NUTLEY, NJ – The Nutley High School varsity football team staged a strong comeback, but fell short, 36-29, in overtime to Orange HS on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Orange in a North Jersey Super Football Conference Patriot White Division game.
Trailing 21-3 at halftime, the Raiders rallied with four touchdowns in the second half, three in the fourth quarter.
Junior Nick Mainiero accounted for four touchdowns for the Raiders. Mainiero scored on a one-yard run and senior Hunter Lechthaler kicked the extra point to tie it 29-29 in the fourth quarter and force overtime.
Lechthaler kicked a 28-yard field goal in the first quarter to cut it to 7-3. Orange scored two touchdowns in the second quarter.
Mainiero threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Jon Luberto for the only score of the third quarter to cut it to 21-10. Lechthaler kicked the extra point.
Mainiero then scored on a 76-yard punt return and had a one-yard touchdown run to give the Raiders a 22-21 lead in the fourth quarter. The Raiders went for two points on a run and pass, but both times failed.
After Orange retook the lead, 29-22, on Tyrese Harris’ third touchdown of the game on a 28-yard run and the subsequent two-point pass from George Crespo to Rasheed Boyd, the Raiders tied it on Mainiero’s touchdown and Lechthaler’s extra point.
Orange won it on Crespo’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Quesean Waite.
The Raiders lost their third straight to fall to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in the Patriot White Division, while Orange won its second straight to move to 3-3 overall and 3-1 in the division. Harris finished with 284 yards on 41 carries for Orange.
Passing: Josh O’Neill, 11 of 24, 90 yards, two interceptions. Mainiero, 2 of 2, 60 yards, one TD.
Rushing; Mainiero, 17 carries for 52 yards, two TDs. Sam Abreu, 4 carries for 12 yards. Frank DeMaio, 3 carries for 9 yards.
Receiving; R.J. Ferrarelli, 4 catches for 66 yards. Nick Saporito, 3 caches for 57 yards. Luberto, 1 catch for 12 yards. DeMaio, 1 catch for 2 yards. Lechthaler, 1 catch for 7 yards.
Defense: Sabino Coppola, 17 tackles. Luberto, 13 tackles, 1 sack. Saporito, 9 tackles. Abreu, 6 tackles. Ryan O’Mara, 6 tackles, 1 sack. Vincent Russo, 5 tackles. Mainiero, 5 tackles. Ferrarelli, 5 tackles. Mark Charles, 4 tackles. Nick Lovato, 4 tackles. DeMaio, 3 tackles.
Game recap and summary (credit: Nutleyathletics.org)
Recap: This game was certainly the Raiders’ most exciting yet most heartfelt loss of the the season, as they fought back from a 17-point deficit to go ahead, and then with a sudden overtime finish. Nick Mainiero did about all you can do on the football field, rushing for 2 TD’s, throwing a TD pass, returning a punt for a 72 yard TD and adding an important interception on defense. The defense played with great intensity, led by Sam Coppola’s 11 tackles. Johnny Luberto’s, R.J Ferrarelli’s and Ryan O’Mara’s performance on defense were inspiring to all as Frankie DeMaio added an interception as well.
On offense, Ferrarelli’s four catches, including a miraculous catch on the game-tying drive, as well as Nick Saporito’s three catches and a fine run after catch in an important moment proved all-important
The Raiders come home for two games in a row, with The Chatham Cougars coming to town this Saturday at 1 pm, as they continue to strive to get back in the win column.
First quarter: Orange scored first, returning an interception 37 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders managed a 28-yard, Hunter Lechthaler field goal to put the score at 7-3 at the end of the opening period.
Second quarter: The second quarter proved to be all Orange, as the Raiders struggled to put things together.
Third quarter: The Raiders came out to play in the second half, starting Anthony Gizzo recovering an onside kick, and translating that into a score as Nick Mainiero threw a 12-yard TD pass to sophomore Jon Luberto for a TD, while Hunter Lechthaler added the point after. The defense held Orange scoreless in the third period.
Fourth quarter: Down 21-10, the Raiders continued their improved play into the fourth quarter as Nick Mainiero returned a punt 72 yards for a TD and added another TD run to put the Raiders briefly ahead. The Cyclones came swirling back though to go ahead briefly, as Nutley answered back with another Nick Mainiero 2-yard TD run, and a Hunter Lechthaler point-after kick. Mainiero aided the defense as well with an interception in the end zone. The game went into overtime with Orange scoring on pass, and holding Raiders on downs. The final score: 36-29.
Next game: The Raiders will host Chatham in Patriot White Division game on Saturday, Oct. 22.
Sept. 9, Loss, at West Essex, 27-7
Sept. 16, Loss, at Bloomfield, 39-17
Sept. 24, Won, Pascack Valley, 31-14
Sept. 30, Loss, at Irvington, 20-0
Oct. 8, Loss, Paramus, 45-23
Oct. 15, Loss, at Orange, 36-29 (OT)
Oct. 22, Chatham, 2 p.m.
Oct. 29, Parsippany Hills, 1 p.m.
Nov. 4, at Barringer, 7 p.m.