MAPLEWOOD, NJ -- For the second week in a row, the Columbia Cougars football team came up just short. This time the result was an 8-6 loss against East Orange Campus Friday night at Underhill Field.
The loss, their fourth after winning the opener against Kearny, sends Columbia to 1-4 on the year.
“We have rotten luck. We should have won (tonight),” head coach Dave Curtin said.
With regular starter and captain Jimmy Martinez returning to helm at quarterback after missing last week’s game against Bloomfield, the Cougars roared out to a quick start and appeared ready to snap their three-game losing streak.
The Cougars took advantage of great field position early after a shanked Jaguar punt in the first quarter. After Columbia took over on the Jaguar 39-yard line, strong running from freshman running back Kiambu Jones and a pass interference penalty against the Jaguars allowed Martinez to punch the ball in from two yards out. Columbia missed the extra point attempt, leaving the score 6-0.
The Cougars looked good on both sides of the ball in the first half, holding the Jaguars scoreless and keeping them bottled up on the ground. They were unable to keep that momentum going in the second half, however.
A defensive breakdown led to East Orange’s only score, with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter. Jaguar quarterback Damion Thomas lobbed a simple screen pass to wide receiver Dondre Chapman. He took it for a 75-yard touchdown after several missed tackles.
The two-point conversion attempt was successful and the eight points secured the Jaguars their first victory of the season.
“It’s high school football," Curtin said of the play that made the difference. “You make mistakes.”
The Cougars will go back to the drawing board and look to prepare for Seton Hall Prep who will visit Underhill Field next week.
The reporter is a student participating in hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.