SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerville High School Pioneers football team looks to continue its march to the state title Friday night at Brooks Field in Round Two of the state playoffs against the Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldgos.
In the opening round of the state playoffs last week, the Pioneers defeated the Rahway Indians at home by a final score of 47-21, extending their unbeaten streak to 11 games.
Rumson-Fair Haven defeated the Cranford Cougars in the opening round of the playoffs, 23-13. The Bulldogs have given up an average of 7.5 points per contest this season. This year Rumson-Fair Haven has pitched four shutouts, including back-to-back goose eggs in the beginning of the season against Raritan and Holmdel.
The Bulldogs have only played a total of eight regular season games as they are scheduled to play Shore High School on Nov. 23. The Bulldogs currently sit second in their division with a 7-2 (5-1 within the division) record.
One of their two defeats came at the hands of St. John Vianney, which currently sit atop the division at 10-0 (6-0 within the division). Their other loss on the season was to Middletown South.
Some of Rumson’s stat leaders include Mike Ruane, who leads the Bulldogs in tackles with 70 on the season. His best game came against Middletown South, when the senior recorded 16 tackles and a fumble recovery despite the loss.
Second on the team in tackles behind Ruane is Mike Murdock, another senior. Murdock has 61 tackles to his name as well as a pair of interceptions. Murdock has had a season high in tackles against Middletown South, in which he recorded 10 tackles. The team leader in sacks is junior Chase Pfrang. He has five sacks this season as well as 45 tackles.
On the season, Rumson-Fair Haven has averaged 28.5 points per game, including a season high 49 points against Holmdel in week two. A rush first offense, QB Michael O’Connor has completed 46 percent of his drop backs throwing for 324 yards and five touchdowns.
O’Connor has proven to be effective on the ground, rushing 64 times for 544 yards and 10 touchdowns. Another work horse out of the back field is senior Matt Veccharelli. The senior has rushed for 770 yards and eight touchdowns on 150 attempts. His best performance of the year came in the season opener against Raritan High School in which he ran for 167 yards and scored three touchdowns in route to the win for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are the reigning champions and winners of the state title in three straight years. In fact, this week’s trip to Brooks Field will mark the first time since 2007 in which Rumson-Fair haven will have to travel to an opposing field to play a playoff game.
It has been 34 games since the last time the Bulldogs have given up more than 40 points in a game. The strong Rumson-Fair Haven defense will be going up against a diverse, high flying Somerville Pioneers offense.
Last Friday, the Pioneers got a win over Rahway in the opening round of the playoffs, 47-21. Somerville has put up 501 total points on the year, including the win over Rahway last week, which equates to an average of 50.1 points per game. The Somerville offense has totaled 2,650 yards through the air and 1,823 yards on the ground through ten games this season
Friday night is a clash for these two teams in the semi-finals of Group 3 playoffs for the right to play the winner of the Ewing vs. South Plainfield game.
Kickoff is set for 7 pm from Brooks Field. Follow the Pioneers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all up-to-date info - @VilleFootball as well as the website www.somervillefootball.com for stats, highlights, and more.