EAST ORANGE, NJ – The East Orange Campus High School varsity football team defeated Columbia HS, 20-18, Saturday, Sept. 16, at Lynn V. Profeta Field/Underhill Complex to improve to a 2-0 record.
The Jaguars avenged last year’s 34-28 loss to Columbia at Robeson Stadium.
In the Saturday’s win, sophomore quarterback Quadir Scott had a slew of weapons at his disposal, including senior running back Rady Rojas. But the Cougars, led by junior quarterback/defensive back Luke Hayes and senior running back/linebacker Krystopher Ward had other ideas.
Both teams fought to a scoreless first quarter. However, the Jaguars rattled off three touchdowns in convincing fashion. The first touchdown was a result of a 15-play, 73 -yard march that saw Scott dash 5 yards into the end zone for a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Scott wasn’t done when he fed his senior running back Devonne Swan and Rojas the ball on the ground and in the air, with Swan busting through the Cougars’ defense for a 2-yard score to cap a six-play, 55-yard drive and a 12-0 lead.
East Orange’s stingy defense, led by Rojas and Swan, got into the fun as well. The Jags had the Cougars pinned against their own goal line with just 4:24 left in the first half. Hayes was looking for his favorite target in junior wide receiver Trey Harris when East Orange senior LB Jabriel Johnson jumped Harris’ route for a pick-6. Rojas’ ensuing two-point conversion put the Jags at a 20-0 advantage.
Hayes had something to say when he unleashed a 15-yard strike to Harris and a 53-yard bomb, setting up his 3-yard dive into the end zone to break the Jaguars’ unscored upon streak to one game. The Cougars found their second wind in the second half as they unleashed a steady diet of clock management and kept East Orange’s potent attack off the field. Hayes and sophomore RB Josh Marley combined for 150 yards on 24 attempts as they found scoring opportunities with Marley leading the charge.
The Cougars found the end zone with 3:28 left in the third quarter where Hayes found tight end Cordell Provilon wide open for a 7-yard pass, capping a 12-play, 52-yard drive.
East Orange was able to get the ball back momentarily as the Cougars forced another punt to regain control of the second half.
“We have been put to the test early,” said EOCHS head coach Rae Oliver.
Swan came up big with two key sacks in his effort to stop Hayes and the surging Cougars in their tracks. Each of Swan’s sacks came as the Cougars were driving down the field and eating up valuable clock time, preventing them from gaining the upper hand.
With 4:21 left in the contest, the Cougars would make one more surge to score. They went 45 yards in seven plays with Marley punching it in for the score to trail 20-18. The Cougars came up with a Rojas fumble on the ensuing kickoff with a minute left. Hayes had four attempts but the East Orange defense was able to hold the Cougars with 30 seconds left, giving Scott a chance to take a knee and lead his squad to the victory.
East Orange will take on Livingston (1-2) on the road this Saturday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m.