East Orange Campus HS football team blanks Barringer

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — It’s Thanksgiving Day 2022 and the Barringer High School football Blue Bears decided to pay their oldest rivals a visit at Paul Robeson Stadium in East Orange. The East Orange Campus Jaguars came into the annual game hungry as they had a long layoff from the playoffs. The Jags were knocked out of the first round of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1 Group 5 Quarterfinal round by Clifton with a 17-7 decision. Meanwhile, Barringer, who went to the first NJSIAA North Group 4 Regional Invitational Tournament, lost big against the Linden Tigers in the Semi-Finals 41-0. 

East Orange would find satisfaction in claiming a blowout 38-0 win in a rivalry that lasted 110 years. Jaguars head coach John Jacob was very optimistic about the day as was Blue Bears head coach Dave McCombs who stated that he was more nervous coaching the game as to being a player. With all the history that was made over the years, it would be remiss to not include the East Orange and Barringer Old Guard who honored their respective classes. For East Orange, the Class of 1991 and standout running back Fabian Thorne, and former head coach Rae Oliver were among the honorees. 

The game got off to a rocky start in the beginning, showing a little rust as Barringer was the grateful recipient of three turnovers but were not able to take advantage of the gifts that the Jaguars unceremoniously coughed up. But the Jaguars found themselves correcting what they lost in the form of running back Irijah Wright, who hit the jets for 63 with 2:41 left in the first quarter. The Jags felt they needed a repeat performance but instead of Wright, quarterback Kyrie Fisher found his sure-handed wide receiver Josh Richards and delivered an absolute 70-yard strike for the quick hitting touchdown with 10:43 left in the half. The Jaguars want to enjoy their leisurely stroll down the field on their next possession going nine plays and 59 yards sending running back Kasim Cross for a 14-yard skip to the house for an early turkey leg or two. East Orange would miss the point after taking a 20 -0 lead into the half.

East Orange had to put their appetites to the side but also wanted to speed the game up a little coming into the third quarter. On the opening kickoff for the second half, Irijah Wright struck again. This time on special teams as he hit the turbo button and the spin cycle while bouncing to his left for an 85-yard kickoff return for the lone score of the third quarter and a 26-0 lead. The fourth quarter was all East Orange Campus and they switched to cruise control with Kyrie Fisher slipping into the end zone on a 7-yard jaunt with 10:33 left in the game. Barringer was simply overpowered by the Jaguars when they sent Kasim Cross for his second touchdown of the day from 9 yards out and putting a bow on a tough season. 

East Orange would lose their first three games of the season before picking their first win against Bloomfield, going on a three-game winning streak before losing to Passaic Tech. Barringer would split the first two games before winning two games against Paterson Kennedy and Orange. They would go on to split the next two games before hitting a four game skid that included Linden and East Orange.

Both head coaches said that it was a process for them to get this far. They are both optimistic about their returning players as they are graduating a combined 33 seniors this year. East Orange coach Jacob summed up the season in a nutshell, stating “It was a season of missed opportunities that didn’t end the way we wanted, but still provided a rewarding shared experience.” Dave McCombs simply stated, “We’ll be there. We are coming.”

Photos Courtesy of Kerry E. Porter