Columbia football team topples East Orange Campus for first win of season

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ (updated Tuesday Sept. 20, 11:59 a.m.) – Sophomore quarterback Luke Hayes passed for three touchdowns and ran for another score to spark the Columbia High School varsity football team to a 34-28 victory over East Orange Campus on Saturday, Sept. 17, at Paul Robeson Stadium in East Orange, giving Gary Mobley his first win as the Cougars head coach.

Hayes, playing in place of injured junior starter Brandon Robinson, connected with senior receiver Nile Garcia on a 23-yard TD pass with four minutes left in the game to break a 28-28 tie.

In the first quarter, Hayes hit Garcia for a 25-yard TD pass.

Senior receiver Marcus Moultrie caught a 70-yard TD pass from Hayes in the second quarter. Moultrie, on defense, also had eight tackles as a defensive back.

Senior running back/linebacker C.J. Nwanonyiri ran for a 2-yard TD in the first quarter and led the Cougars with 15 tackles.

Hayes finished 12-of-17 for 166 yards passing. Senior running back Kiambu Jones rushed for 86 yards on 18 carries for the Cougars, who moved to a 1-1 overall record in this North Jersey Super Football Conference Liberty Blue Division game. East Orange Campus also moved to 1-1.

Junior linebacker Cordel Provilon had 14 tackles and senior linebacker Heath Stephen had eight tackles for CHS.

Mobley and his coaching staff were proud of his team for earning the victory.

“As a team and as a coaching staff, we’re excited about getting the first win of the season and our first win as a staff at Columbia,” Mobley said. “To have it come against East Orange, which has had some quality teams as of late, bodes well for future.”

The Cougars will visit West Orange HS this Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. in a NJSFC LIberty Blue Division game. West Orange is 0-2.

Mobley and his staff want the team to focus on their execution and demeanor in every game.

“We’re just trying to judge ourselves against ourselves and trying to take each day as a learning day and an opportunity to get better,” Mobley said. “And that’s what we’re just trying to do, as far changing the culture and attitude; have the kids work each day and get better as a person and as a football player and all the things will work out for us on Friday nights and Saturday afternoons.”

NOTE – Robinson, who has been a starter since his freshman season, suffered a shoulder injury playing basketball at the end of the preseason, but is expected to be back with the team soon, said Mobley.