SUMMIT, NJ - Make it eight straight quarters without allowing a point for the Summit High School Varsity Football Team's defensive unit, a pretty valuable contribution considering that -- assuming the Hilltopper offense can manage at least one score -- the Maroon and White are a lock to win.
Over the last two games, the boys with the ball have done a lot better than that, and the result is two W's by a combined score of 67-zip, with the latest conquest arriving via a 35-0 shutout victory over South Plainfield at Tatlock Field, a win that lifts Summit's season record to 2-1.
Senior captain Austin Groce ran for two scores, junior quarterback Charlie Schaffer ran for one touchdown and threw for another, and senior placekicker Brock Froschauer drilled two field goals.
As they did against Rahway to open the season, Summit had another dodgy moment on special teams when they muffed the opening South Plainfield kick-off. The Hilltopper 'D' mopped up the mess when sophomore Jake Rainero came up with a sack on 4th-and-6 to give the ball back to Summit on downs.
After the teams traded possessions, Summit got the ball back on the Tigers 37 and it took just one play for the home team to get on the board with Groce galloping all the way to end zone. The two-point PAT was a Groce-to-junior Matthew Loeloff-to-Schaffer affair and it the Hilltoppers led, 8-0.
Later in the quarter it was 11-0 when Froschauer booted a 33-yard field goal, Summit getting the ball in great field position after a Groce interception but saw their drive stall on the South Plainfield 12-yard line.
Early in the second stanza, Rainero delivered another sack to snuff out another Tigers possession and Summit went to work from its own 17. Running the ball with Groce and Schaffer, the Hilltoppers matriculated down the field to the South Plainfield 27-yard line. Groce then went the distance and Froschauer nailed the PAT to make 18-0, which is how the half ended thanks another 1.5 sacks from Raniero. The latter sack -- shared with junior Mike Sereno -- came on a fourth-and-goal play with South Plainfield on the Summit six-yard line inside the half's final 30 seconds.
Starting on defense to open the second half, Hilltopper juniors Colin Beatty and Taylor Christ combined on yet another sack to force a Tigers punt. After a short gainer on the ground, Schaffer hit junior Ellis Sorensen on a sideline route for a 55-yard touchdown and the proverbial dagger. Froschauer's PAT made it 25-0.
The Summit Sack Race continued -- another for Rainero and, on a subsequent possession, two for Groce -- and so did the Hilltopper scoring surge. Froschauer connected again from 37 to make it 28-0 and, later in the third, Schaffer scampered 39 yards for Summit's final foray to paydirt on the afternoon.
The degree of difficulty for Summit will get ratcheted up exponentially October 24 when Somerville visits Tatlock Field. The Pioneers' offense is averaging nearly 46 points per game, and they have outscored opponents 137-24 over their opening three games, including a 46-12 shellacking of Rahway. In those three games, Somerville running back Cookie Desiderio has rushed 64 times for 707 yards -- an average of 235+ yards per game -- and 11 touchdowns.
Kick-off is set for 1 p.m.