Seton Hall Prep tops Montclair in thriller to win fourth in a row

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WEST ORANGE, NJ – In one of the most exciting games played by the Seton Hall Prep varsity football team in recent years, the Pirates came from behind to defeat Montclair, 29-28, at Brendan P. Tevlin Memorial Field last Saturday, Oct. 6.

SHP won its fourth straight game to improve to 4-2. The four victories in a row are the most since 2013 when they opened the season with four consecutive victories.

Late in the first quarter, Seton Hall took over on the Montclair 47-yard line and drove 47 yards in seven plays with Nazeer Elias scoring on a 9-yard run and Austin Kuterka adding the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 1:41 left in the first quarter.

Montclair tied the score at 7-7 with 8:19 left in the second quarter.

On Seton Hall’s next drive, the Pirates went 57 yards in 10 plays with Elias scoring from the 12-yard line. Kuterka’s extra point made it 14-7 with 3:31 left.

Montclair scored on its next drive, but missed the extra point to make the score 14-13 with 1:32 left in the second quarter.

In the third quarter following a Montclair punt, Seton Hall drove 49 yards in nine plays with Aidan Gilman scoring from the 3 and Kuterka adding the extra point to make the score 21-13 with 1:12 left.

Montclair tied the score on its next drive going 80 yards in 10 plays and adding a two-point conversion run with 9:43 left in the fourth quarter. They took  a 28-21 lead with 1:29 left.

The next series for Seton Hall started on its 20-yard line. Gilman hit PJ Penders on a 21-yard pass to the Seton Hall 41. He then hit Nicholas Gullace on a 4-yard pass to the Seton Hall 45-yard line. Gilman then hit Tim Macko in the flat and Macko ran it to the Montclair 28-yard line. Gilman then hit Gullace on a hitch-and-go route down the right side for a 28-yard touchdown with :55 left in the game to get Seton Hall within 28-27.

Following Gullace’s touchdown reception, Seton Hall head coach Bill Fitzgerald first sent his kicking team out before calling a timeout and reconsidering. “It was the players’ decision,” Fitzgerald said of his amended strategy. Gilman took the snap in the shotgun formation and bulled straight ahead for the decisive two-point conversion and a 29-28 lead.

Following the game, Gilman said, “Going into our last drive, I knew that we were going to score and I wanted to go for the 2-point conversion. It was a really great call by coach Fitzgerald.” Gullace added, “We all wanted to go for two and having Aidan make it crystal clear, was all anyone needed to hear.” The key man running the ball for Seton Hall on the day was sophomore Nazeer Elias, who said after the game, “My offensive line was incredible from first snap to the last, and they opened up some holes where I was able to find a gap and get whatever yardage I could.” Fitzgerald added, “We had an opportunity to pack it in after going 0-2, but everyone just got back to work and started believing good things could happen. Today’s victory was one where a lot of different players contributed, not just physically, but mentally. All our coaches made adjustments during the game and everyone pulled together to make this victory happen.”

SHP stats:

Passing: Gilman: 18 of 30, 1 TD, 1 interception.

Rushing; Elias: 30 carries for 152 yards, 2 TDs. Gilman: 13 carries for 46 yards, 1 TD.

Receiving: Gullace: 7 receptions for 64 yards, 1 TD. Matt Colantuono: 7 receptions for 51 yards.

Defense: Andrew Mitzak: 16 tackles. Vincent Henrich: 10 tackles. Ryan Monteleone: 10 tackles. Niko Diakides: 4 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries. Eli Maurice: 7 tackles, 1 caused fumble, 1 sack.

Next game: The Pirates will travel to Morristown to face Delbarton this Saturday, Oct. 13, at 1 p.m. Delbarton defeated Pope John, 27-0, Oct. 6, in Sparta for its second straight win to improve to 3-3.

Seton Hall Prep (4-2)

August 31, Loss, Archbishop Carroll, 54-28, at Cardinal O’Hara HS in Springfield, Pa.,

Sept. 8, Loss, DePaul, 49-3

Sept. 14, Won, at Passaic County Tech, 42-20

Sept. 22, Won, Paramus Catholic, 37-29

Sept. 29, Won, at East Orange Campus, 20-14

Oct. 6, Won, Montclair, 29-28

Oct. 13, at Delbarton, 1 p.m.

Oct. 20, at St. Joseph (Montvale), 1 p.m.

Oct. 27, Pope John, 2 p.m.

Photos by Rich Morris/courtesy of SHP

Seton Hall Prep (blue uniforms) vs. Montclair