Montey the Mountaineer interacts with fans in the crowd. Credits: Evan Easterling
A passionate group of supporters show their school and team spirit. Credits: Evan Easterling
The West Orange High School Marching Band and Color Guard perform their 2013 "Creatures of the Night" show at Halftime. Credits: Evan Easterling
The West Essex Knights watch hopefully from the sideline. Credits: Evan Easterling
The West Orange High School cheerleading squad performs a routine on the sideline. Credits: Evan Easterling
West Essex quarterback Matt Theis and the Knights offense eye the end zone. Credits: Evan Easterling
The Mountaineers form a wall to prevent opponents from seeing their plays in their pregame warmup. Credits: Evan Easterling
West Orange Football Suffers First Loss in Rout vs. West Essex
Sunday, September 22, 2013 • 4:14pm
WEST ORANGE, NJ - The West Orange Mountaineers suffered a blowout loss to the West Essex Knights with a final score of 33-7.
The home crowd was filled with anticipation leading up to the first home game for the Mountaineers and entered Suriano Stadium riding the excitement of last night’s pep rally. The high school was still abuzz from the festivities of the Fan Fest.
“The atmosphere was amazing from the pep rally last night right up to today and I am so proud to be a part of it,” said West Orange Athletic Director Ronald Bligh. “This was probably the biggest crowd I have seen here in four years.“
However, the Mountaineer faithful left dejected as the hometown Mountaineers lost their home opener.
The night did not start well for West Orange, as after winning the toss and deferring to the second half, the Knights scored a touchdown on their first drive as senior quarterback Matt Thies threw a touchdown pass to senior wideout Kevin Fox. The extra point was converted making the score 7-0.
On the first West Orange drive, the Mountaineers were able to make it to the West Essex 36 yard line. The Mountaineers could not convert a fourth and inches try as the ball was fumbled and recovered by the Knights.
That fumble would prove to be the first of multiple turnovers for the Mountaineers and would not be the last.
The Knights took advantage of the Mountaineers turnover. The Knights would be faced with their own fourth down situation, but they, unlike West Orange, converted at the West Orange 42 yard line. The Knights then capped their 64 yard drive with a rushing touchdown by senior Peter Norton. After a missed PAT the score was 13-0.
West Essex would add another score, this time with a rushing touchdown by senior Jason Russo, and make the score 20-0.
West Orange would show some fight, however, as they drove down the field a completed their drive with a 37 yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jahir Blanton to senior wide receiver Isaiah Scott to make the score 20-7 going into the half. However, that touchdown would be the only West Orange score. A fumble on the first play of the second half virtually eliminated all chances of West Orange making a comeback. A West Essex touchdown scored by senior Alex Wojtowicz made the score 27-7. West Essex would add a touchdown in the fourth quarter scored by senior Billy Galese to make the score 33-7.
West Orange Head Coach Jim Matsakis was not happy with the penalties and turnovers committed by his offense. “We just need to practice harder and focus on the mistakes we are making.” said Matsakis. “The penalties were just a matter of frustration.” he said.
Matsakis was impressed by the execution of the West Essex offense. “They executed on offense, they made plays and they had more discipline than us.” he said.
With the win, West Essex moves to 2-0 and will play Caldwell at home on Friday September 27th. West Orange falls to 1-1 and plays Bloomfield at home on the 27th.
Matsakis saw good play in his quarterback Jahir Blanton, but says there is room for improvement.
“He needs to improve on everything, and the receivers need to learn to trust him.”