SUMMIT, NJ - The weather wasn't perfect, but the Summit Seventh-Grade Football Team's legacy, season, and championship game is and was.
On a bitingly cold and windy day at Old Bridge High School in Matawan, the Hilltoppers took control of the game early, cruising to a 24-6 win over Richmond Boro and, in the process, winning their 21st straight game and their second consecutive New Jersey Suburban Youth Football League (NJSYFL) title.
Running back Tyrone Hines ran for three touchdowns, quarterback Jackson Tyler added a fourth, and Summit got big contributions from their defense and special teams en route to finishing the season 11-0. The Seventh-Grade Team, under the guidance of head coach Matt Johnson and his experienced staff, has never lost since being assembled in the fifth grade.
Summit won the toss, took the ball and, after being forced to punt when their opening offensive series of the game stalled, watched their defense stone Richmond Boro, who actually went backward on their first series and were also forced to punt. Summit had the wind at their backs, and as a result sent all 11 players after the kick, which Michael Jarmolowich blocked and recovered deep in Richmond Boro territory. Two Tyler runs moved the ball inside the five yard line and, on third and goal from the four yard line, Tyler rammed over the right side and into the end zone. The extra point failed, and Summit led 6-0.
Summit's "D" held again, blunting Richmond Boro on a fourth down conversion attempt just inside the Hilltopper half of the field. Hines took a hand-off and scampered left, cut inside and then back to the left, and raced 56 yards for a touchdown. The extra point again was no good, but Summit led 12-0, and eventually took that lead into the locker room at halftime, aided by a Jack Kelly fumble recovery when Richmond Boro threatened on fourth and goal from Summit's 7 yard line.
Summit hit paydirt again in the third quarter when Hines, courtesy of some excellent blocking by Summit's offensive line, again punctured the left side of the Richmond Boro defense and tip-toed down the sideline 21 yards into the end zone. After the missed extra point, it was 18-0 and the point of no return for Richmond Boro had clearly been reached. It was 24-0 when Hines sprinkled in some variety, thrashing through the right side on a 29-yard score. Richmond Boro spoiled the shut out on the game's final play but, by then, the outcome had long been decided.
"It is the perfect ending to a perfect season," said Head Coach Johnson. "The players have worked so hard from the very first day of practice. As coaches, it is our job to get them prepared, and the boys -- as they have all season -- came to play today and got it done." Of the winning streak, Johnson said, "Lucky 21, I guess. I am so very proud of these kids."