BLOOMFIELD, NJ – The East Orange Campus High School varsity football team thought it would have a fight on their hands this past Friday evening, Oct. 26, when the Bengals of Bloomfield High School wandered into Jaguar Country at Paul Robeson Stadium. The Bengals were riding an overtime win over West Orange to halt a three-game skid from Montclair, Livingston, and an overtime loss to Orange at the end of September. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are hitting their stride after two conservative wins over West Orange and Livingston, followed by a 41-14 thumping of Columbia last week.
In what started out to be a quarterback duel between Bloomfield’s Kyle Tice and East Orange’s Nasir Montgomery proved to be a one-sided affair by the end of the game as the Jaguars won, 57-21.
EOCHS improved to 6-2 overall and clinched a share of the Super Football Conference-Liberty Division championship. The Jaguars also will gear up for the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 state playoffs when they travel to Ridge in the quarterfinal this Friday, Nov. 2.
Tice raced his Bengals 58 yards in 10 plays, capping the opening drive with a 9-yard toss to WR William Robinson with 9:18 in the first quarter. But East Orange’s Nasir Montgomery (10 for 15 passing, 285 yards, 6 TDs/7 carries for 85 yards, 1 TD) counter-punched the Bengals with an immediate and emphatic response. From their own 32-yard line, Montgomery launched a precise 68-yard bomb, connecting with speedy WR Mahjid Means-Terrell, who took it the distance, tying the score 7-7 after PK Lenny Munford’s PAT kick.
Bloomfield came right back on the next series. Tice found his way to the end zone again by marching his Bengals 52 yards with the help of RB Joseph Orsita and Christian Parisi, along with Robinson, but ultimately called his own number and scrambled the remaining 9 yards for the go-ahead 14-7 score.
The lead didn’t last long, because Montgomery had another answer for Tice. In fact, Montgomery had five more answers for Tice in which he helped power the Jaguars. Montgomery fired off back-to-back touchdown passes of 29 yards and 28 yards to Khasim Daniels and Quadir Scott respectively taking a 20-14 lead by the end of the first quarter.
The Jaguars switched gears in the second quarter. They went to the ground attack with speedy RB Al Shadee Salaam breaking open off his right side and completely left the Bengals defense in his wake when he scored from 38 yards with just 9:48 left in the first half. Montgomery registered a rushing touchdown with a 23-yard scoot to push the lead 32-14 to end the half.
The second half was all Jaguars. They started the third quarter where they left off, in the air. Montgomery found Scott for the second time in the game for a 12-yard hookup. But the offense wasn’t the only one scoring. The Jaguars’ defense found the end zone for the second straight game when LB Ian Brown snagged one of three interceptions for a 32-yard pick-six, stretching the lead to 45-14 still early in the third quarter.
Bloomfield couldn’t catch a break because Montgomery found the end zone again, tossing a 9-yard dart to WR Mahjid Means-Terrell, adding to the already daunting total of 51-14. For his final statement, Montgomery finished the way he started, by launching another bomb via air mail to Matthew Parchment from 50 yards out for the 57-14 lead. Bloomfield managed to score in the waning moments of the final frame. Tice launched a 50-yarder to WR Ahren Monteiro to stop the bleeding at 57-21.
EOCHS head coach Rae Oliver said the team won a division championship for the first time in more than 10 years.
“Our focus was what got us here, but ultimately it was our student-athletes who bought into our system and believed that we all can achieve a common goal,” Oliver said.
East Orange will play Ridge in the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2 Group 5 state playoffs. Initially it was believed the game will played in East Orange originally but due to the combination of the Power Points and the Born Power Index, the overall Universal Power Rating seeded Ridge as the four seed and East Orange Campus. Campus will be the fifth seed after holding the sixth place overall throughout the season. Kickoff is set for Friday evening, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. at Ridge High School in Basking Ridge.
North 2, Group 5 playoffs
(8) Bridgewater-Raritan at (1) Piscataway – Sat., Nov. 3, 1 p.m.
(7) Westfield at (2) Union City – Fri., Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
(6) Elizabeth at (3) Union, Fri., Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
(5) East Orange Campus at (4) Ridge, Fri., Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
East Orange Campus (6-2)
August 31, Won, Watchung Hills, 50-17
Sept. 7, Won, at Passaic, 30-0
Sept. 22, Loss, at Montclair, 28-27
Sept. 29, Loss, Seton Hall Prep, 20-14
Oct. 5, Won, West Orange, 14-7
Oct. 12, Won, at Livingston, 18-7
Oct. 20, Won, at Columbia, 41-14
Oct. 26, Won, Bloomfield, 57-21
Nov. 2, at Ridge, 7 p.m.*
Nov. 22, at Barringer, 10:30 a.m.
*NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 5 state playoffs
Photos by Jerry Simon
EOC vs. Bloomfield, Oct. 26, at Robeson Stadium