Orange HS football team defeats Newark Central to clinch state playoff berth

ORANGE, NJ – The Orange High School varsity football team defeated Newark Central, 41-6, Friday night, Oct. 27, at Newark Shabazz Stadium. The Tornadoes snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 3-5.

“We came into the game in the same situation as Orange,” stated Newark Central Head Coach Mark Ingram. “We were on a three- game winning streak and we need to get past Coach (Randy) Daniel’s squad to get in the playoffs.”

The Tornadoes had something to prove and they were determined to go to Newark Shabazz Stadium to do it. They unleashed their Super Tornadoes as George Crespo, Nasir Givens, Nyquee Hawkins, Mahkye Boswell, and Quasean Waithe. They all contributed in the total shutdown of the surging Blue Devils’ offensive attack.

Orange started slow  in the first quarter, taking almost a little over six minutes and 10 plays to run almost the full length of the field that was capped by Crespo finding Boswell for 10 yards with just 4:14 left in the opening frame to go up 7-0. But that wasn’t all as the Tornadoes’ defense jumped into the fray early by pinning Central on their own 20-yard line on the ensuing kickoff. Central QB Devante Wright could only muster 4 yards in total offense as Orange forced a fumbled handoff, giving DE Nasir Givens the perfect opportunity to scoop and score the fumble 23 yards later for the 14-0 lead to close out the first quarter.

Orange struck again in the second quarter with Hawkins snagging a Devante Wright pass for a 69-yard, pick-6 to stretch the lead to 21-0. The Tornadoes defense didn’t let up as the Blue Devils were trying to break out the umbrellas and weather the storm. Orange fumbled a punt, giving Central a chance to get out of the way of the offensive powerhouse that is Crespo, Hawkins, and Waithe. But Central didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, thanks to Kyron Copher intercepting another Wright pass. QB George Crespo made quick work of the series as he gave the ball to Hawkins, called his own number, and tossed a 20-yard scoring pass to Waithe to go up 27-0 at the half.

Central was able to get on the board thanks to RB Syfee Campbell and backup QB Omar Cleveland moving the team down field before their teammate Isaiah Green ran for a 2-yard touchdown. But Orange quickly hopped on a fumbled punt that was easily converted into a touchdown with Hawkins carrying the ball three times for 33 yards in the series, putting the Tornadoes lead at 35-7. It would be Crespo sealing the victory for the Tornadoes as he led them on the final 6:10 drive, spanning 42 yards, for the final 41-6 score. “We feel great,” said Coach Daniel as he was leaving the stadium. He was also excited in telling his student-athletes that they got into the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 playoffs. “Coach Daniel is doing an awesome job and they kept their game competitive. We wish them all the success going forward,” said Coach Ingram.

The first round of the playoffs will take place starting Nov. 10. Orange will be taking on North Hunterdon Lions in Annandale. But before they can look ahead to the playoffs, they have one more game of the regular season to play. They have some unfinished business to attend to with Chatham at Bell Stadium this Friday evening, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.