MLLBURN, NJ – West Essex seniors Matt Thies and Joe Scaglia connected for two touchdowns in the first half to lead West Essex to a 35-14 victory over Millburn High School on Friday night.
The Knights took control of the game early and didn’t look back, scoring 35 unanswered points before letting the Millers get on the board late in the fourth quarter. West Essex remains undefeated with a 6-0 record on the season.
"We're just taking it one game at a time right now," Knights' coach Chris Benacquista said. "We really have some great senior leadership on this team."
Thies and his offense got to work on the opening drive when he hit Scaglia for a 37-yard pass over the middle of the field. The reception set up a scramble by Thies that went for a 4-yard touchdown.
Three-and-outs plagued Millburn throughout the first half which allowed the Knights to dominate the possession game and they capitalized on the opportunities.
The Millers had West Essex facing a fourth down when the Knights pulled out some trickery with a fake punt-pass to senior wide receiver Alex Wojtowicz. The fourth down conversion set up the first touchdown pass to Scaglia from 12 yards out.
Thies led the offense down the field on the next drive and capped it off in similar fashion, finding Scaglia in the back of the end zone for the 21-yard score.
“Our slow starts have really been a problem and we finally came right out of the gate and executed everything,” Scaglia said. “We really just played to our potential tonight.”
Millburn saw the game slipping away when on fourth down the snap sailed high and through the fingers of punter Jake Pickard, who immediately fell on it. The Knights took advantage of the short field and handed it off to senior Peter Norton who bounced it outside and beat the defenders to the pylon from five yards out.
West Essex continued to pound the ball in the second half when junior fullback Marc McDonald ran 60 yards up the sideline for a touchdown.
Quarterback Zack Weinstein shined a little too late for Millburn, rushing for two fourth quarter touchdowns from 20 and 27 yards out.