East Orange Campus HS football team rolls past Livingston, 47-7, to remain perfect at 5-0

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EAST ORANGE, NJ – It’s Week 5 and all over the state of New Jersey, high school football has already sped into the midseason. For some teams, that means playoffs or bust. For East Orange, there was a new target in its crosshairs. But first let’s take a quick look at their hit list so far. 

The Jaguars took on Montclair, winning 37-28, pitched two donuts against Bloomfield, 34-0, and Columbia, 52-0, took the midseason exam by beating West Orange, 21-14, last week, and now pulled up to exit 5A on Route 280 to Livingston. 

The Jaguars had an agenda to keep when visiting the Lancers. Take care of business? Check. Pick up the pace on the opening drive?  Check. Get the ball into the hands of the big weapons in Kyle Louis, Raeden Oliver, Ahmad Nalls and Damon Phillips? Check. Keep the Lancers on the hot seat? Check. Walk out with the win?  Check.

With all those checks, the Jaguars remained perfect with a 5-0 record on the season, after beating Livingston, 47-7, Oct. 1, in Livingston.

Livingston was coming off a heartbreaking loss against an old Iron Hills Conference foe in Roxbury. Entering the game against East Orange, the Lancers were on a three-game skid, losing by a combined 92-37, which included West Orange and Columbia. Their lone win came with the 23-0 dismantling of Milburn in the season opener. It didn’t help that Livingston opted to defer the kickoff until the second half. East Orange, starting from its own 47-yard line after the opening kickoff, felt the need for the express lane as Oliver, the Jags QB, took just two plays, finding his receiving tandem of Chris Amos for 12 yards and Edwin Thomas III for the opening 35-yard score with 11:16 in the first quarter. It was the fastest that the Jags have scored this season, which took only 42 seconds off the clock.

Livingston’s opening drive showed promise as it attempted to counter with its passing attack of QB Brandon Kenney, and wide receivers Ben Hauser, Lorenz Najjar and Andrew Goebler. But the Jaguars forced the Lancers to tturn the ball over on downs. Again, the Jags hit the turbo button on the ground with a direct snap to Louis, who galloped 65 yards to the house, making Livingston’s sideline buzz in wonderment as East Orange quickly went up 14-0 after Geraldo Gibson’s point-after kick with just 8:46 left. 

Nalls, East Orange’s defensive end, decided to get the turnover party going by going up high to snag the first of two interceptions when he dropped back into coverage like it was a rebound on the basketball court. He took it the other way for a would-be 45-yard score, but it was called back on a personal foul. East Orange had three more scores called back on similar penalties. But the East Orange coaching staff just kept calm as the ball was placed on its own 43-yard line. Oliver decided to take his time a little as he picked apart the Lancers defense, going 57 yards in seven plays, capped by Phillips’ 5-yard push into the end zone to go up 21-0 by the end of the first quarter.

East Orange finally took the chains off and go wild as it scored often in the second quarter. Oliver found Louis on a 53-yard screen play on the next possession to go up 27-0 after the missed PAT kick. Louis then snagged an interception. Oliver fired a 43-yard bomb to Michael Henderson as he too would join the scoring party at 34-0. Nalls got an interception as he put his squad in position for another touchdown at the Livingston 30-yard line. RB Sharief Bryan found running room for 28 yards before finishing off the second two-play drive with a 2-yard score to close out the brutal 41-0 thumping in the first half.

Kenney was sacked, pressured, and chased after all game long. In one of his many scrambling attempts, as the third quarter began, he was able to find one of his favorite targets, Hauser, as the clock was ticking down. Hauser put the Lancers in great field position as a costly penalty on East Orange gave the Lancers a little hope. Kenney scrambled for sheer survival as a hungry Jaguars defense was ready to pounce. In doing so, he found Goebler camped out in the end zone by himself for a 24-yard strike to avoid the shutout, cutting the Jaguars’ lead to 41-7 at the end of the third quarter. 

East Orange closed out the scoring with Louis doing his thing on special teams. With just three minutes left in the game, the Jags forced a punt. Louis fielded the punt, finding open room to roam. Louis found a convoy as he sprinted, hit the brakes and then exploded for 75 yards to paydirt, keeping the game out of reach for the 47-7 final score.

“Every game is a new game,” said East Orange head coach Rae Oliver after the game, “so anything we do is 1-0 and new to us.” It is also the first time this season that his squad has earned a well-deserved Saturday off, but expect to be back at it on Sunday. “I told my kids that I am surprised that they didn’t score more on us,” said Livingston head coach James Matsakis. “We knew coming in that this was going to be a long game, especially when we were without 10 of our starters since August due to injuries.” He also stated that most of his players who played this season are mostly sophomores with a sprinkling of freshmen as well. Livingston will have two road games against Paterson Kennedy and Orange,  while East Orange will be home against Newark East Side on Saturday, Oct. 9, and will hit the road to Sparta to play Pope John. 

East Orange has the mindset of “All Gas, No Brakes” as the Jags are speeding towards the division crown and the playoffs. The Jaguars are among the top teams in New Jersey that  remain undefeated. They have outscored all their opponents by a combined score of 191-49. Raeden Oliver finished the game with 9 for 9 passing for 204 yards and three TDs, while Phillips carried four times for 86 yards and a score. Nalls finished with two interceptions and 3.5 sacks while Louis registered three all-purpose touchdowns. In addition to Oliver’s 204 passing yards, the Jaguars rolled up a had 111 yards rushing on eight carries, and punted once for 57 yards.

Photos Courtesy of Kerry E. Porter

 

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