Johnson Crusaders Varsity Football Shut Out Governor Livingston Highlanders for First Win of 2015

The Johnson Crusaders going through pregame warmups prior to the start of their game. Credits: Daniel Collins
The Governor Livingston Highlanders going through their pregame warmups on the other ed of the field before the start of the game. Credits: Daniel Collins
Johnson  Anthony Rizzuto and Wes Giannobile and Governor Livingston Javon Reis-Wilson, Brandon Monroe, Jasper Lee, Ryan Paliwoka, & Richie Leonardis for the coin toss. Credits: Daniel Collins
Crusaders head coach Anthony DelConte talks with his players before the start of the second quarter, of what their next play will be. Credits: Daniel Collins
Highlanders head coach Dan Guyton talks with his players during a time-out, about what their next play will be. Credits: Daniel Collins
The Crusaders and Highlanders lining up and going through their postgame handshakes. Credits: Daniel Collins

CLARK, NJ-  The Johnson Crusaders varsity football team battled through the cold air, rain and wind against the Governor Livingston Highlanders as they sought their first win of the 2015 season, grinding through to top the visitors, 12-0, in a Pink-Out game Friday night in Clark

The game’s first score came in the second quarter, when Johnson QB senior co-captain Anthony Rizzuto capped off a 14-play, 56-yard drive, by connecting for a 10-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Ryan Koppel. This put the Crusaders ahead 6-0 with 6:58 left in that quarter. A two-point attempt following the touchdown fell short.

“It was all about staying together, not letting a bad play because of the rain affect us and bring us down,” Rizzuto said. “It was about sticking together and getting the win. We know how to win now. We know what it takes to play a full game, and we just have to do that and play better.”

Sign Up for E-News

The teams battled through a scoreless third quarter that ended with the Crusaders stopping the Highlanders on fourth down at the ALJ 25-yard line.  Getting on the offense with 2:02 left, the Crusaders retained control through most of the fourth quarter, preventing a Highlander possession.

The Crusaders embarked on a 20-play, 75-yard drive, burning 9:04 of the final quarter; the drive kept alive by a Highlanders encroachment penalty on 4th and 2 in GL territory.

Sophomore Joe Turek would complete the drive with a 4-yard run for the touchdown, to put the Crusaders ahead 12-0 with 2:56 left in the fourth quarter and give his team a 2-touchdown lead.

Turek finished the night with nine rushes and 32 yards, to add to his 4-yard rushing touchdown.

“It feels amazing, the offensive line played great the whole game,” Turek said. “They were just fighting the entire game, and made me great holes, and I just fought and scored a touchdown.”

On the next Highlanders drive, GL’s sophomore QB Quinn Haddad was intercepted by ALJ sophomore Jon Duffy with 2:35 left to seal the deal for the Crusaders.

Rizzuto finished 1-1 with the ten-yard touchdown pass to Koppel, and ran the ball 17 times for 58 rushing yards.

Crusaders head coach Anthony DelConte said that the offensive line was a critical reason for the victory.

“Our offensive line,” DelConte said. “They struggled a little bit at times, but when we needed to run behind them to seal the deal, they were able to get the job done and they paved the way at the end.”

For the Crusaders, senior Andrew Sanchez ran the ball four times for 28 yards, while senior Eddie Bergin finished the night with 12 rushes for 28 yards.

“There wasn’t a doubt in our minds that we were just going to continue pounding the rock, because they [the offensive line] were feeling it, they were in great shape, they were conditioned. They had it in the eye, I could see it in the huddle when I had the kids in. There was no doubt that we were going to continue running behind those guys, because they wanted to seal the deal for us,” DelConte said.

For the Highlanders, Haddad finished 1-4 with 15 passing yards and the interception. Senior Evan Lerch ran the ball 18 times for 75 yards, while senior Steve Sottosanti finished with 5 rushes for 29 yards. Junior Jack Blasch finished for Governor Livingston with two rushes for 12 yards, and junior Will Nicholson ran the ball once for five yards.

“I thought both teams played hard. You got to give it to Coach DelConte and the Crusaders, I thought they played hard,” Highlanders head coach Dan Guyton said. “I think both teams handled the elements very well, with ball control and everything else. They [the Crusaders] were able to convert first downs, and put the ball in the end zone. They were the better team tonight.”

The game was temporarily stopped with 1:59 left in the first quarter at 7:18pm, and a moment of silence was held for Evan Murray, the 17-year old Warren Hills QB who died from a lacerated spleen and internal bleeding last week after taking a hit in their game against Summit High School.

The Johnson Crusaders (1-3) head into their bye week, and take on the Roselle Abraham-Clark Rams on Friday, Oct. 16, 2015 at 7 p.m.

The Governor Livingston Highlanders (1-3) face off against Somerville High School next Friday night at home, Oct. 9, 2015, at 7 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Kumpf Students Creating Works of Art!

May 22, 2018

CLARK, NJ - Students in Mr. Baker's Life Skills Class at Carl H. Kumpf Middle School recently participated in a special art lesson joining Mr. Peitz’s class. The students worked on free hand drawings using pictures they chose.  Some of the pictures included a lion, a dog, cat, and a video game character. Students also worked with ceramics creating art ...

Video Shows Woman Ripping Off Tip Jar at Westfield YESTERcades, Manager Says

May 21, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Footage from security cameras at YESTERcades of Westfield shows a woman stealing the new game fund/employee tip jar from the counter at 2:10 a.m. (closing time) Sunday morning, according to manager Fred Logue, who shared screenshots of the video.

There was probably about $70 in the jar at the time, according to Logue, who said he reported the theft to Westfield ...

I totally Support Garwood Mayor Lombardo and His Team

May 22, 2018

A lot of people call me the “Voice of Garwood” because I usually have a lot to say. Those who know me know I only say things that I mean and that are truthful. I totally support our current mayor, Charles Lombardo, and his running mates, Jennyfer and Vincent, because I believe in them, and they are truthful. I would appreciate the people of Garwood coming together to re-elect Mayor ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!



Jun 29, 1927 - Apr 23, 2018
Margaret (Peggy) Kirk Leonard passed away Monday, April 23rd, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy ...
Read more

NJ American Water Working to Replace Water Mains in Clark

May 16, 2018

VOORHEES, NJ – New Jersey American Water plans to replace roughly 1,200 feet of water main lines in Clark according to a notice released on May 16.

The document indicates the company is replacing main along Georgian Drive, from Ross Street to Sherwood Circle that was originally installed in the 1930s.  Two hydrants and 29 utility-owned service lines along the pipeline route will ...