ORANGE, NJ – The Orange High School varsity football team held off Barringer HS, 10-6, Saturday afternoon at Bell Stadium for its second win in a row to improve to a 4-2 record.
The win boosted the Tornadoes’ hopes for a state playoff berth next month.
Orange was riding a clutch 19-18 overtime win over Bloomfield HS. The Barringer Blue Bears were coming off a dominant 43-7 win over Ferris Bulldogs at Newark’s Schools Stadium.
Conservative play-calling was the theme of the day in which both sides were looking to keep the ball on the ground, considering they both were depleted with the loss of key players. Barringer was without star QB Zamar Wise, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury, while Orange was without QB George Crespo, along with most of their starters for various injuries.
The game became a struggle from the opening kickoff. Orange tried to open its bag of tricks early when QB Jamear Reed attempted a double pass, but was caught behind the line of scrimmage in which the Blue Bears pounced on the early fumble inside the Orange 20-yard line.
Three plays later, Barringer QB Mark Johnson found the end zone on an 11-yard run 11:45 into the game.
With penalties plaguing both squads, it was difficult to sustain a plausible drive. Orange was penalized for a total of 120 yards on both offense and defense, while Barringer had three big offensive plays called back and were also penalized an extra 30 yards on defense. Barringer held off three Tornadoes’ scoring threats in the second quarter, which included an interception to hold onto a 6-0 lead going into the half.
The third quarter saw a role reversal and momentum shift. “We are showing how tough we are,” said Orange head coach Randy Daniel about his squad’s ability to pull out the games that were needed the most. “I am extremely proud of our guys. We surely wanted to have all our big players back, but we know we are ready to roll for the next game.” He is was referring to late in the third quarter when DB Raymir Phillips led the charge for a big sack on the Barringer 16-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs.
With the ball squarely in the Tornadoes’ possession, Reed fed the ball to RB Montez Boswell (24 carries, 93 yards and 1 TD) who proceeded to barrel through the Blue Bears defense in three plays and scored on a 4-yard touchdown to put Orange on top by a point after the point-after kick by Louie Julien with just 3:15 left in the third quarter.
Orange struck again after recovering an onside kick on the next play. But the Blue Bears were able to hold the Tornadoes to two first downs in the waning seconds of the third quarter. The Tornadoes set up for the kick inside the Barringer 20-yard line. Julien nailed a 32-yard field goal to put the Tornadoes up 10-7 with just :14 left in the third quarter.
Barringer tried one more time to put its rally caps on. But in the fourth quarter the Tornadoes defense, led by LB AZ Parks (8 tackles), Brantly Constant (5 tackles 1 fumble recovery) and Nigil Thomas (8 tackles) was able to play the clock and kept Barringer to turn the ball over on downs while keeping RB Davon Scott out of the end zone for the final 10-7 score.
Orange will take on the Millers of Millburn High School this Saturday, Oct. 13, at Bell Stadium at 1 p.m. With the playoffs just weeks away, Daniel stated, “Let the chips fall the way are. We are only focused on the next game.” He is beaming with pride that he has a resilient team this year. “Our kids will find a way to step up when all has counted us out. We will keep this going through the end of the season.”
Daniel confirmed that senior star player Nyquee Hawkins is done for the season and will be heading to Virginia Tech in January. “He is a special kid,” said Daniel of Hawkins. “He has done everything that was asked of him when he is here. He will graduate early with all A’s and I look forward to seeing him play at a high level in the college ranks.”
Barringer will be home at Schools Stadium to face the surprising Belleville Buccaneers Friday evening, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. “We will certainly need help going forward if we are able to make a playoff push” said Barringer head coach Dwayne Willliams. “We had them pinned, but the three big penalties were very hurtful to us. But we will have Zamar Wise back in two weeks to play Irvington and West Orange.”