MORRISTOWN, NJ- The opening game of the Morristown High football season was marred by its first quarter.
Thanks to several big plays, visiting Roxbury piled on 21 points in the opening stanza, propelling the Gaels to a comfortable, 28-13 victory over Morristown on an oppressively hot Saturday afternoon in the county seat. With this victory, Roxbury has now sent a 3rd straight Colonials senior class with an 0-4 record against them.
Roxbury’s six victories in a row over Morristown (0-1) are unprecedented in a series that traces back to 1927, and the Colonials all-time edge vs. the Succasunna-based school has now been whittled down to 27-23-3.
A minute and a half into the game, Roxbury (1-0) receiver Paul Shadel caught a ball on a drag route over the middle. What looked to be a nice—but relatively harmless—20-yard gain around midfield for the visitors turned into a touchdown. While being tackled, Shadel’s knees never touched the ground, and he rolled over a Morristown defender, got on his feet, and took the ball 57 yards to the house to make it 7-0 right away.
The Colonials would gain a bit of traction on their next drive, gaining a pair of first downs, including a 13 yard burst from Jhamil King, but the drive would stall.
Morristown would put the ball to Roxbury, who parlayed a pair of 20-plus yard plays from Tucker Voelbel into six points. Gaels quarterback Donovan Brady snuck in from two yards out to double the visitors lead to 14-0 before seven minutes had passed.
A fumble and a sack doomed Morristown to a 3-and-out, and on Roxbury’s second play of its third drive, Gaels running back Justin Werder
burst through the ole for a 58-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 Roxbury lead, still in the first quarter.
It looked like Morristown was headed for a four touchdown deficit early in the second quarter, but Roxbury fumbled the ball away to Morristown’s Nathan Estiverne, whose recovery ended the threat.
Two drives later, Estiverne found himself open on a wheel route, and Colonials quarterback Jake Buchner beat a Roxbury defender in single coverage to score. Ryan Devaney’s extra point was good, trimming the deficit to 21-7 at half.
Trailing by 21 in the fourth, Buchner found Morristown receiver Josh Szott open on a post route to make it 28-13 with 10:31 to play. Roxbury blocked the PAT attempt.
It will only be week 2, but based on their tough schedule, Morristown’s playoff hopes may already be on the line on Friday night in Randolph. The Colonials have not beaten the Rams in this decade, and they last defeated their Sussex Turnpike neighbors on October 10th, 2009, by a 20-6 count