High school football season kicks off despite schedule changes due to Ida storm

The high school football season kicked off for most teams last weekend in Essex County, but not without some disruption.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida forced teams to change the logistics of their games. The most severe damage was seen at Foley Field in Bloomfield. As a result, Bloomfield’s home game against Nutley on Friday, Sept. 3, was moved to Owens Park in Nutley. 

According to Bloomfield Athletic Director Steve Jenkins, Foley Field suffered damage as a result of the storm. A reconditioning company was on-site on Friday, Sept. 3, and Bloomfield is awaiting the company’s report, Jenkins stated. “We are hopeful repairs can be made to allow us to utilize the facility this fall, but it is premature to say at this point.” 

The facility at Owens has field lights. Nutley beat Bloomfield, 18-13, as the JD Vick era began for Nutley. Vick, a longtime NHS assistant coach and interim head coach two years ago for the Raiders, is the new head coach. 

Bloomfield’s touchdowns were scored by Xavier Calderon on a 13-yard run and Nathaniel Brown on a 33-yard pass from quarterback Charles Abplanalp. The second score put Bloomfield ahead 13-12 in the third quarter, after Bloomfield trailed 12-7 at halftime. Nutley scored the only touchdown in the fourth quarter for the game-winner.

East Orange Campus was supposed to play Montclair at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium, as part of the Rumble on the Raritan showcase on Friday, Sept. 3, but the game was moved to Robeson Stadium in East Orange. The EOC Jaguars posted a 37-28 win. Damon Phillips rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns, and Kyle Louis had 114 rushing yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Raeden Oliver completed 18 of 27 passes for 223 yards, a touchdown and one interception, and also ran for a score.

Columbia’s game against Morristown was moved from Morristown to Underhill Field on Friday, Sept. 3. Stephen Henry ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries and caught another touchdown to propel the Columbia Cougars. Yassan Fields also ran for a touchdown.

Belleville posted an emphatic 44-6 win over Barringer on Sept. 4. The Bucs are scheduled to unveil their new turf on Friday, Sept. 10, when they host rival Nutley.

Irvington was stunned by host Mount Olive, 2-0, on Friday, Sept. 3. Mount Olive recorded a safety in the first quarter for the only scoring.

West Orange fell to powerhouse St. Peter’s Prep, 49-8, at Montclair State University on Friday, Sept. 3, as part of the Zone6ix High School Kickoff Classic series. 

Orange also participated in the Zone6ix High School Kickoff Classic at William Paterson University on Saturday, Sept. 4, losing to Chatham, 43-7.

Seton Hall Prep, the only team in the area to have begun its season the previous week, posted another emphatic win with a 48-7 triumph against Union City. The game was part of the Rumble on the Raritan series but had been moved to Union City. The SHP Pirates beat Pope John, 51-7, in the season opener on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Brendan P. Tevlin Memorial Field at the Kelly Athletic Complex in West Orange.

Glen Ridge will begin its season on Friday, Sept. 10, when it travels to Oakland in Bergen County to face Indian Hills.

The following is this weekend’s upcoming games:

Friday, Sept. 10:

Union City at Irvington, 7 p.m.

Nutley at Belleville, 7 p.m.

Orange at Newark West Side, Untermann Field, 7 p.m.

Newark East Side at West Orange, 7 p.m.

Livingston at Columbia, 7 p.m.

Glen Ridge at Indian Hills, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 11:

Don Bosco at Seton Hall Prep, 1 p.m.

Bloomfield at East Orange Campus, 1 p.m.