RANDOLPH, NJ- Behind the one - two punch of running backs Jimmy Pepe and Justin Townsend, the Randolph football team ground out a 14-0 win over Morris Knolls.
The Rams defense was once again in their “bend but don’t break” mode, as they kept the Golden Eagles off the scoreboard to pitch a shutout.
"Heading into the game one of the points of emphasis for the defense was to win on first down and limit the 4 and 5 yard gains," said coach Will Nahan. "I told them if everyone did their job within our system we would accomplish our goals tonight. I absolutely have to credit our scout offense team because they did an unbelievable job of giving us a great look of the Knolls offense."
The game started with the teams feeling each other out, both going three and out on their first possession. But Randolph quickly warmed up on their next possession.
After two power runs from Justin Townsend, in which the Junior bulldozed a few Golden Eagle defenders, the Rams turned to the air to get their points.
Senior QB Matt Kleiven dropped back and fired a strike to a wide- open Pepe for a 30 yard TD pass, and the Rams were on top 7-0.
After another defensive stand, the Rams next possession was all Townsend.
First, the Rams captain took a screen pass, and weaved his way down the right side of the field for a 45-yard gain down to the 6 yard line. The next play he took a screen pass to the left, and barreled into the end zone dragging a few tacklers with him for a 14-0 lead.
“I was just trying to run tough and follow my blockers,” said Townsend. “Everything starts up front with the O-line and I have to give a shout out to those guys again.”
The second quarter ended in dramatic fashion for the Randolph defense, as they had a five-play goal line stand to stuff the golden eagles.
After three plays inside the 8 yard line and three straight time outs, the Golden Eagles had moved just enough to earn a first down at the 1 yard line. But the next two plays they were stonewalled by the Rams defensive line as the clock ran out on the half.
Sophomore nose guard Darian Ghahary and senior linebacker Pat Schimmenger lead the way on both plays, stuffing the A Gap and bottling up the Knolls QB.
“The defensive stand was a turning point in the game,” said Townsend. “We harp on toughness and playing together, just doing your job, and that’s what we had to do to make that stop.”
Knolls took the opening kick of the second half, and used the ground game to drive the field on a methodical 7 minute drive deep into Rams territory. That threat was ended when Jake Blumenthal shot into the backfield on a corner blitz and sacked the QB forcing a fumble that was recovered by Dan O’Sullivan
A second, long, time consuming drive by Knolls was again stopped at the Rams 10 yard line in the middle of the fourth when the defense solidified and took the ball back on downs.
While they didn’t score again, the Rams moved the ball just enough in the second half to keep Knolls working up hill in the field position game.
The running of Pepe and Townsend, along with a few keepers by Kleiven and some timely catches by Dylan Glincman helped burn the clock and secure the win.
The Rams play next on Friday Sept. 27, at home against the West Morris Wolfpack. The game is the annual Homecoming event.