PATERSON, NJ - Excellent blocking and pass protection was the norm for the John F. Kennedy High School varsity football squad in their 41-0 rout over Teaneck on Saturday. The Knights’ running back and wide receiver Jamier Wright-Collins took full advantage of his teammates’ efforts by doing just about everything in front of a capacity crowd at the Highwaymen’s home field.
The electrifying senior scored on two long touchdown jaunts, caught a pass for another score, returned punts, and also connected on a number of extra-point kicks. However, Wright-Collins had more than a little help from his friends.
Teaneck won the opening coin toss and elected to kick off. Following a nice return by Kennedy senior Shafear Johnson, the Highwaymen’s defense forced a fumble (recovered by Kennedy) and stopped two running plays cold.
The ensuing punt gave Teaneck the ball on their 36-yard line. The Knights returned the previous defensive favor, courtesy of a jarring tackle at the line of scrimmage by junior lineman Reylin Dicent. An attempted pass by Teaneck’s junior quarterback, Xavier Washington, over the middle was broken up by Wright-Collins. Washington was then pushed out of bounds by JFK linebacker Stanley Vilalona, for no gain. Two consecutive illegal motion penalties on the Highwaymen moved them back to their own 26.
The inevitable punt found Wright-Collins deep, picking up the ball and turning up field for a 30-yard cruise to the opposition’s 30-yard line.
Following a 9-yard run up the middle by Johnson, Wright-Collins, despite being collared by Teaneck sophomore defensive tackle Anthony Rosario, garnered a first down.
JFK Head Coach Ron Jackson’s call to fullback Aushawn Adams at this point proved wise as the senior provided the first of several bruising runs up the middle for the evening, this one for five yards. A spurt between guard Emmanuell Briggs and tackle Brian Bynum by Wright Collins brought up a first and goal. Following an offside penalty against the Highwaymen, from under center, Kennedy’s junior signal caller Chris Silfa sneaked in for the score. Wright-Collins’ extra-point boot sailed through the uprights and Kennedy enjoyed a 7-0 lead with 6:30 left in the first quarter.
Teaneck’s offensive series, which started from their own 20, was hampered by a wild snap from shotgun formation, sailing over Washington’s head. The JFK defensive line, including senior defensive end Caleb Ruffin, Adams, and Dicent, then stonewalled any running attempt resulting in the Highwaymen’s punter being forced to kick from deep in the end zone.
Wright-Collins fielded the kick on one bounce and cruised to within five yards of pay dirt. A personal foul against the Knights proved inconsequential as the former motored around left end for his first touchdown of the night. The extra point attempt was good making the score 14-0, in favor of the Knights.
After the following kickoff, Teaneck again started from their own 20. The Knights’ defense rose to the occasion, highlighted by stonewall tackles courtesy of Villalona and defensive tackle Alan Gutierrez and a sack by senior defensive tackle Christian Wel. Soon thereafter, Ruffin and Readus pitched in with two more quarterback dumpings and Dicent contributed a solo stop at the line of scrimmage. However, despite Kennedy’s defensive heroics, behind the tricky running of Washington, the Highwaymen were able to attempt a field goal but the effort fell short.
On Kennedy’s following possession, Silfa dropped back to pass and sighted Wright-Collins crossing over the middle from right to left. The senior’s bullet pass was slightly high but the intended target was able to raise his right arm up and grab the pigskin without breaking stride. A foot race was on which saw Wright-Collins easily speed away from any would-be defenders for a scintillating 78-yard touchdown ramble.
Another first half TD run late in the second frame for 30 yards, by Wright-Collins, pushed the score to 34-0. Johnson then punched in a 5-yard run for the two-point conversion. Earlier in the quarter, Kennedy was also bolstered by an interception which resulted in a score.
The rest of the contest half saw both squads turn in valiant defensive performances resulting in the final 41-0 scoreboard reading in favor of the Knights. The signature play in the second half was a spectacular 65-yard run by Washington which, unfortunately for the Highwaymen, was called back due to a holding infraction.