Looking back at East Orange Campus High School’s 20-year sports history

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EAST ORANGE, NJ — East Orange Campus High School opened in September 2002. The school was a merger of East Orange High School and Clifford Scott High School.

The student body picked “Jaguars” as the school nickname. 

EOCHS finished its 20th school year in June. During the past two decades, the school has seen great sports teams and athletes.

In football, the Jaguars, under then–head coach Marion Bell, played in their first state sectional championship game in 2007. On a snow-covered field at the old Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, the Jaguars defeated Montclair, 31-13, to win the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 championship and cap an 11-1 season.

Two years later, the Jaguars returned to Giants Stadium for the North 1, Group 4 state sectional final but lost to Roxbury, 14-6, to finish with a 7-5 record.

This past fall, the Jaguars, under head coach Rae Oliver, completed a dream season, winning the North 1, Group 5 and North Region 5 championships. They beat Passaic County Tech, 35-7, at home in the sectional championship and defeated Clifton, 30-24, in triple overtime at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium to finish with a perfect 13-0 record. Senior linebacker Ahmad Nalls returned a fumble 100 yards for the game-winning touchdown in the regional final. Senior quarterback Raeden Oliver, the coach’s son; senior running back Damon Phillips; and senior linebacker Kyle Louis were other key players for EOCHS. 

The boys and girls basketball programs have had some great teams. The girls team, under head coach Derrick Johnson, was Essex County Tournament champion in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. In those two seasons, the team also won state sectional championships, winning in North 1, Group 4 in 2014-15 (25-3 final record) and North 2, Group 4 in 2015-16 (24-4 record). Before that, the Jaguars had a strong team in the 2012-13 season, led by senior Teana Muldrow, finishing with a 22-6 record, including a second-place finish in the ECT. Muldrow went on to star at West Virginia University and was drafted by the Seattle Storm in the Women’s National Basketball Association. 

The boys team finished runner-up in the 2007-08 North 1, Group 4 state sectional tournament, led by David Laury. The Jaguars won the North 1, Group 4 state sectional title in the 2009-10 season and finished with a 20-8 record.

The boys basketball Jaguars endured several tough seasons before East Orange native Bill Lovett took over as head coach of the program in the 2013-14 season. Lovett turned the program around in his three seasons. After going 16-10 in Lovett’s first season, the Jaguars finished runner-up in both the Essex County Tournament and North 1, Group 4 sectional tournament and finished 25-5 in the 2014-15 season. The next season, they went 17-11, reaching the semifinals of both the county tournament and the North 2, Group 4 sectional tournament.

The track-and-field programs have seen their share of great athletes and teams. In 2003, Lance Wigfall, as a senior, won the 400-meter titles in both the indoor and outdoor NJSIAA’s Meets of Champions. Wigfall is the current EOCHS boys track coach. He coached the Jaguars to four straight Essex County spring championships, from 2015-18. Cory Poole, Class of 2017, was one of the top athletes in the state, winning the 110-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles at the state outdoor Meet of Champions as a senior. At the same MOC, Akeem Lindo, as a junior, took second place in the 110 hurdles, and he and Poole also were part of the winning 4×400 meter relay team. 

Shanda Jackson and Aisha Bilal-Mack were senior stars on the girls track-and-field team in 2004. Jackson won the state outdoor sectional and Group 4 state titles in the 100-meter dash before finishing in third place in the state Meet of Champions. Bilal-Mack took third place in the 400 hurdles in the Meet of Champions.

The girls team won the 2006 outdoor Essex County championships, led by Rolanda Bruce, who has been the EOCHS girls track-and-field head coach since 2016. Bruce, as a senior in 2006, went on to win the state outdoor sectional and Group 4 titles in the 400 hurdles before taking fifth place at the state outdoor Meet of Champions.

Racquel Vassell and Porshe Giddings were senior stars in 2007. At the state outdoor Meet of Champions, Vassell won the 100-meter hurdles, Giddings took third in the 100-meter dash and both were part of the winning 4×400 meter relay.

This past spring, the girls team won the 4×100 title and Prince Osagie-Erese won the boys high jump at the Adidas Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

File Photos.