SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Tiger quarterback Kyle Moroney felt the best of both worlds on Friday night against Colonia at Frank R. Jost Field.
The senior quarterback led a fourth quarter comeback to pull South Plainfield within three points. However, in the final two minutes, Moroney threw an interception to seal the 24-21 victory for the Patriots, ending the Tigers’ undefeated season.
“I don’t think we performed the way we’re capable of,” South Plainfield head coach Gary Cassio said. “You have to give it to Colonia. They’re a good team. As much credit as I give Colonia, I still think we beat ourselves.”
That was apparent from the Tigers’ first drive of the game. After Maroney hit sophomore wide receiver Jason Lee with a 40-yard touchdown pass, South Plainfield missed the extra-point.
Colonia answered back late in the first when quarterback Tenny Adewusi hit a wide-open Pharoah Napolean for a 25-yard touchdown.
Trailing 8-6, the Tigers never got into an offensive rhythm until the fourth quarter.
Their running game sputtered, netting only two rushes of 10+ yards in the game. Through the air, Moroney’s wide receiver crew didn’t help their quarterback, dropping several key passes throughout the game.
Late in the second quarter, after the Tiger defense forced a punt, the South Plainfield returner dropped the ball. Colonia recovered at the Tiger 30-yard line. On the next play, Adewusi hit Napolean again for a score to go up 16-6.
Cassio said the mistakes were all mental and “they need to stop.”
“Dropped passes, I can’t accept the dropped passed,” Cassio said. “A muffed punt, it happens. Everyone makes mistakes their kids. Dropped passes I can’t accept.”
The second half was no better for South Plainfield. While they held the Patriots to only one score, it never should have happened.
Trailing by a field goal after a Moroney rushing touchdown, the Tiger defense failed to capitalize on a fumbled snap. Instead of Adewusi being tackled for a loss, the junior quarterback shed multiple tackles, weaving through traffic and into the end zone with a 28-yard touchdown.
Down 24-13, Moroney lead the Tigers down the field for a nine play, 64-yard touchdown drive. Moroney went 3-4 for 57 yards, setting up his second rushing touchdown of the game, to bring South Plainfield within a field goal.
The Plainfield defense responded with two defensive stops. However the offense turned the ball over twice: once on downs, then on an interception with 90 seconds to play.
Cassio said he hopes his team remembers this game and how it feels.
“We have to play better,” he said. “We have to regroup. We have St. Joe’s next week with a chance to win the division.”
South Plainfield visits Saint Joseph’s of Metuchen on October 26. Kick-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.