SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerville Pioneers fell to the Rumson-Fair Haven Bulldogs by a final score of 21-13 Friday night at Brooks Field.
It was the Pioneers' first loss of what has been a storybook season, and ended their quest for a championship.
Coming into the game, the Pioneers knew about the defensive prowess of the Bulldogs. In 34 straight games their talented defensive unit had not given up 40 or more points in a game, while the Pioneers had averaged 50 points per game during the 2016 season.
With five minutes left in the first quarter, senior QB Nick Couzzi found his classmate WR/DB Nas Petties- Jackson in the back of the end zone for the 14-yard touchdown for a 6-0 lead. Te PAT hit off the goal post.
After both defenses forced punts, thePioneers found themselves faced with a fourth and one on their own 30 yard line.
The Somerville offense stayed on the field and with Nas Petties- Jackson in the wildcat as quarterback, the senior wide out broke off a 70 yard run to effectively end the quarter. The score would put the Pioneers up 13-0 at the end of the first.
The second quarter was more of the same, a defensive battle. Both teams forced punts and made key third down stops. However, the Bulldogs defense would step up and cause a turnover as they stripped the ball from Couzzi late in the half.
The Bulldogs would take over on their own 49 yard line and drive the ball all the way into the end zone to make the score 13-7 with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
On the subsequent drive, Couzzi would be picked off by the Rumson- Fair Haven defense, giving the Bulldog possession on the Pioneer 21 yard line with time running down.
With 43 seconds left in the half, the Bulldogs took the lead on a late touchdown. At the half, Rumson- Fair Haven held a slim 14-13 lead over the host Pioneers.
The third continued where the two previous quarters left off, with lots of defense and several punts. Rumson-Fair Haven would score the eventual game winning touchdown in the third with 1:11 left in the quarter.
The Pioneers had a few opportunities in the fourth quarter but they couldn’t get it done.
With 5:03 left in the game, Couzzi scrambled out to his right and threw up a last ditch effort into the end zone but was intercepted by the Bulldogs.
With under two minutes to go in the game, the Pioneers got within striking distance but again could not find the end zone. Couzzi was once again picked off in the back of the end zone to affectively seal the deal for the Bulldogs.
Somerville Football finishes the 2016 season 10-1-0. All game results, box scores, team stats and individual stats can be found on the website: www.somervillefootball.com