MORRISTOWN – Saturday marked Senior Day at Morristown High School for the football program.
Unfortunately for the Colonials, a potent East Orange rushing game put a damper on the festivities.
The Jaguars outran Morristown to a 34-14 victory on the turf field, improving the Essex County club to 4-3 while dropping the Colonials to 2-6 on the season’s ledger.
The matchup between the schools came ten years after their high stakes meeting in 2007, in which Morristown handed the Jags their only loss of their state championship campaign by a 21-12 count, eventually leading the schools to split the penultimate title of the dearly beloved IHC-Iron Division.
The home side got off to an auspicious start in this one, as senior back Jhamil King burst through a hole on the third play from scrimmage off a double handoff, and sprinted 59 yards to the house to give Morristown an early 7-0 lead after Ryan Devaney’s extra point.
However, it took the Jaguars just five plays to respond with a big burst of their own. From the Colonials 39, quarterback Nasir Montgomery pulled back a handoff and ran around right end and untouched into the end zone to level things at 7-7 with 8:51 to go in the opening quarter.
After a quick three and out by the Colonials, East Orange struck gold via the big play again. Devonne Swan took a jet sweep hand off, cut upfield into a running lane, leaped over a falling would-be Morristown tackler about eight yards up field, and made it 45 yards to the house to give the visitors a 13-7 lead after a quarter.
East Orange appeared to be closing in on another score, but on 1st & Goal from the Morristown 8, King intercepted Montgomery in the end zone to extinguish the threat.
But the Colonials were once again forced to punt after three plays on the ensuing series, and East Orange would capitalize.
Playing with a short field, a four play, 38-yard drive was again capped by a long scoring play when Rady Rojas-Portilla ran around left end to pay dirt from 29 yards away. Montgomery’s two-point conversion pass to McGinley Smith ultimately saw the Jaguars up 21-7 at half.
Home run plays—which came in remarkable bounty to the winners all day—came again on the first drive of the third quarter. Alshadee Salaam—a speedy freshman on the Jaguars roster—took a handoff out of the shotgun, and ran untouched 59 yards to allow East Orange to open up a 28-7 lead less than two minutes into the quarter.
King’s big day continued on the ensuing kickoff, when he ran it back 96 yards up the left sideline to bring Morristown’s deficit back to 14 at 28-14.
The Jaguars would put the game away for good on a 15-yard touchdown run from Bryant Manuel with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Morristown will wrap up its regular season next Friday at historic Foley Field, when they’ll face Bloomfield in an inter-county contest. Kickoff is slated for 7 PM.
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