SOMERVILLE, NJ - Quarterback Jalahn Dabney carried the ball 47 times for a career-high 312 yards and four touchdowns as the Somerville High School Pioneers beat Rahway, 42-31, extracting a measure of revenge for its only loss during the 2017 championship season to the Indians.
The Pioneers are now 2-0 on the season following its second game on the road.
There was no stopping senior Somerville quarterback Jalahn Dabney. He carried the ball 47 times for a career-high 312 yards and four touchdowns; he also completed nine of 16 passes for 62 yards and threw a fifth TD. Through the first two games he has run for 429 yards on 60 attempts and has found the end zone five times on the ground. He has completed 16 of his 29 passes for 284 yards, with five touchdowns to one interception.
“Rahway is a really, really good team and they play really hard,” said Somerville first-year head coach Dallas Whitaker. “We, as an offense, had to adapt to how good they were defensively. We had to find a couple of unconventional ways to move the football, and a lot of that just involved the quarterback run game, direct snaps to the quarterback in order to have an extra blocker up front.”
Against Rahway, Dabney was able to find the holes created by his offensive line and strike.
“The offensive line did a great job all night,” Whitaker said. “The running backs, Rob Fiorentino and Duke McDuffie, were lead blockers most of the night and did an outstanding job as well.”
After Rahway took a 7-0 lead behind a one-yard TD run by Jakir Robinson, Dabney scored from 10 yards out in the second quarter to tie things up.
Rahway’s Dashon Moore scored on a nine-yard scamper before Dabney connected with Duke McDuffie to bring Somerville even at 14-14 with 9:24 to go in the half.
It was Dabney who was able to give the visitors some separation.
He scored on a six-yard run seven minutes later as Somerville built a 22-14 lead following a successful two-point conversion. Dabney then gave the Pioneers a two-score lead when he found the end zone from 16 yards out with 1:02 left in the half.
Rahway’s Jon Cardoza-Chicas booted a 36-yard field goal to bring the home team within 11 at 28-17 at the break.
As Dabney continued to carve out the Rahway defense, the Indians didn’t help their cause with over 100 yards of penalties.
McDuffie had two catches for 13 yards and the score and also finished with 38 yards rushing on seven carries with a two-yard TD. Fiorentino hauled in six catches for 54 yards and he ran six times for 22 yards.
For Rahway, Robinson completed 10 of 18 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns and he was also the leading rusher with 65 yards on nine carries and a score.
Dashon Moore caught four balls for 67 yards and a TD for the Indians.
Somerville looks forward to back-to-back home games starting with North Plainfield (0-2) on Sept. 14.
“North Plainfield is a tough team,” Whitaker said. “They’ve had a tough couple of games. They have some skill talent and I think they’re well coached. I’m sure they’re going to be well prepared on Friday night. We have to come well prepared as well.”