EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange Campus High School football team continued its winning ways, beating Livingston, 35-7, Saturday, Oct. 19, at Paul Robeson Stadium.
The Jaguars won their second straight to improve to 5-1 overall. EOCHS remained in first place in the Super Football Conference-Liberty Blue Division at 4-0. Livingston fell to 2-5 overall, 1-2 in the division.
The Jaguars came home to celebrate their senior class. Both the Jaguars and Livngston Lancers were coming off big wins from Week 5. EOCHS won the “Battle of the Oranges” over West Orange in an 8-6 overtime decision, while Livingston steamrolled past Bloomfield, 27-6. Livingston needed a wing and a prayer to get past a loaded East Orange team which has the SFC- Liberty Blue Division race within its grasp. East Orange just needed to keep playing inspired football to maintain its lead among division foes.
There was no chess match this time around. The gloves came off early in the first quarter after Livingston DB Will Egner picked off East Orange QB Quadir Scott to regain possession after punting away the ball on the Lancers’ first possession to start the game. But the Jaguars’ stingy defense answered. They wanted the Lancers to know they were coming, and that they did. DL KeShawn Munford registered his first of two-and-a-half sacks to set the pace of the game. Livingston QB David Cotugno had to get on his horse to avoid the mounting pressure that East Orange provided. Scott had enough of the dancing around with the Lancers. He simply shook a Livingston defender out of his cleats as he swept left on his way to a 36-yard touchdown, giving the Jaguars the early 7-0 after Munford’s point-afte kick with just seven minutes to go in the first quarter.
By the end of the first and the beginning of the second quarter, the rhythm was in full swing in favor of the Jaguars as Locksley Burke capped an 84-yard methodical march in 15 plays with a seven-yard touchdown that was set up with a 35-yard reception from Mehki Powell. Burke completed the two-point conversion to put the Jaguars up 15-0 with just 11:56 in the half.
Cotugno answered with his aerial assault mixed with the rushing of RB Anthony Barbella and one his primary targets in Luke Nardone. Cotugno, with the help of a defensive penalty on East Orange, engineered an eight-play, 62-yard drive and tossed a five-yard touchdown to Nardone to close within a score to get back in the game, 15-7.
In the third quarter, both defenses rose to the occasion. But East Orange flexed its muscles more. Munford was a major factor in the four red-zone attempts by Livingston. In the first quarter, he batted down two passes and almost had an interception. He caused a fumble which he tried to scoop and score, but instead played a little hot potato before falling on the ball for the recovery. Al-Shadee Salaam, Ian Brown and Scott combined for eight tackles with 10 breakups that included two near interceptions. Burke, from his linebacker position, was also effective, getting 12 tackles on the day with four hurries.
The fourth quarter saw the Jaguars completely leave the Lancers in the dust. With 8:46 left, Burke pushed his way into the house from three yards out, capping another 12-play, 57-yard march to give East Orange a little breathing room of 23-7. But Burke and the defense weren’t done scoring. In fact, the Lancers were coming hard for the East Orange backfield after Livingston lost the ball on downs. They didn’t notice that Burke had escape ability which he showed when he slipped to his left and danced a little before high stepping into the end zone from 34 yards out which made the score 29-7 with just 6:34 left in the game. With time running down, Burke turned on the jets again for a 42-yard gain before Javante Brown scooted in for an 11-yard dash to seal the Jaguars’ 35-7 win.
“Let’s call this a tale of two halves,” EOCHS head coach Rae Oliver said. “In the first half, I didn’t think we were playing up to our ability like we did against West Orange. But thanks to my coaching staff, our kids responded well to the adjustments we made in order to pick it up a little.”
Oliver said that although the Jaguars have a short week, they will enjoy this one and quickly get back at it for their upcoming Homecoming Game against the Cougars of Columbia High School this Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. Columbia is 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the Liberty Blue Division. It will be the first time in three years that Columbia will visit East Orange for their annual meeting.
Livingston will need help and must win out in order to qualify for the North 1, Group 5 playoffs. Things will only get tougher for them as they will host Montclair on Friday, Oct. 25. Montclair is 3-4.
Photos by Kerry E. Porter
EOCHS vs. Livingston