Irvingon HS football team battles hard in playoff semifinal loss to Northern Highlands

Blue Knights finish another great season at 7-4

Photo Courtesy of IHS Athletics.
IHS head coach Ashley “Smoke” Pierre talks to his players following the playoff loss to Northern Highlands on Friday night, Nov. 15.
Photo by Steve Ellmore.
IHS junior quarterback Jake Harter scrambles for yardage in the home win over Cranford in the playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 9.

IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington High School football team ended another great season.

The fourth-seeded Blue Knights finished with a solid 7-4 record after losing to top-seeded Northern Highlands, 30-16, in the semifinals of the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 state playoffs on Friday night, Nov. 15.

Northern Highlands, who improved to 8-2, took a 13-0 lead in the first quarter as Ethan Harris scored on runs of 15 and 2 yards.

The Blue Knights got on the scoreboard later in the first quarter when Al-Jay Henderson scored on a five-yard run and Taiyon Battle added the two-point conversion run to cut it to 13-8.

Northern Highlands extended it to 16-8 in the second quarter on a 32-yard field goal.

In the third quarter, Battle had a seven-yard TD run from the wildcat position and Henderson scored on the ensuing two-point conversion run on a reverse to tie it 16-16 with 8:03 left.

Northern Highlands broke the tie on a 37-yard touchdown pass later in the third quarter. Harris had a two-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.

The Blue Knights, under fourth-year head coach Ashley “Smoke” Pierre, were looking to advance to a sectional final for the second year in a row and third in program history. Last year, Irvington fell at Phillipsburg, 42-7, in the North 2, Group 4 sectional final to finish 8-4.

The Blue Knights won the Super Football Conference-Freedom White Division for the third straight season, going undefeated in the division in all three seasons.

In 2017, Irvington went 8-3 after reaching the semifinals of the North 2, Group 4 semifinals where they lost to Phillipsburgh, 21-20.

In Pierre’s first season in 2016, Irvington went 8-2 after losing to Randolph, 13-12, in the first round of the North 1, Group 4 playoffs

Irvington (7-4)

Sept. 6, Won, at Orange, 32-7

Sept. 13, Won, at Union City, 21-12

Sept. 20, Loss, Ridgewood, 20-6

Sept. 27, Won, Millburn, 30-13

Oct. 4, Loss, Bergen Catholic, 42-6

Oct. 11, Won, at North Bergen, 48-0

Oct. 19, Won, Ferris, 54-0

Oct. 26, Won, at Barringer, 42-0

Nov. 2, Loss, at Montclair, 24-21

Nov. 9, Won, (5) Cranford, 22-21*

Nov. 15, Loss, at (1) Northern Highlands, 30-16

*North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 playoffs (Irvington is No. 4 seed)