SUMMIT, NJ - Sophomore running back AJ Iarussi led the Summit Hilltoppers with two touchdowns as the Hilltoppers defeated Warren Hills 39-6 on Friday afternoon in Summit.
The Hilltoppers started out with the ball and put together a twelve play drive that ended with a Peter Badgley one yard touchdown run. A key play in the drive was when quarterback Ryan Bringewatt completed a pass to wide receiver Luke Stephens who gained 40 yards on the play and took the ball all the way to the Warren Hills 14 yard line before Badgley bullied his way into the end zone to give the Hilltoppers a 7-0 lead.
Shortly thereafter, the Hilltoppers capitalized on a Warren Hills fumble when punter Osei Wilson lost a long snap. He bobbled the ball near his own end zone before Hilltoppers defensive back Sal Liberato recovered the loose biscuit and ran it in for the score to give the Hilltoppers a 14-0 edge with 3:04 left to play in the first quarter.
"Our game plan was just to take advantage of what they were giving us. Our players did a great job... of putting us in great situations," Summit Head Coach John Liberato said.
Warren Hills scored their only touchdown of the game on their next possession. Quarterback Connor Cruts tossed a 29-yard scoring pass to Brandon Frisco, but Warren Hills missed the extra point and the Hilltoppers were up 14-6 with 23 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
The Hilltoppers defense came up big on the next Warren Hills possession. Halfback Zack Martin was stopped in the backfield and fumbled a ball that was recovered by Hilltoppers defensive end Will Weber on the opposition's 27 yard line. Summit took advantage of the turnover as Iarussi scored his first touchdown of the game with about nine minutes left in the second to give the Hilltoppers a 20-6 lead.
Another defensive stop on the next Warren Hills possession also led to another Hilltopper touchdown. Iarussi came up with an interception and brought the ball down to the Warren Hills ten yard line with 7:20 left until halftime.
"We needed to bring the pressure. They're a running team and very physical, but we were able to play great against them," Hilltoppers defensive end Ryan O'Malley said. O'Malley was in the face of the opposition's quarterback all day and finished with two sacks and one forced fumble. "Our line did a phenomenal job and the linebackers did a good job in the secondary filling the holes," he continued.
Bringewatt scored off the turnover on a quarterback draw to give his team a commanding 27-6 lead. Kyre Negron scored next for the Hilltoppers on a 27 yard touchdown run and Summit was up 33-6 going into halftime.
The second half saw the Hilltoppers running strong offensively as Iarussi continued to gain tough yards behind his offensive line to keep the clock moving. He scored his second touchdown of the game on a ten yard run after his blockers opened up a huge hole in front of him. That made the score 39-6.
"We come in week in and week out with the same game plan: to be physical," offensive line man Max Munoz said. "All five line men...did a really good job...to help out our backs."
O'Malley forced a fumble on the next Warren Hills possessions and line backer Nevo Green had his first sack of the game late in the fourth quarter. Iarussi finished with 48 rushing yards for the Hilltoppers, who improved to 2-0 on their season with Friday afternoon's win and will next play at Rahway High School on September 25th.