GLEN GARDNER, NJ – The Somerville Pioneers walked onto the field at Voorhees High School looking for a historic win and that’s exactly what they got. With the Pioneers 50-14 win against the Voorhees Vikings, Somerville starts its season 3-0 for the first time since the 03-04 campaign. After getting off to a blistering hot start during last week’s win against North Plainfield, the Pioneer offense came out slow.
The first possession of the game for QB Nick Couzzi and the offense resulted in a punt. Their next possession would end with an interception after Couzzi forced a pass into double coverage. Voorhees would go on to score a touchdown with 6:11 left in the 1st Quarter. After the Vikings missed a PAT, Senior WR/DB “Nasty” Nas Petties-Jackson took a kick-off 100 yards to the house making the game 7-6 in favor of Somerville. The Vikings responded to this by scoring a touchdown of their own on a deep ball that was hauled in on the run. After Voorhees converted the two point conversion,
Somerville’s special teams would again step up to the plate. This time Senior WR/DB Marcus Burnside gained a key block down field which allowed him open field to walk into the end zone. The 1st Quarter would end with the score 14-13, a Voorhees lead, – leaving Somerville hungry for more.
Looking to reclaim the lead, the Pioneer offense would start to gain the momentum it had coming into the matchup. Along with a lockdown performance by the defense in the second quarter, the offense would rattle off 17 unanswered points to end the half. The first touchdown came with 11:04 remaining in the 2nd, when Couzzi connected with Pettis-Jackson on a 60+ yard pass. About a minute later, Couzzi again threw a dart down the field. This time Senior WR Chris Ciempola made a leaping catch, wrestling the ball away from a Viking defender in the back of the end zone. The half would end after Ciempola made a chip shot field goal from the left hash mark. At the end of the 1st half of play, the Pioneers held a 30-14 lead.
Coming out of the half with a lead over the Vikings, the Pioneer defense continued their dominance on the field. The defense would hold the Vikings offense to zero points for the rest of the game, highlighted by an interception by Senior DB Austin Van Ness, his second game with a pick this season. The Somerville offense would continue their streak of scoring 40+ points in every game. With 10:00 minutes left in the 3rd Quarter,
Senior QB Nick Couzzi ran a QB keeper in for a touchdown pushing the Pioneer advantage to 22 points. In the 4th Quarter with 11:05 left to play, Couzzi connected for the second time with Naz. Later in the quarter, Senior DB Jason Curau would continue showing off his ball hawking abilities with another pick on the year. This marks the second straight game that Curau has picked off the opposing QB. The final scoring play on the day would come from Keyshawn Newton, who powered his way into the end zone.
The game would end with the Pioneers taking the win, 50-14. With Friday night’s win, the offense has put up 50+ points in two straight games and has yet to put up less that at least 40+ points on the season. Couzzi went on to finish with 258 yards and three scores through the air after being named the Star Ledger Player of the Week for the previous week.
On the ground Couzzi lead the attack with 20 rushes for 82 yards and a score. Keyshawn Newton ran five times for 24 yards and a touchdown. Pettis-Jackson and Ciempola lead a balanced receiving corps, with the “Nasty” Nas leading the way with five receptions for 130 yards and two scores
Ciempola had four grabs totaling 68 yards and one touchdown. Not to be over looked, the defensive presence that the Pioneers bring every game continues to hold opponents in check. The staple of the Pioneer defense has been their 2nd half success and Friday night’s game was no exception for Coach Damaschke’s unit.
The Pioneers have pitched shutouts in the remaining 24 minutes of the game against Cranford and now Voorhees. So far on the young season, Somerville has scored 146 points and given up 66.
Against Voorhees, Junior LB Ryan Hrabrinski continued to flash his ability to get to the opposing quarterback racking up two more sacks. This marks his second straight game with two sacks, pushing his season total up to four.
Also factors on defense, has been Seniors DL A.J. Akins and LB Jared Tuazon. Both senior’s finished with five tackles. After the game, David Rubin from Somervillefootball.com caught up with Senior DB Jason Curau. With his second straight game having an interception, Curau wanted to thank the defensive line for all that they do up front.
“I want to give my d-line a big shout out because they’re a big reason for all of this. They always get pressure, make the quarterback through the ball and we make plays in the back.”
The Pioneers’ next matchup is at home when the Blue Streaks of Warren Hills come to town. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm from Brooks Field. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for up-to-date info - @VilleFootball as well as our website www.somervillefootball.com