Montclair senior running back Yasin Latham (with the ball) bulldozes through the Nutley defense. Montclair defeated Nutley, 42-7, on Saturday in Montclair at Woodman Field. The win raised the Mounties’ record to 3-0 for the 2023 season. Montclair travels to Union City on Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m.

The Montclair Mounties football team was walking off the field just as the skies opened at Woodman Field. Not only did the Mounties football team beat Mother Nature, but they took it to Nutley on Saturday in a Super Football Conference crossover contest.

Montclair scored six touchdowns in the first six times that they got the ball en route to a 42-7 victory over the Maroon Raiders, with many Mounties starters taking a seat in the second half.

With the victory, the Mounties stayed undefeated with a 3-0 record. Montclair travels to Union City on Friday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m. It will be the first game within the Freedom White division for the Mounties.

Against Nutley, Montclair junior quarterback Malachi ‘Bubba’ Lewis threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Montclair.

Lewis and the Mounties had a confident attitude entering the new season, which they have labeled as ‘Unfinished Business’ after Montclair had to forfeit the 2022 season because of an ineligible player. “I thought since the summer that we were taking it week by week and looking to win every game,” said the Mounties junior quarterback.

And the lopsided victory, Lewis said, was all the work the team put into before the game against Nutley. “We felt really confident,” said Lewis, coming into the game against the Maroon Raiders. “We had excellent practices all week.”

Montclair junior Mostapha Green (53) puts pressure on Nutley quarterback Clark Mohrbutter.

Defensively, the Mounties’ defense—led by the line of senior Kal Wilson, senior Wesley Mathis, junior Moustapha Green, junior Daniel Pagan and junior Martin Quiros—kept the Nutley offensive weapons of quarterback Clark Mohrbutter and wide receiver Joe Volpe in check almost the entire game. In addition, Montclair junior defensive back Asani Brown picked off a Mohrbutter pass in the second quarter.

Lewis was perfect as the team’s record. In his first season with the Mounties, the junior was 7-for-7 for 164 yards and three touchdown passes. He also had a three-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Lewis’ top target was junior wide receiver Jace Auletta, who caught three passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.

On the ground, senior running back Yasin Leathim had six carries for 73 rushing yards and a touchdown. “We were trying to stay balanced (rushing and passing) and execute our offense,” said Lewis.

As it turned out, Lewis’ first touchdown pass was the difference in the game. The junior hit a wide-open running Auletta, who got behind the Nutley defensive backfield and a 46-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with less than five minutes into the contest.

In terms of Union City, Montclair will be looking to avenge a 31-7 loss to the Eagles last season. 

“They are hurting,” said Lewis about his teammates take on last season’s loss. The Mounties signal caller was at Morris Catholic last season. “They want this one (against Union City) bad.”

This time, the Mounties defense will have to do better against the Eagles-run game. Last season, Union City piled up 368 yards on the ground in beating Montclair. The Eagles last season reached the North 1 Group 4 state finals, losing to Passaic Tech.

Montclair’s Mathis, Wilson, Pagan and Green will have to put a hold on Union City’s two top runners. Last season, the Eagles had three players tally more than 100 rushing yards, and two of them returned in senior Tyler Koffa and junior Mark Boyd. Koffa and Boyd are the top two runners this season in the first two games for Union City.

And that’s the case on the other side of the ball. Montclair only rushed for 52 yards against the Union City defense in 2022. If the Mounties can play better with the run from its top backs, junior Ja-Khi Chance, junior Jayden Lee and senior Yasin Latham, it will go a long way to making a statement in the division and the North 1 Group 4 state section.

Montclair High School Football Schedule

  • Sept. 15 at Union City, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 23 Livingston, 1 p.m.
  • Sept. 30 at East Orange, 1 p.m. Schools Stadium, Newark
  • Oct. 7 Irvington, 1 p.m.
  • Oct. 14 Ridgewood, 1 p.m.
  • Oct. 21 at Columbia, 1 p.m.

Edward Kensick writes sports, news and features for Montclair Local.

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