SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Immaculata Spartans football team increased their record to 2-1 with a convincing victory over the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Raiders by a score of 56-23 Saturday afternoon.
Spartans quarterback Nate Barnett threw 4 touchdown passes and ran 47 yards for another TD. Receiver Stephen Dwyer had two TD receptions, and kicker Zack Hellis booted 8 extra points.
The Raiders jumped out to an early 7-0 lead with a 45-yard touchdown reception. The Spartans' Alan Bello returned the Raiders' kickoff to the 45-yard line to start the Spartans first drive with great field position. Lord Jones finished the drive off with a 30-yard touchdown run, followed by Hellis' extra point to tie the game 7-7.
The Spartans forced a Raiders' punt on the next possession and capitalized quickly with a 75-yard pass play from Barnett to Shahkyle Matthews. Bryan Santana finished off the drive with a six-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.
The Spartans defense, led by strong play from Christian Callahan, Donaven Rivera and Suliamon Jalloh, stopped the Raiders at the one-yard line. After turning the ball over on downs, the Spartans were forced to punt and the Raiders took over on the Spartans' 45-yard line.
The Raiders drove right down the field and scored, tying the game 14-14. The Spartans sputtered again on the next drive with a costly fumble, resulting in a Raiders field goal to take a 17-14 lead. Barnett and the Spartan offense responded quickly, driving the length of the field in 30 seconds to take a 21-17 lead into halftime capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Barnett to Noah Stansbury.
The third quarter was all Immaculata starting with a 47-yard touchdown run by Barnett. After an exchange of possessions, Barnett found Jones for an 80-yard touchdown pass to increase the Spartans lead to 35-17. After a SPF fumble Barnett capped off a great third quarter with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Dwyer and the quarter ended with the Spartans up by a score of 42-17.
SPF came out firing in the fourth quarter and drove the ball deep into the Spartans' end of the field. But Jones stepped in front of a Scotch Plains receiver, intercepting the ball and taking it the other way for a 95-yard touchdown return to put the Spartans up by 49-17.
The Raiders answered with a 20-yard touchdown pass to close the score to 49-23. Spartans sophomore quarterback Kevon Gordon came into finish the game with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dwyer, completing the game with a 56-23 final score.
Immaculata travels to North Hunterdon High School for a Thursday night game under the lights beginning at 7 p.m.