Despite sixth straight loss, Columbia HS football team is still in playoff hunt

MAPLEWOOD, NJ (updated Tuesday Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m.) –  The Columbia High School varsity football team lost to Morris Knolls, 35-12, Saturday, Oct. 29, in Rockaway.

The loss was the Cougars’ sixth straight and moved their record to 1-7. CHS, however, is looking to make the state North Jersey Section 2, Group 5 playoffs. The Cougars are No. 8 with 66 points in the power-points standings. The top eight teams in the standings through the first eight games earn playoff berths. Linden, at 3-4, is in ninth place with 54 points, and will host Franklin on Nov. 4.

With a win, Linden would move into a tie with Columbia for the eighth and final playoff berth. However, Columbia reportedly would clinch the No. 8 playoff berth on a tiebreaker based on strength of schedule.

The official playoff pairings will be released by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on Monday, Nov. 7. The playoffs begin Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12.

Sophomore quarterback Luke Hayes was eight of 21 passing for 59 yards and two interceptions. Hayes rushed for a touchdown.

Orterro Felton had four carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. Nile Garcia rushed 61 yards on nine carries and Marcus Moultrie rushed five times for 50 yards.

Moultrie and Nafis Turner each had two catches for 19 yards. Anthony Agu had two catches for 11 yards. On defense, C.J. Nwanonyiri had 11 tackles; Tamir Jones had eight tackles; Trey Harris and Heath Stephen each had six tackles; Michael Afriyie had five tackles and a sack; Felton had five tackles and a forced fumble; Shamar Haughton and Arinze Okoro each had five tackles; Moultrie had three tackles and an interception; and Giovanni Francois, Garcia and Krystopher Ward each had three tackles.

The Cougars will host Montclair (4-3) on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m.