TINTON FALLS, NJ - Gov. Livingston running backs Jayson Schmidt and Joe Riggi combined for 277 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Highlanders defeated the Monmouth Regional Falcons 41-31 in a NJSIAA Regional Crossover Consolation game Friday afternoon in Tinton Falls.
Schmidt scored three second half touchdowns on runs of 59, 26, and 9 yards, carrying the ball 15 times for a season high 152 yards. Sophomore back Riggi added a career high 125 yards and a TD on 14 carries. In the victory, the team's first of the season, Gov. Livingston amassed 425 yards of total offense. The Highlanders will now be playing a second consolidation game on Nov. 16th away at Roselle before ending the season at home on Thanksgiving against arch rival New Providence.
Gov. Livingston headed south on the GSP Friday morning carrying with them the burden of an 0-8 season mark. The Highlanders who graduated 20 plus seniors from last year's 6-5 squad, including every defensive starter and all but two offensive starters, were desperate for a win. However, their Shore opponent was just as desperate for a "W" as the Falcons of Monmouth Regional also found themselves winless after 8 games. Both teams entered the season with inexperienced lines on both sides of the ball. Undoubtedly, the winner of this game would be determined at the line of scrimmage.
Gov. Livingston struck first as QB Victor Chait ( 11-57, TD) found the end zone on a two yard run for an early Highlander 6-0 lead. Chait, who completed all three of his pass attempts in the game then connected with Nick Richel on a 48 yard touchdown to put the Highlanders up 13-0 after Connor Tracy (5 PAT) converted the extra point.
To their credit, the Falcons came right back to score a pair of touchdowns sandwiched around a Riggi five yard TD run to close to within 20-13 as the first half ended.
Unfortunately for Monmouth, they would have no answer for Schmidt who entered the game in the second half. Schmidt, who ran for 1053 yards and 13 TD’s last year has seen his production dip this year mostly due to being dinged up early on this season. However, the junior back behind an O Line that was winning the point of attack, took control of this game as he shredded the Falcon defense for three second half scores enabling the Highlanders to maintain their lead.
Defensively, Gov. Livingston got a big effort from safety Riggi who led the team with 9 tackles and a pick. Defensive back Matt Quinn came through with a pair of interceptions and Richel recorded seven tackles from his linebacking position.
If Gov. Livingston can take down Roselle next week, they will head into their Thanksgiving showdown with New Providence with a much needed momentum. New Providence (6-3) who was pounded 56-27 by top seeded Cresskill in the opening round of the North Jersey I, Group I playoffs still comes in as the favorite in this year's Holiday clash. The Highlanders will be looking for their sixth straight win over the Pioneers. Expect a battle when the neighborhood rivals take the field on Thanksgiving morning at 10:30 a.m. in Berkeley Heights.