Orange HS football team gets back in playoff hunt with win over Barringer

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ORANGE, NJ – The Orange High School varsity football team defeated Barringer HS, 19-0, at Bell Stadium in Orange on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 7. The Tornadoes snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to a 2-3 record. Barringer fell to 2-3. RB Jair McClary had 15 carries for 185 yards and two touchdowns, and Nyquee Hawkins had 17 carries for 130 yards and one TD for OHS.

The Tornadoes are the most dangerous team in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 playoff picture as they head into the second half of the season, evidenced by their performance against Barringer.

“Losing three straight close games was very heartbreaking,” said Tornadoes head coach Randy Daniel. He was referring to the losses to Mahwah, West Essex, and Passaic Valley.

The Blue Bears and Tornadoes got things rocking right away, trading interceptions and fumbles, including a backhanded interception by Orange DB Louis Thompson in the end zone for a touchback to end the first quarter. “The second quarter was the difference maker when Nyquee Hawkins set the tone,” said Daniel. Hawkins broke free for a 44-yard sweep off the right side for the 6-0 lead with 4:44 left in the first half.

Barringer’s junior tandem of QB Zamar Wise and RB Dejahn Taylor was looking for answers in the second half, but the stormy Orange defense stifled them at every attempt. Meanwhile, the Tornadoes offense was churning out crucial yards where QB George Crespo (1 of 3 passing attempts, 33 yards, 1 interception) unleashed a 33-yard strike to senior WR Michael Pennix, setting up a 3-yard punch into the house by McClary to stretch the lead to 13-0 with 3:50 left in the third quarter. As the fourth quarter rolled in, the Blue Bears had four opportunities to score and swing the momentum their way, which included a big gain with 7:25 left in the contest. Wise was looking deep for Jonathan Long,  but  DB Pennix snagged the interception on their own 15-yard line. On the next possession, McClary proceeded to rumble and blast his way 52 yards, setting up his eventual 12-yard thunderous blast for the 19-0 final score. “We play Nutley this week and are expecting a similar result when we play them, and Parsippany Hills on the following Saturday,” said Daniel. He went on to explain that he and his staff are fully aware that they sit in a very unique position as the cutoff for the state playoffs comes around. “We would love to win out our next three games, but realistically speaking, we will be happy when we win two out of three games to pull us above .500 and keep us eligible for the playoffs,” Daniel said.

The Tornadoes are in the eighth and final spot with 34 power points in the North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 playoff race with Barringer looking over their shoulders with 27 power points.

The Tornadoes will visit Nutley on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 1 p.m. Nutley defeated Paramus, 27-22, Oct. 6, for its second straight win to improve to 2-3.