WEST ORANGE, NJ – On a sunny, windy afternoon, the No. 8 seed Seton Hall Prep football team raised its record to 5-5 with a 17-0 victory over No. 9 seed Paramus Catholic in the first round of the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 State Tournament at Brenden P. Tevlin Memorial Field in West Orange on Saturday, Nov. 3.
This was their first State Tournament victory since November 13, 2010 when they defeated Paul VI (Haddonfield) at Millburn High School 47-13. It was also their first State Tournament shutout since November 22, 1997 when they defeated Holy Cross (Delran) 42-0 at Livingston High School. Their last shutout occured on November 1, 2013 when they defeated Livingston 42-0 at Livingston HS.
Late in the first quarter, on fourth down, the Paramus Catholic’s punter’s knee hit the ground on a low snap and Seton Hall took over possession on the Paramus Catholic 15-yard line. On the fourth play of the drive, sophomore kicker Austin Kuterka hit a 32-yard field goal to give the Pirates a 3-0 lead with :29 left in the quarter. In the second quarter after a Paladin punt, Seton Hall drove 83 yards in eight plays with Aidan Gilman hitting Matt Colantuono on a 17-yard scoring pass and Kuterka added the extra point for a 10-0 Pirate lead with 3:20 left.
In the first half the Seton Hall defense had five sacks, holding Paramus Catholic to 1 yard rushing and 22 yards passing.
Late in the third quarter senior safety Nick Eliades intercepted a Paramus Catholic pass and gave Seton hall the ball on the Paladin 37-yard line with 2:12 left. They drove 37 yards in 8 plays with Gilman hitting Tyler Cook with a 4 yard jump pass for a touchdown and Kuterka added the extra point for a 17-0 lead with 9:51 remaining in the game. The defense came up big the rest of the game as they kept Paramus Catholic off the scoreboard.
Following the game, SHP Head Coach Bill Fitzgerald said, “This win is a testament of the preparation by the coaching staff and it was a complete team effort by the players. They want to take this ride as long as they can.” Senior linebacker Vincent Henrich commented, “This was the strongest the defense played together all season. The defensive line coach Tony Woods told us all week that the defensive line had to dominate the front and they did exactly that.” Senior defensive tackle Niko Diakides added, “By dominating the defensive line all game, we forced them to run outside but that was not very effective either.” Defensive Coordinator Ed Stinson said, “This was the best effort all season and the kids get all the credit for this victory.”
SHP stats: Gilman: 12 for 18 passing, 113 yards, 2 TDs. Colantuono – 7 receptions for 80 yards, 1 TD.
Defense: Henrich – 12 tackles, Diakides- 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks, Elie Maurice – 10 tackles .5-sack, Andrew Mitzak – 10 tackles 1-sack, and Ryan Monteleone – 10 tackles.
Seton Hall will travel to Oradell to face top-seeded Bergen Catholic on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. The head coach for BC is Vito Campanile, who was the head football coach for Seton Hall for three seasons (2015 to 2017). In the all-time series, Seton Hall holds a 19-14-1 lead, but in the playoffs, Bergen Catholic holds a 7-5 lead.