NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - The West Essex Knights improved to (3-1) Friday night, cruising past Weequahic, 28-6, which dropped to (1-2) on football the season. The Knights racked up 236 yards on the ground and were powered by senior fullback Chris Vassallo, who had two touchdowns in the game.
“We were again without our starting quarterback Patrick Glenn, so our ground game did a great job picking up the slack and getting the job done,” Head Coach Chris Benaquista said.
Vassallo got the scoring started, plunging in from four yards out to put the Knights up by six. Donnie Veliuu added the extra point making it, 7-0. Veliuu was perfect on the night, making all four of his PAT attempts.
The Knight defense was stout, getting the ball back so senior quarterback Nick Candarella could connect with fellow senior Anthony Scaglia for a 26-yard touchdown, putting the Knights up by two scores in the first quarter.
Vassalo scored again in the second quarter to put West Essex up, 21-0, when he ran it into the end zone from three yards out. Vassalo has amassed 415 yards and five touchdowns on the ground through the first four games, averaging a 9.88-yards per carry
Neither team crossed the goal line in what was a scoreless third quarter, mostly controlled by the powerful West Essex running game. Senior Matt Jones, who also contributed on defense with an interception, scored on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring for the Knights, making it, 28-0. Omar Harris scored from 12 yards out in the fourth quarter, putting Weequahic on the board and avoiding the shut out.
West Essex didn’t have any forced turnovers on interceptions or fumbles, after committing five in a victory over Newark Central last week.
“Weequahic is a dangerous team, but we were able to cut down our mistakes to come out on top,” Benaquista said.
The Knights will now have a chance to get healthy at home, as the win came as the first of three consecutive home games.
They hope to get back some key pieces on offense in the coming weeks, making their strong offense even more potent for the stretch run.
Weequahic looks to rebound at Columbia on Oct. 9, at 7 p.m., while the Knights hope to keep rolling at home when they take on winless West Orange on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m.