Summit Football Rallies to Win 35th Straight; Defeats Delaware Valley 35-21
Saturday, October 27, 2012 • 11:22am
FRENCHTOWN, NJ - It's no accident that the Summit football team has won 35 consecutive regular season games, and they showed why on Friday night. With 9:35 left in the opening half, the Hilltoppers found themselves in a very unfamiliar position: down by 14 points, on the road in a loud environment, against a very good Delaware Valley team.
Summit responded with 35 unanswered points, outscoring the Terriers 35-7 over the final 33:35 of play, turning a 14 point deficit into a 14 point road victory, clinching the Mid State 38 Raritan Division with the win, while improving to 8-0.
"We had to get used to the speed of their offense," said Summit head coach John Liberato. "That team right there [Delaware Valley] is going to win Central Jersey Group 2. They are good. Their coach does a great job, their linemen are awesome, they come off of the ball and we just wanted to get better every down."
Following a 33-yard touchdown run by Del Val's Sean Hogan to put the Terriers up by two scores, Summit got a good kick return from Kyre Negron, setting up the Hilltoppers at the Del Val 48. Summit got into the end zone on an A.J. Iarussi, one-yard run, capping a nine play drive. On Del Val's next possession, the Terriers got to Summit's 25-yard-line before being intercepted by Colm Daugherty. Two plays later, Mike Badgley found Negron, tying the score on a 56-yard touchdown pass, which was the first of three scores for Negron on a monster day for the senior.
"We were a little worried, we didn't want to come out here and take an 'L' so we just, at halftime got some motivational speeches by some of our teammates, which got us even more fired up," Negron said. "We stayed together as a team, we didn't give up and we just worked together."
The game was tied at the half, and in the third quarter, Negron's 15-yard sweep right gave Summit the lead for good, with 6:05 left in the period. Negron scored again on Summit's next possession with 50 seconds left in the third, on a 16-yard touchdown run.
Summit delivered the knockout blow early in the fourth quarter, still up by two touchdowns, when their drive had seemingly short-circuited following a Hilltopper false start, turning a fourth and four into a fourth and nine, causing Liberato to call for the punt team. It turned out to be a perfectly called fake punt, with the snap going directly to Iarussi, who converted with a 33 yard burst up the middle of the field. The Hilltoppers capped that drive with a 26-yard rollout touchdown pass from Badgley to Will Shamim in the back of the end zone.
"This was a great team effort tonight," Liberato said. "We tell our kids that when we play together, we are unbeatable. We had a bunch of unselfish efforts out there tonight, everyone was just doing their job."
Del Val started to regain some momentum in the fourth quarter, scoring on a 70-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Cooper to Craig Gares with 4:51 left in the game. The Terriers recovered the ensuing onside kick, after it touched a Summit player who was trying to catch the ball. However, Summit's defense stepped up big in the final Terrier drive, getting three sacks to force a nearly impossible third and 27.
The Hilltoppers racked up nearly 500 yards of offense in the win, getting 310 yards on the ground, led by 141 from Iarussi and 112 from Badgley, who also threw two touchdown passes. Negron hauled in six catches for 151 yards receiving, and also gained 41 yards on the ground to go along with his three touchdowns.
Defensively, while no one on Summit is going to brag about having allowed over 250 yards on the ground (206 to Dionisio Roman), it may be something worth celebrating. Coming into the game, Del Val had just come off of a record setting performance in which they racked up over 500 rushing yards. They came into the game averaging 8.23 yards per carry, 329 rushing yards per game and more than four rushing touchdowns. Del Val fell short in all of those categories. Summit also picked up five sacks in the game, led by two from Austin Carbone.
Summit, which not only won the division, but likely locked up the top seed in the North II Group 3 state sectional playoffs with Friday night's win, is up next at home against the Hillside Comets. The Terriers fell to 5-2 with the loss.
"It means a lot, we came out here trying to win this conference championship and we did it. It's a good feeling," Negron said.