NEWARK, NJ - The release of the highly anticipated movie adaption of the blockbuster 1957 Broadway show, “West Side Story”, has been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak. However, unlike the production by Steven Speilberg, much of which was filmed in Paterson, East Side Story went on as scheduled.
Under clear autumn skies and perfect football weather, the Eastside High School varsity football squad traveled to The Gateway City to take on Newark East Side at spacious Schools Stadium.
The visitors combined a fierce rushing attack with a credible passing effort to keep the home team off balance for the entire evening, resulting in a convincing 47-0 shutout.
Paterson made an immediate impact on the first play from scrimmage as Wymeir Reed, from the shotgun, received the hike for a quarterback keeper. The senior field general darted left and headed upfield, along the sideline, for a 65-yard scoring scamper. The extra point was good, providing the Ghosts a 7-0 lead.
To East Side’s credit, the Red Raiders were able to keep the Ghosts out of the end zone for the remainder of the first quarter. However, the second frame led to an avalanche of Paterson scoring which continued throughout the rest of the contest.
Just before the initial frame concluded, Ghosts’ linebacker Amir Smith broke through the Red Raiders’ line to register a quarterback sack for a huge loss. Newark’s Aaron Baker then rolled right but his 20-yard pass attempt fell incomplete. The play characterized the entire evening for the senior QB who proved adept at scrambling but was constantly hurried and harassed by the Kennedy defensive line.
Following an excellent, left-footed punt by Newark senior David Gomes, the Paterson rushing attack shifted into full throttle. After a personal foul moved the Ghosts back to near their own goal line, running back Albert Canty burst between center and right guard for 40 yards. Fellow senior Amir Smith then churned up the middle for eight more chunks of real estate.
Reed handed off to junior Ahsin Jacobs who was pushed out of bounds by Newark defensive back Christian Bennett but not before gaining enough yardage to move the chains. Smith then got the call and followed a protective wall, which delivered at least two devastating pancake blocks, and scooted into the end zone for a score. The extra-point duo of junior kicker Kyienne Colter and sophomore holder Rodney Byrd clicked to give the Ghosts a commanding 14-0 lead with 10:46 left in the first half.
The subsequent kickoff went to the Red Raiders’ deep man, junior Naazir Jackson Jr., who turned in a nice return to his own 30-yard line. A Newark running attempt was stopped for no gain by Paterson senior linebacker Shemar Douglas but Baker was able to roll right and connect with Jackson Jr. on for a five-yard completion while a defensive holding infraction against the Ghosts tacked on 15 more.
With a 1st and ten from his own 45-yard line, Baker was flushed out of the pocket and his desperate pass attempt was knocked away by Smith. A Paterson pass pick-off then turned the ball over to Eastside, enabling the Ghosts to start from their own 40. However, a furious rush from Newark’s freshman defensive tackle Shemar Bethea hurried Reed into an incompletion.
The Red Raiders’ offense began to click as Baker found Jackson Jr. down the right sideline for a 15-yard gainer. From the Eastside 26-yard line, Baker again passed but the attempt to junior wide receiver Christian Steele, in the left flat, was just inches high. From the shotgun, Baker miraculously eluded a horde of Paterson defenders and was shoved out of bounds by Ghosts’ freshman defensive end Nyreek Clyburn. A delay of play penalty further stalled the promising drive and Baker was again chased out of the pocket by Smith, forced to backpedal, and tossed an incompletion. Another hurry by the Silk City Sack Exchange turned the ball over to the visitors.
After a run off left tackle netted 18 yards, Reed was nailed at the line of scrimmage by Newark freshman defensive tackle Aurthur Delima. Canty’s name was called on the next play and he raced around, and down, the left side to near pay dirt. Facing a lone defender between him and the goal line, Canty employed a Walter Payton-like stiffarm and managed to knock his nemesis down as both players tumbled to the turf. Smith then took the next handoff from Reed and cruised into the end zone for the score. The extra point was blocked by senior Red Raiders’ linebacker Gian Carlos.
The Paterson kickoff was returned by Newark to their own 22-yard line but Red Raiders’ special teams member, Derick DeSouza, was hurt on the play. After a significant game delay, the courageous sophomore was able to limp to the sideline to warm applause by fans from both sides.
When play resumed, Baker was, again, harassed out of the pocket, forced to retreat, and tackled by senior Paterson defensive back Messiah Muckle near the goal line for a near safety. Baker was able to gain composure and fire a clutch pass over the middle, from deep in the end zone, to Gomes for 12 yards of breathing room. Newark was again forced to punt but the ball took a Red Raiders’ bounce and rolled to the Paterson 45-yard line .
A Reed quarterback keeper and a Canty run off left guard moved the ball downfield for the Ghosts. From East Side’s 34-line, Reed spotted his intended receiver racing down the right sideline, toward the end zone. The perfect, rainbow spiral found its mark as Jacobs managed to slip in front of his defender and make a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch. With 3:24 left in the first half the visitors from the Silk City enjoyed a 27-0 lead.
On Newark’s ensuing offensive possession, Paterson sophomore defensive lineman Yojansy Taneras forced an incompletion and Douglas followed up with a quarterback sack. Tight coverage in the secondary resulted in another Red Raiders’ misfire and a punt.
With excellent field possession at midfield, a most unusual occurrence materialized. Canty secured the handoff and jetted 50 yards for a sensational touchdown jaunt that had to be recalled because of a mishandled ball. However, Canty was in no way the culprit who botched the play. Another football, from the Eastside bench, actually squibbed at least five yards onto the field as the play unfolded. Players from both sides managed to ignore the counterfeit pigskin but officials whistled a sideline interference penalty against the Ghosts and the touchdown was rescinded.
Paterson attempted to recover from the disappointment but a near touchdown pass from Reed was just beyond the fingertips of sophomore wideout Elijah Carroll. On 4th and ten from the Red Raiders’ 34-yard line, Reed escaped a furious rush but was knocked out of bounds and the ball was turned over.
Paterson defensive tackle Jahsin Jacobs provided a rude greeting on the first Red Raiders’ offensive effort and a quarterback sack concluded first half play.
Ahead by a wide margin, the Eastside defensive linemen were able to tee off on Baker in the third and fourth quarters making life even more difficult for the Red Raiders’ signal caller. A successful nine-yard pass to Bennett temporarily slowed the bleeding but the home team was again forced to punt.
The Ghosts ensuing offensive thrust was hampered by a false start and a holding penalty. However, a run up the middle netted 30 yards and Canty bounced off tackle for seven more. Canty then followed the block of sophomore fullback Frank Ventura to near the goal line but the play was nullified due to another holding infraction. Gomes was able to surge past the Paterson line and deliver a tackle resulting in a big loss. Yet a third holding violation against the Ghosts was followed by an errant pass which was intercepted by Newark’s Christian Steele in the end zone.
The Red Raiders next offensive effort was also frustrated, this time by an interception of a long bomb by the Ghosts.
On Paterson’s first play from scrimmage, a keeper by Matthew Daron, now playing quarterback, led to a long touchdown run. Colter and Byrd’s extra point attempt hit the left upright but caromed forward for a successful extra point and with 5:15 left in the third frame, the Silk City lead was extended to 34-0.
Another long Red Raiders’ pass attempt saw Gomes racing down the sideline, sandwiched by Eastside senior defensive back Nashi McQueen and Alexander. The pass bounced to the turf and an offensive holding flag was thrown.
As the final quarter began, Newark was faced with a 4th and 10 from their own 35 but decided to go for it. The strategy backfired as Paterson’s Taneras delivered a crunching quarterback sack and the ball was turned over to the Ghosts.
Despite suffering another holding penalty and a combined no-gain tackle by Bennett and Delima, the Ghosts’ Carroll was able to carry left and sprint into the end zone for a score. The extra point sailed through the uprights and the score read: Paterson Eastside-41--Newark East Side-0.
Eastside’s final kickoff was fielded by Newark’s Nelson who turned in a brilliant return to midfield. However, Paterson freshman defensive tackle Shakeem Senior notched a quarterback sack for a big loss. On the last play of the game and under intense pressure, Baker rolled right and fired down the right sideline. The ball was picked off by Carroll who raced into the end zone for a touchdown as time expired leading to the final tally in Paterson’s favor.
The Ghosts next square off against Passaic County Technical Institute at Baeurle Field on Thursday, October 29, at 6:00 p.m.
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