Youth football teams enjoy victories during Kickoff weekend

Photo by Kerry E. Porter.

EAST ORANGE, NJ – Kickoff weekend was a huge success on Sept 10.  

Three out of four East Orange youth football squads had a rare opportunity to open up their seasons at home at East Orange’s Paul Robeson Stadium.

The East Orange Panthers were slated to open their season as the only team to play in the stadium on Kickoff Sunday. “Since we only had one level playing today, it was only fair to reach out to the East Orange Rams and North Jersey Pop Warner to play some of their slated games here as well,” said Panthers Head Coach and President Tyrone Miles. “So I got in touch with East Orange Rams President Stanley Edwards, to see if he would like to utilize the stadium for North Jersey Pop Warner.”

Photo by Kerry E. Porter.

The Rams had three games that kicked off with the Flag game that showed the home crowd some early fireworks. The Flag Rams dropped their home opener 21-0 to the visiting Highwaymen of Teaneck.

Rams Junior Pee Wee squad locked horns with the Union Rams in their annual Battle of the Herd. East Orange was able to take the game easily when Union was forced to play a controlled scrimmage after not having the appropriate number of players and substitutes to play a full game.

The Pee Wee Rams also had a win by forfeit.

“It was a blessing in disguise that we were able to play at the stadium today,” said Edwards. “We were initially supposed to play our game behind East Orange S.T.E.M. Academy (old Clifford Scott High School) but when Coach (Tyrone) Miles contacted me about this, it was a win-win for everyone involved, and for that, we are all very grateful.”

The Rams played host to the East Orange Panthers and the Union County Warriors of Garden State AYF in the 8U game. The Panthers wasted no time in putting points on the board and shutting out the Warriors, 28-0. The Panthers, led by RB La Di Dy Simpkin’s two big 80-yard gallops to the house, were able to hold the Warriors’ potent offense to less than 100 yards in total offense and keep them out of the red zone.

The East Orange Hurricanes of the North Jersey Pop Warner came to flex their muscles as they looked to storm past the Montclair Bulldogs. The ‘Canes and ‘Dawgs were originally slated to open the season in Montclair. But due to a schedule conflict at Montclair’s Woodman Field, they were invited to play their games at Paul Robeson Stadium.

East Orange was the visiting team on the Mighty Mite and Junior Pee Wee levels as both squads were able to upend the Bulldogs in both games. The Mighty Mite ‘Canes got the scoring going with a 22-yard touchdown where their quarterback proved to be very slippery when the Bulldogs crashed the gates on an all-out blitz. The ‘Canes followed that up in the second quarter with their running back for a 47-yard escape of his own when the ‘Dawgs came barking again. Later in the game, the ‘Canes sealed the Bulldogs’ fate with a 12-yard scamper by their running back and earning the 21-0 win.

The Pee Wee Hurricanes and Bulldogs fought a defensive struggle for much of the game, but the Hurricanes were able to grind out two touchdowns for 30 yards and 20 yards respectively for a 14-0 win over Montclair.

Montclair’s Junior Varsity Squad was also in action against conference rival Hillside Jr. Comets.  Hillside, led by Darren Gordon and Asim Bembry, cruised to an easy 26-0 victory. Gordon scored Hillside’s first touchdown on the second play of the game when he blasted through the heart of the Montclair defense and scampered 48 yards to the house. In the second quarter, Gordon danced through traffic before scooting for daylight and a 30-yard touchdown.

The Jr. Comets were almost in full control of the game when they forced Montclair to turn over the ball deep in their own territory. RB Asim Bembry then made short work of the Jr. Comets possession by sprinting 25 yards for the third touchdown of the day, giving Hillside complete control with a lead of 21-0. Gordon found the end zone once more late in the fourth quarter. From his DB position, he intercepted a Montclair pass and returned it 28 yards for the final 26-0.

For updates on your favorite youth team, go to the following sites:; www.leaguelineup/ppypanthers or