East Orange Campus HS football team will visit Clifton in sectional playoff quarterfinals in rematch of last year’s regional final

The East Orange Campus High School football team walks onto the field at West Orange High School on Friday, Oct. 7. One of the players holds a poster with the image of East Orange Campus sophomore basketball standout Letrell Duncan, who was fatally shot on Monday, Oct. 3. East Orange defeated West Orange, 25-12.

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange Campus High School football team, under first-year head coach John Jacob, seeks to win state sectional and regional championships for the second year in a row.

The Jaguars are the No. 5 seed in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 1, Group 5 state playoffs.

In an interesting twist, the Jaguars will visit No. 4 seed Clifton in the quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 28. Last season, the Jaguars defeated Clifton, 30-24, in triple overtime in the NJSIAA’s Group 5 regional championship when then-senior Ahmad Nalls returned a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown. Nalls picked up the fumble by the Clifton quarterback, who was trying to sneak into the end zone. Clifton fans protested the touchdown, arguing that the Clifton quarterback’s knee was down before he fumbled. However, after reviewing the play on instant replay, the referees ruled that the Nalls touchdown was good. 

The victory capped a 13-0 season for the Jaguars. Jacob was the offensive coordinator for the Jaguars last season.

The winner between East Orange and Clifton will face the winner between No. 1 seed Passaic Tech and No. 8 seed Morristown in the semifinals.

This season, the Jaguars and Clifton met in the season opener at Clifton. Clifton won, 21-0.

The Jaguars, who won the North 1, Group 5 sectional title last season for their second-ever state sectional championship, are 3-5 on the season after falling to West Essex, 20-0, on Friday, Oct. 21, in North Caldwell. The loss was the Jaguars’ second in a row, following a three-game winning streak. East Orange started the season 0-3 before the win streak.

Clifton was the North 2 sectional champion last season.

The Jaguar loss to Passaic Tech on Oct. 15 at home ended their win streak. It was a rematch of last year’s North 1, Group 5 sectional final won by the Jaguars, 35-7.

East Orange has been led by junior quarterback Kyree Fisher, senior wide receiver and defensive back BJ Covington, senior running back Irijah Wright, senior receiver and defensive back Joshua Richards, senior offensive and defensive lineman Kymanie Deacon, senior running back and linebacker Kasim Cross, senior wide receiver and defensive back Michael Henderson, senior wide receiver and defensive back Na’il Johnson, senior offensive and defensive lineman Elijah Pullins, senior offensive and defensive lineman Jaiden Stokes, junior running back and linebacker Corey Woolridge and sophomore running back and defensive back Shakur Taylor.

Here are the matchups in the North 1, Group 5 playoffs.

  • No. 8 seed Morristown, 3-6 record, at No. 1 seed Passaic Tech, 7-2 record.
  • No. 7 seed Union, 2-6 record, at No. 2 seed Union City, 7-1 record.
  • No. 6 seed Bridgewater-Raritan, 4-5 record, at No. 3 seed Westfield, 6-2 record.
  • No. 5 seed East Orange, 3-5 record, at No. 4 seed Clifton, 4-4 record.

Here are the Jaguars’ season results.

  • Sept. 1: loss, at Clifton, 21-0.
  • Sept. 9: loss, at Irvington, 27-21, double overtime.
  • Sept. 17: loss, vs. Randolph, 34-27.
  • Sept. 24: win, vs. Bloomfield, 52-12.
  • Oct. 1: win, at Montclair, 20-7.
  • Oct. 7: win, at West Orange, 25-12.
  • Oct. 15: loss, vs. Passaic Tech, 19-13.
  • Oct. 21: loss, at West Essex, 20-0.

Photo Courtesy of Kerry E. Porter