WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School varsity football team refused to give up.
The Mountaineers had a rough start to the season, getting only a field goal in their first two games as they fell to Union City, 20-0, in the season opener and Irvington, 22-3.
Facing a Columbia team that was riding high after knocking off East Orange Campus the previous week, the Mountaineers were determined to turn things around.
Dominating from the start, the Mountaineers, indeed, were inspired as they rolled to a 36-7 victory in front of their home crowd on Friday night, Sept. 23, at WOHS Joe Suriano Stadium in a North Jersey Super Football Conference Liberty Blue Division game.
The Mountaineers and Columbia both moved to 1-2 records on the season.
WOHS raced out to a 36-0 halftime lead.
Junior Sebastian Rawls opened the scoring with a 22-yard TD run. Junior CJ Wilson, who transferred from East Orange Campus this year, scored on a 51-yard TD, followed by senior Michael Osuji’s one-yard TD run as the Mountaineers built a 21-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Senior kicker Ryan Caraha kicked the three extra points.
In the second quarter, the WOHS defense took charge. Senior lineman Nate Ferguson recovered a fumble in the end zone, followed by Caraha’s extra point.
Senior defensive back Justice Zaire returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown and MIke Giovine hit senior CJ Onyechi for the two-point conversion pass for a 36-0 halftime lead.
Columbia broke the shutout bid in the fourth quarter on an senior Heath Stephen’s interception return for a TD.
The Mountaineers will visit Bloomfield on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. in a divisional game. Columbia will host Morristown on Sept. 30 in a divisional game and will face its former coach, John Power, who stepped down as Columbia head coach after two seasons and was named the Morristown head coach this past spring.