson Schmidt. The Highlander defensive squad was also led by Schmidt and fellow seniors Nick Richel, Zachary Glenn, Luke Stallone and Victor Chait who held the substantially strong offense of the Hillside Comets to only 14 points.
Schmidt ran a staggering 91 yards on a kickoff return to open the scoring for the game up until Hillside quarterback Caleb Sanders scored on a 13 yard scamper to tie the game 7-7 with 6:05 left in the third quarter. Sophomore Liam Quigley converted on a 23 yard field goal after the highlanders recovered a Hillside fumble, which was answered by Salters with a 53 yard touchdown pass to Jabari Stanley making it 14-10 Comets with 6:10 left to play.
Late in the fourth quarter, Hillside comets went for it on fourth down to keep the ball and was stopped by sophomore John Schmidt who made a nice open field tackle. Junior quarterback Connor Tracy led the highlanders on their last offensive drive with a big first down completion to senior wide receiver Victor Chait. Hillside’s late hit on the Highlanders was penalized which kept this final drive alive.
With just over two minutes left in the fourth, Tracey handed the ball off to Schmidt who scored a 38 yard touchdown to win the game 16-14.
The Hillside Comets have been a New Jersey Football powerhouse winning the NJSIAA South Jersey, Group 2 championship last year. This is the Highlander’s most impressive upset win in quite some time, which Coach Dan Guyton can build upon in this shortened season.
The seniors have a lot to look forward to as this past game which should improve their confidence as they approach next Saturday's game against Bernards.
Senior Football Players: Jayson Schmidt, Victor Chait, Zach Glenn, Luke Stallone, Peter Iossa and Nick Richel, Jake Quandt, and Andrew Ciraco, Matt Quinn, James Carbone and Matthew Kazanecki.
Senior Cheerleaders: Wendy Lanza, Ali Knapp, Naomi Brogden, Jordan Tango, Kyasia AhKao, Brianna Cagan, Tori Jonach, Sophia Barca, Isabella Antonelli, and Sophie Rittenhouse.
Senior Marching Band members: John Bernier, Samantha Carhuayano, John Koubek, Uriel Ministro, Sidd Phatak, Matt Pullara, Corey Stark, Joey Stecher, Emma Sylvester, Cris Toribio, Paige Wathen, Rick Wetterer (drum major).