CRANFORD, NJ - After scoring 77 points in the first two games, not many would have predicted that the Cranford High School football team would be looking at a zero on the scoreboard at the final whistle.
Both teams were staring at zeros late into the third quarter until Rahway quarterback Ja'Kir Robinson found Dashon Moore in the end zone for a 13-yard TD pass to take an eventual 22-0 victory over the Cougars on Friday night at Memorial Field.
The first 13 possessions included nine punts and three turnovers before Rahway broke the scoreless tie. The Indians got into the red zone on their prior possession before sophomore Jake Chapman came up with a huge interception in the end zone. Chapman received starter duties with Owen Dowd sitting out due to an injury.
Despite swinging the momentum, the Cougars gave it right back as the next play saw Jimmy Shriner lose a fumble after a huge hit by an Indian defender, which left Shriner shaken up. Four plays later, Robinson found Moore for the touchdown.
Though Shriner went down in the third quarter, key skill players Michael Kalnins and Cole Blazek missed time in the first-half, limiting an already struggling offense.
Following their first score, the Indians continued to wear down an already gassed defense, and found the end zone again with a 1-yard TD run by Zion Pendleton, who scored three touchdowns last week against Voorhees.
Down 14 with under two minutes to go, the Cougars had their final chance to get on the board. Looking to pass but with nobody open, Connor Katz darted up-field for a 15-yard keeper. After a Cranford timeout, Katz dropped back again, this time looking for Anthony DeCostello, but cornerback Nasir Arribas undercut the rout and took the interception 46 yards to the house.
What followed Arribas' pick-six could be described as unnecessary but not so surprising. Up 20-0, Rahway set up for the standard point-after-attempt, but ran a successful fake kick two-point conversion. Cranford and Rahway had combined for nearly 10 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties throughout the game, and the Indians got one final dagger in.