WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange High School football team, under fourth-year head coach Darnell Grant, concluded a fine regular season. Now the Mountaineers are hoping to make a strong run in the state playoffs.
West Orange is the No. 6 seed in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 state playoffs and will visit No. 3 seed Watchung Hills in the quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m.
The winner will face the winner of No. 7 seed Montclair and No. 2 seed Ridgewood in the semifinals. West Orange defeated Montclair, 13-7, in the season opener at Montclair State University on Friday, Sept. 2. Montclair defeated Ridgewood, 17-10, on Friday, Oct. 14, at Ridgewood.
West Orange is 5-3 on the season after falling to Irvington, 27-18, at home on Friday, Oct. 21.
The Mountaineers have reached the sectional semifinals the past two times that the playoffs have been contested.
In 2019, Grant’s first year at the helm, the fourth-seeded Mountaineers lost at top-seeded Union, 20-14, in the North 2, Group 5 semifinals. Last year, fourth-seeded West Orange fell at top-seeded East Orange Campus, 14-0, in the North 1, Group 5 semifinals. The 2020 playoffs were canceled due to the pandemic.
The Mountaineers have been led by senior receiver and defensive back Saboor Karriem, who recently gave a verbal commitment to continue his football career at the University of Illinois on a football scholarship.
Other leaders for West Orange are senior quarterback Amir Stewart, senior running back Jehki Williams, junior running back Rayel Hunter, senior defensive lineman and Georgia Tech commit Gensley Auguste, senior wide receiver Jarvis Jones, senior wide receiver Matthew Barrino, sophomore linebacker Chris Barrino, sophomore defensive back Iyan Gainer, senior defensive back Elijah Pean, junior defensive back Myles Snead, senior defensive lineman Jhensen Touze and junior defensive lineman Jake Jeffay.
Here are the matchups for the North 2, Group 5 playoffs.
- No. 8 seed Elizabeth, 2-6 record, at No. 1 seed Phillipsburg, 8-0 record.
- No. 7 seed Montclair, 4-4 record, at No. 2 seed Ridgewood, 5-3 record.
- No. 6 seed West Orange, 5-3 record, at No. 3 seed Watchung Hills, 7-2 record.
- No. 5 seed Piscataway, 6-2 record at No. 4 seed Paterson Eastside, 5-3.
Here are West Orange’s results this season.
- Sept. 2: win, at Montclair (at Montclair State University), 13-7
- Sept. 9: win, at Bloomfield, 34-7
- Sept. 16: loss, vs. Passaic County Tech, 12-6
- Sept. 23: win, at Mount Olive, 28-14
- Sept. 30: win, vs. Bayonne, 35-0
- Oct. 7: loss, vs. East Orange Campus, 25-12
- Oct. 14: win, at North Bergen, 41-7
- Oct. 21: loss, vs. Irvington, 27-18
Photos Courtesy of Kerry E. Porter